Barbados’ pop-singing sensation Rihanna on Sunday night won the first-ever Icon Award at the 2013 American Music Awards (AMA) at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
After what has been described as a stunning performance of her song “Diamonds,” Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, accepted the award that was voted completely by fans.
Her mother, Monica Fenty, presented her with the award following a video commemoration from Jay Z and a video montage showing her career highlights.
“Rihanna, I’m so proud of you tonight. I know the journey and your career has not always been an easy one, but tonight I applaud and admire you for being so strong and so positive and so humble and so focused,” said her mother at the award ceremony, broadcast live on ABC TV.
“And I mean, it’s amazing how you always manage to take good from all your experiences,” she added.
“I’m so pleased to be a part of this historic moment, and I just want to say I’m proud to present to you the first ever AMA Icon Award,” Braithwaite continued.
In receiving the award, Rihanna, 25, told her mom it was “just about 20 years ago,” when she “really started making life a living hell with my ‘annoying little husky man voice,’ you’d call it.
“And I mean just disrupting the entire neighborhood. I annoyed every one of my neighbors [on Baxter Street in Bridgetown, Barbados],” she said.
She then thanked a host of people who were instrumental in her rise to stardom, including Jay Z and producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid.
Rihanna also recalled the record deal that eventually led her to Jay Z, who said in a video presentation: “Something in her eyes told me she was a star.”
“You keep me driven, you keep this special,” Rihanna told her fans. “I can’t believe that, at 25 years old, I’m holding an Icon Award.
“If you know me, you know that I love you and that I thank you and that I’m grateful,” she added.
In introducing her, Master of Ceremony Bill Maher described Rihanna, who was born on born Feb. 20, 1988, as “the voice of our generation,” noting that she has sold about 50 million albums and 180 digital tracks worldwide.
Justin Timberlake, who accepted the award for Favorite R&B Soul Artist (Male), after Rihanna’s, said, “How cute is Rihanna’s mom,” adding that he loved Rihanna and that she “totally deserved” the Icon Award.
Larry Klein, the awards producer, said the first-ever Icon Award was created to “honor an artist whose body of work has made a profound influence over pop music on a global level.
“Rihanna’s iconic and innovative sound has enabled her to become one of the most influential and best-selling artists of all time,” he said.
Besides Rihanna and Timberlake, other artists who performed at the AMA awards included Luke Bryan; Miley Cyrus; Florida Georgia Line; Lady Gaga; Ke$ha; Imagine Dragons; Kendrick Lamar; Macklemore and Ryan Lewis; One Direction; Jennifer Lopez; TLC (with a special guest); Katy Perry; and Pitbull, who was also co-Emcee.
The AMA’s Icon Award is among a comprehensive list of awards and nominations that Rihanna has received over the years.
They comprise about 250 awards from 540 nominations, primarily in the pop, R&B and hip-hop genre categories.
The Barbadian recording artist won five awards for her first single, “Pon de Replay” in her debut album “Music of the Sun” (2005).
Her second album, “A Girl Like Me” (2006), garnered even more awards and nominations.
The lead single, “Umbrella,” in Rihanna’s “breakout album,” “Good Girl Gone Bad” (2007), earned Rihanna her first Grammy Award in 2008.
“Umbrella” was named “Song of the Decade” at the Barbados Music Awards in 2010.
“Rude Boy”, the hit single in Rihanna’s “Rated R” (2009) album, was nominated for “Song of the Year” at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Rihanna’s collaboration with Jay-Z and Kanye West in 2010, with “Run This Town”, won her second and third Grammy awards for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
The Barbadian singing sensation received two Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for her fifth album, “Loud” (2010). The lead single, “Only Girl (In the World)” also won Best Dance Recording.
In 2011, Rihanna’s collaboration Eminem on “Love the Way You Lie” earned her three Grammy awards.
She also received two Grammys – Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration – at the 2012 Grammy Awards for collaborating with Kanye West on his single “All of the Lights.”
Rihanna’s sixth album, “Talk That Talk” (2011), won the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year in 2012 and Best Short Form Music Video at the 55th Grammy Awards in 2013.
“Diamonds” is the lead single in Rihanna’s seventh album, “Unapologetic” (2012).