Cardi B has picked up Billboard’s Woman Of The Year award for 2020, and was presented with the award by Breonna Taylor’s mother.
It’s been an unusual year for all of us, and Cardi B is no exception. So it’s all the more impressive that she found a way to triumph amid the tragedy of 2020 as a prominent voice for social justice and a reliable hip-hop hitmaker atop the Hot 100 — earning her the Woman of the Year title at Thursday’s (Dec. 10) Billboard Women in Music event.
In a nod to her activism and political involvement, Cardi accepted the night’s biggest honor from Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, whose fatal shooting during a police raid in March became one of the catalysts of the renewed Black Lives Matter movement this summer.
“One of Breonna’s most outspoken advocates over the past few months has been Cardi B,” Palmer said in her video presentation. “Cardi has used her platform to spread the truth about what happened to Breonna and to reaffirm that Black women’s lives matter. Cardi B’s impact reaches far beyond music. That why I am so proud and honored to present Billboard’s Woman of the Year award to Miss Cardi B.”
In her acceptance speech, Cardi touched on the difficulty of focusing on music in a year that was so out of control, and how the impossible-to-miss musical statement she and Megan Thee Stallion made in August was able to cut through all the noise.
“This year, when it came to music, I had so many things planned,” Cardi said. “I had so many projects that I wanted to come out. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I couldn’t put out the visuals the way that I wanted, it messed up my creative space. You know, I think everyone this year was just messed up. So I’m just grateful and thankful that the song that I actually did put out this year, which was ‘WAP’ featuring Megan Thee Stallion, not only was it an amazing song that broke so many records, but it was a conversation that I never thought was going to be so big.
“I mean, it pissed off a whole bunch of Republicans for no reason, you know what I’m saying?” she laughed. “It was just weird.”
Cardi also addressed “girls out there that are just like me,” encouraging them to work harder than they think is possible to “make your dreams come true” and let the hate fuel their grind.
“You actually gotta put in the work,” she urged. “You gotta be ambitious. You gotta network. You gotta become great at what you do. You gotta be able to take criticism — believe it or not, y’all be saying I don’t take criticism, but yes I do. That’s why when people be like, ‘Oh, you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ I practice so I can become better and better. There’s hope. There’s hope for your dreams.”
Other women honored at Thursday night’s virtual ceremony, hosted by Teyana Taylor, included Dua Lipa, Jennifer Lopez, Jessie Reyez, Chloe x Halle and Dolly Parton, as well as Executives of the Year Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas.