Travis Scott and Morgan Wallen took the stage at the Billboard Music Awards

Travis Scott and Morgan Wallen celebrated controversial successes on stage at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, while Mary J. Blige was honored for her musical excellence.

Wallen appeared on his first major awards show after being caught on camera using a racial slur more than a year ago. After receiving no verbal introduction, the country music star sat next to his four-piece band and performed “Don’t Think Jesus,” then his chart-topping “Wasted on You,” a single from his popular project, Dangerous: The Double Album. . ”

Shortly after his performance, rapper Pusha T presented Wallen with the Top Country Artist Award.

“I want to say, ‘Thank God.’ And thank you my fans. I have the best damn fans,” said Wallen, who credits his mother for accompanying him as his date. He also thanked Billboard for the invitation. He didn’t mention the incident last year in which the disgraced singer was once rebuked by the music industry.

“Thanks to my little boy,” he continued. “You inspire me every day.”

Scott made his first television appearance since a massive crowd killed ten and injured thousands at his Astroworld Festival in Houston last November. The rapper performed his single “Mafia” in an icy, polar set with heavily censored lyrics.

Mary J. Blige received the Icon Award for Influential Music Maker. The singer, known as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, was presented with the award by Janet Jackson and escorted onto the stage by Sean “Diddy” Combs – the host of the show, which was broadcast live on NBC from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Blige said she’s “in a dream right now” after receiving the honor. She spoke about how the road to becoming an icon was not an easy one during her stellar career.

“I’ve been on this journey for a long time, a journey that hasn’t always looked like you see me now, a journey that’s filled with heartbreak and pain,” she said. “But God helped me channel those experiences and emotions into my music, which is where I started making music.”

Blige was honored with a video montage featuring performances by Queen Latifah, Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson. Past honorees include Prince, Steve Wonder, Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, Jennifer Lopez, Garth Brooks, Pink, Celine Dion and Janet Jackson.

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“I was fabulous in the ghetto and I still am,” said Blige, whose Dr. Dre produced the 2001 single “Family Affair,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and had four #1 albums on the Billboard 200. “Such a ghetto and so fabulous and people were threatened by it. Now everyone wants to be ghetto fabulous.”

Maxwell pays homage to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in a performance celebrating the 40th anniversary of the King of Pop’s 1982 album. The singer took the stage in sparkly black gloves and a jacket before performing the heartfelt jam “The Lady in My Life.”

Combs honored activist Tamika Mallory with the Revolt Black Excellence Award. He applauded Mallory’s efforts as organizer of the 2017 Women’s March, gun control advocate and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“You fight for us on the front lines and we just have to give you so much respect, Queen,” Combs said, before calling her “fearless.”

After hearing Combs’ gracious remarks, Mallory was almost in tears. She then took the opportunity to address Saturday’s deadly mass shooting that killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York.

The white gunman was arrested after the supermarket attack for what police described as a hate crime murder, in which most of the victims were black.

“While they caught the person who committed the murder, they didn’t capture the hatred,” Mallory said. “They didn’t stop the damage and the pain. And if you’re not doing anything at this point, you’re actually doing something by staying silent. I ask you tonight: get involved, fight for justice.”

Previously, Drake was named Top Artist, Male Artist, Rap Artist, Male Rap Artist, and Rap Album for Certified Lover Boy. With 34 wins, the rapper extended his record as the most decorated winner in the history of the awards.

Olivia Rodrigo and Kanye West, known as Ye, won six awards during a non-televised ceremony. Rodrigo was awarded Best New Artist.

Ye made his mark in the faith-based categories — again: the rapper won Best Christian Artist for the first time, but he held his own for Best Gospel Artist and Gospel Song for a third straight year. He also received a top gospel album for the second time.

The Kid LAROI became a first-time winner, taking home accolades for his song “Stay” featuring Justin Bieber – whose winning number rose to 26 at the Billboard Music Awards.

Doja Cat has won four awards. She was named Best R&B Artist and R&B Artist for the second year in a row, along with Best R&B Album and Best Female Artist.

Taylor Swift – who has the second-most award show wins of all time at 29 – has won four awards. Bad Bunny earned two wins, while R&B duo Silk Sonic, consisting of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, won their first prize for Best R&B Song with “Leave the Door Open.”

Amariyanna Copeny expressed some nervousness after receiving the Changemaker Award for her community service efforts in the Flint water crisis that began in 2014. Now 14, Copeny, known as Little Miss Flint, often burst out laughing while reading the teleprompter on stage.

“I don’t do the work for awards and clout,” Copeny said. “I’m making it for the kids back home in Flint who are still getting poisoned by the water,” she continued. She was presented with the award by Teyana Taylor.

Becky G, who released the album “Esquemas” on Friday, performed “Baile Con Mi Ex” and her hit “MAMIII,” which topped Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. Ed Sheeran delivered a remote performance from Northern Ireland where he is touring.

Other acts who took to the stage included Miranda Lambert, Meghan Thee Stallion and Grammy Awards favorites Silk Sonic.

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