On Thursday night, Billboard hosted their annual Women in Music event–virtually, of course–where they assembled some of the music industry’s powerhouses this year for a celebration, hosted by Teyana Taylor. The show included some incredible performances by the likes of Chloe x Halle, Dua Lipa, and Dolly Parton, who were all honored throughout the night. Fans also got to see several A-list presenters including Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Maluma, and even Senator Bernie Sanders.
But still, the most important matter of business for the evening was Cardi B receiving Billboard’s prestigious Woman of the Year Award, which was given to the Bronx native for both her music and her political activism during the 2020 election process. The honor was presented to her by Tamika Palmer, mother of the late Breonna Taylor.
“One of Breonna’s most outspoken advocates over the past nine months has been Cardi B,” Palmer said while presenting the award. “From the beginning, Cardi has used her platform to spread the truth about what happened to Breonna and to reaffirm that Black women’s lives matter.”
“Cardi B’s impact reaches far beyond music,” Palmer continued. “That’s why I am so proud and honored to present Billboard’s Woman of the Year award to Miss Cardi B.”
During her speech, the “Bodak Yellow” rapper spoke about how it was difficult for her to focus on music throughout the chaotic year.
“This year, when it came to music, I had so many things planned,” Cardi 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.”
Although her chart-topping single “WAP” alongside Megan Thee Stallion was the only song she released this year, Cardi shared how surprised she was by its reaction and popularity around the world, especially amongst the Republicans.
“.. 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.
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.”
Towards the end of her acceptance speech, Cardi gave a little motivation to other girls out there looking to follow in the Grammy-Award winning rapper’s footsteps.
“You actually gotta put in the work,” she urged. “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 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.”
Watch Cardi’s acceptance speech for the Woman of the Year Award down below: