Mariah Carey was honoured on Friday at Variety‘s Power of Women luncheon, lauded for her career awareness camp The Fresh Air Fund’s Camp Mariah.
“I started this camp 25 years ago, and if you don’t see what an accomplishment that is for a 2-year-old child…” she joked in her acceptance speech
Carey got serious, however, to share her experiences as a woman in the music industry and the uphill battle she’s waged.
“I was 18 years old when I got my first record deal,” she told the audience. “A lot of very powerful men controlled my career — what I wore, who I worked with, and every aspect of my overall image. Believe me, that can be very intimidating and confining to a young girl just getting started, trying to express herself artistically. It took a lot of hard work, inner strength and believing in myself, but slowly I gained the courage to emerge from that stifling control by a group of men. We love men, but you know, they could never understand or embrace the essence of who I truly am.”
Carey thanked her fellow honourees at the event — Chaka Khan, Jennifer Aniston, Awkwafina, Brie Larson and Disney Television/ABC Entertainment chief Dana Walden — “and all the women who have come forward with their truths, their harrowing experiences, and above all their triumphs over the misogynistic society of corporate a**es that we deal with every day.”
During her speech, the “Hero” singer shared her hope that her 8-year-old daughter won’t have to face the same kind of misogyny she experienced.
“Now, my daughter will never have…” she said, taking a pause. “She’ll have some barriers, but they’ll be fewer barriers to break through in order to achieve her full potential. You guys are all a beacon of hope, and I stand here with you in sisterhood knowing we’ll continue supporting each other and keep fighting in tandem for equality for us all.”
You can watch the speech in its entirety in the video above.