The Billboard Women in Music 2016 event on Friday (Dec. 9, 2016) in NYC honored many great women working in the music industry today, but it was Madonna, recipient of Billboard’s Woman of the Year award, who brought the house down with her fiery and brutally honest acceptance speech.
“I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer,” Madonna bluntly stated. “Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.”
She went on to give an emotional speech about where she was when her career began and how she has come to realize “women do not have the same freedom as men.” She added that women have to “play the game. You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don’t act too smart…” adding, “And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticized and vilified and definitely not played on the radio.”
Madonna, who recently said she believed Hillary Clinton lost the election because “women hate women,” concluded, “What I would like to say to all women here today is this: Women have been so oppressed for so long they believe what men have to say about them. They believe they have to back a man to get the job done. And there are some very good men worth backing, but not because they’re men — because they’re worthy. As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other’s worth. Seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by, to support, and enlightened by.”
Kesha was also honored with the Trailblazer Award and told the audience, “It’s mind-blowing to be honored like this after a very public year I’ve had,” she continued. “I feel stuck and I feel sad and quite frankly, today, I feel bloated,” which was met with a chorus of laughs. “This is a huge reminder I can’t give up and I have to keep fighting for my truth and keep fighting for my dreams.”
The singer concluded, “If you keep showing up for yourself, you can move mountains … Do not let anyone else take your happiness.”
Launch the gallery above for arrival pics!