Soul superstar MARY J. BLIGE was honoured for her career and humanitarian work as she accepted Essence magazine's inaugural Black Women in Music Award in Los Angeles on Wednesday (27Jan10).
Def Jam chairman L.A. Reid presented Blige with the first-ever statuette, in recognition of her musical accomplishments as well as her work with the organisation she co-founded, the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now.
The crowd, which included actresses Taraji P. Henson and Gabrielle Union, and rapper Ludacris, gave Blige a standing ovation following a special video clip in which poet Maya Angelou paid tribute to the singer.
Blige told the audience at Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel, "Thank you so much for supporting me from the day I stepped foot into the music industry. It really means something to me to have Maya Angelou speak on my behalf. It also means a lot to have Oprah on my speed dial!"
Ludacris later honoured the star: "I was privileged enough to do a song with Mary J. Blige, and I'm just happy to do that, but anytime we celebrate her legacy and everything she's done, she deserves it 100 per cent. I love her music and I love her as a person."