Janet Jackson speaks out against sexual abusers in the industry as she accepts Billboard award

Yesterday saw Janet Jackson be honoured with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards and the singer took to the stage to perform a thrilling but brief medley of her greatest hits. Jackson was handed the award - which recognizes her four decades of musical success - by a gushing Bruno Mars.

“The name ‘Jackson’ represents artistic genius and iconic performance,” said Mars of the legendary superstar. “The Jacksons are music royalty and the first family of entertainment. She is an activist. She’s a humanitarian. She’s a powerful woman.”

Janet Jackson performance Credit: Getty

Despite have a career that has spanned generations and touched on multiple different genres, Jackson's medley was surprisingly short. The singer played Nasty and Throb, leading the audience to break out in a chorus of chanting "Janet! Janet!". Clearly moved by the reception and receiving the award, the singer delivered an empowering and rousing acceptance speech.

"I believe that, for all of our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history," she began. "It’s a moment that, at long last, women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated, or abused. I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination, who support us in heart and mind."

Janet Jackson acceptance speech Credit: Getty

Jackson then flipped the subject and encouraged the audience to embrace their faith in God: "My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we will turn back to the source of all calmness, that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance: compassion, sensitivity, patience and boundless love. Again I want to thank all of you for this honor and I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist who every day seeks to expand my capacity to love."

It seems like Jackson's performance impressed plenty of people on Twitter, with users taking to the app to gush praise on the star. Missy Elliott, in particular, seemed extremely pleased with her friend.

"dats my friend dats my friend dats my friend!DATS MY FRIEND!!! nah all jokes aside you already know I’m PROUD OF YOU! & this wasn’t just given to you YOU WORKED HARD & TRULEY DESERVE THIS!"

In receiving the award, Jackson became the first black woman to do so. Previous winners include Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Cher.

It marks a return to the limelight for Jackson, who had managed to establish herself as a formidable force in the music industry after releasing Control in 1986. Since then, she has become a prominent figure in the world of music and has had a Number One album in four different decades; a feat that has only been achieved by U2, Bruce Springsteen and Barba Streisand. On top of that, she is the only artist in history to have released three different albums that each spawned five top 10 hits.

While it may seem like Janet Jackson is a declining force in the world of music, she deserves praise for using her large platform to spread a message of empowerment to women across the world.