Janet Jackson took a strong stand for women at the MTV Europe Music Awards on Sunday in Bilbao, Spain.
The “Rhythm Nation” singer was at the EMAs to receive their Global Icon Award in recognition of how “her incredible artistry has opened doors for countless others while leaving an indelible impact on pop culture,” according to a statement from MTV last month.
“I accept this award with profound gratitude,” the 52-year-old said, accepting the trophy from presenters Camila Cabello and Jason Derulo. “To be called an icon is a tremendous honour, but one that comes with a tremendous responsibility. Tonight, I feel moved to speak for women’s voices who have been stifled.
“I am one of those women,” she continued. “Women who have been gagged, both literally and emotionally. Women who have been abused. Women who have been intimidated. Women who have lived in fear. I stand with you. You are my sisters.”
Jackson was infamously stigmatized by the entertainment industry following the “wardrobe malfunction” incident during her 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance with Justin Timberlake. Following the incident, Timberlake’s career was mostly unaffected, but Jackson found herself shunned by much of the industry.
“Tonight, I carry the hope that a new world is emerging,” Jackson continued. “A world in which caring people, male as well as female, will no longer tolerate gender inequality. Women, our voices will be heard. We will be heard when we speak out for justice. Speak out for the spirit that crosses all borders, recognizes the dignity of all people, and affirms the beauty of all faiths. Speak out for acts of true charity, small and large. Speak out for an all-embracing love. Because it’s love that will heal our wounds.”
Earlier in the show, Jackson treated viewers to an epic performance at the EMAs on Sunday, singing and dancing to a medley of her hits “Made For Now,” “All For You” and “Rhythm Nation”.
The singer also got a lot of support from fans on Twitter for her powerful speech.