Music's brightest female stars acknowledge their achievements in Billboard's special ceremony.
Inequality still plagues all areas of life, with even the world's most powerful female entertainers experiencing sexism, mistreatment and discrimination. Billboard's Women in Music event gives female entertainers the spotlight and center of stage they deserve, helping to acknowledge and represent female entertainers in an industry with a very long way to go before equality is commonplace.
It was announced previously that Lady Gaga would receive the Woman of The Year award, after a fantastic 2015 which saw her deliver the highlight performance at the Oscars and score a Golden Globe nomination, and tonight she accepted her award with a moving speech about battling the "boys club" that is the music industry:
"But what I really want to say is that it is really hard sometimes for women in music. It’s like a fuckin’ boys club that we just can’t get into. Sorry, grandma. But yeah, I tried for so long. I tried for so long. I just really wanted to be taken seriously as a musician for my intelligence more than my body ever in this business. To be here today means that I’m recognized for my songwriting and for my legacy, which means a lot because you don’t always feel like -- when you’re working -- that people believe that you have a musical background, that you understand what you’re doing because you’re female. And that’s why tonight is so important. Because women provide a wisdom to music that is very unique and special. It is a perspective that no other person can have because we bear life, and we go through things that no one goes through. And more importantly because it’s right, because we’re all equal."
See her career synopsis, performance of Til It Happens To You and award acceptance speech here:
Performance highlights included Demi Lovato's stunning performance of Stone Cold and Fifth Harmony's mashup of Worth It, Independent Women and We Are Family:
Selena Gomez accepted the Chart Topper award and performed Same Old Love:
Lana Del Rey accepted the Trailblazer award:
And finally, Missy Elliott received the Innovator award, was tributed and delivered a moving speech about her 20+ year career:
"First of all, I'm so humbly grateful. I've been in this industry for over 20 years, and I stand here for all the women who may have been told 'you don't fit the mold, you're not good enough, you won't make it.' Look at me, I'm here, and I'm standing here for y'all because I see so many powerful women in here. Bold, fierce, sassy, and I want y'all to know that I stand here, and I was told a lot of those things, and I'm sorry that I'm...I'm such a mush head. I dreamed of days like this. I was that kid that used to write on my mother's walls and my family would come over and ask her, 'Is your child OK?' I just had songs written all over the walls, and as I got in high school, my friends, I think they thought I was creative because I was able to change my F to a B, and as time went on, I realized I was different and unique and not a follower."