Cardi B was honored as Woman of the Year at Billboard’s 15th Annual Women in Music event.
During Thursday’s virtual ceremony, Breonna Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer recognized the “WAP” rapper for her activism, including her daughter’s campaign for justice, praising Cardi for being “one of Breonna’s most outspoken advocates for justice over the last nine months.”
“From the start, Cardi has used her platform to spread the truth about what happened to Breonna and to reaffirm that Black women’s lives matter,” Palmer said in her video presentation. “Cardi B’s impact reaches far beyond music. That why I am so proud and honored to present Billboard’s Woman of the Year award to Miss Cardi B.”
In her acceptance speech, Cardi reflected on the pandemic and how it impacted her career. “This year, when it came to music, I had so many things planned,” she said. “I had so many projects that I wanted to come out. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I couldn’t put out the visuals the way that I wanted, it messed up my creative space. You know, I think everyone this year was just messed up. So I’m just grateful and thankful that the song that I actually did put out this year, which was ‘WAP’ featuring Megan Thee Stallion, not only was it an amazing song that broke so many records, but it was a conversation that I never thought was going to be so big.”
She also addressed the controversy over her chart-topping hit. “I mean, it pissed off a whole bunch of Republicans for no reason, you know what I’m saying?” she laughed. “It was just weird.”
Later, Cardi encouraged “girls out there that are just like me” to follow their dreams. “You actually gotta put in the work,” she said. “You gotta be ambitious. You gotta network. You gotta become great at what you do. You gotta be able to take criticism–believe it or not, y’all be saying that I don’t take criticism, but yes I do. That’s why when people be like, ‘Oh, you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ I practice so I can become better and better. There’s hope. There’s hope for your dreams.”
Hosted by Teyana Taylor, Thursday’s Women in Music event also honored Dua Lipa, Dolly Parton, Jennifer Lopez, Jessie Reyez, and Chloe x Halle. The sister duo accepted the Rising Star Award following a tribute from their Parkwood Entertainment boss Beyoncé.
“Ladies, I am so, so proud of you,” said Queen Bey. “You’ve done this with authenticity, with grace, with raw talent. And you managed to shine in every room you enter. And I’ll always love you.”