The singer said that she was voted "most likely to fail" during her speech as she accepted an award for her philanthropic works at Russell Simmons’ annual Rush HeARTS education luncheon on Friday (11Mar16).

The ceremony, which raises money for Rush’s education programs for New York City’s inner city youth, was held at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

Taking to the stage after being honoured for her True Colors Fund work, which fights for equal rights for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, she said, "I thank you, Russell, for honouring me and the True Colors Fund.

"I’ve been a big fan ever since you came on the scene. I met you and LL (Cool J). I get very impressed and inspired by what you guys are doing.

"I, myself, was challenged a lot in high school. I was actually voted most likely to fail. I failed a bunch, too, but art saved me, and teachers, a few real brave teachers who saw this pathway and said, 'Well, either you’re going to be a famous Greenwich Village artist or dead', and I thought, 'Well, I should do the art.'"

Bobbi MACKenzie, who has benefited from the Rush HeARTS program, performed Cyndi's 1986 hit True Colors at the ceremony - reducing the singer to tears.