Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Lana Del Rey, Tori Kelly, Missy Elliott and more attend the empowering event.
Billboard’s 10th annual Women In Music event, hosted by Savannah Guthrie and Tamron Hall of NBC’s Today show, was held in New York City on Friday (Dec. 11). It honored women who make waves in music, including Lady Gaga, who was named Billboard’s Woman Of The Year, Missy Elliott, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Tori Kelly – some of whom performed.
Lady Gaga, Woman of the Year
Selena Gomez, Chart-Topper
Kelsea Ballerini, Rising Star
Fifth Harmony, Group of the Year
Loretta Lynn, Legend
Brittany Howard, Powerhouse
Missy Elliott, Innovator
Tori Kelly, Breakthrough
Demi Lovato, Rulebreaker
Lana Del Rey, Trailblazer
Gaga received the biggest honor of the night as Billboard’s Woman of the Year. She performed the song she co-wrote with Diane Warren titled “Till It Happens To You” from the The Hunting Ground documentary before her speech.
“Women provide a wisdom to music that is very unique and special,” she continued. “It is a perspective no one else can have because we bear life. And because we go through things no one else goes through. And because it’s right. Because we’re all equal.”
Gomez received the Chart-Topper honor. Before accepting her award, she performed a slowed down version of “Same Old Love,” backed by strings and a piano.
“Thank you for supporting me not just with this record but all the time,” she said in her speech. “This album in particular was such a transition for me. I have so much more to prove,” she said discussing how proud she was of Revival, before going on to thank her team.
The ladies of 5H took home the Group of the Year Honor.
The ladies sang soulful renditions of “Worth It” before tackling Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” and Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.”
They said in their speech, “Each one of you in this room is beautiful strong and powerful beyond measures,” Dinah Jane-Hansen said. “[We want to] thank our mothers for being a part of this journey,” they said. “We’re so honored to be here and be named Group of the Year.”
Lovato accepted Billboard’s Rulebreaker Honor after performing “Stone Cold” off Confident.
“It’s not intentional and that’s what’s awesome – people see it,” Lovato said during her acceptance speech. “I’m excited to show people you can be yourself and people will appreciate it.”
“I’m not a public speaker by any means, I’m a singer, and so this might be a little awkward,” she continued after the performance, “because for the first time in my life and my career, I’ve grown to know who I am as a person and as an artist”
Lana Del Rey
The “Honeymoon” singer accepted the Trailblazer honor.
“It’s amazing to be in a room full of so many wonderful women,” Del Rey said in her acceptance speech.
“It’s been an interesting journey. I feel like this year I’m only just starting to figure out the perspective I’ve written the last four records from,” she added.
Kelly performed “Hollow” after accepting the Breakthrough honor.
“This is a huge honor for me. I’m so inspired to be in a room with such powerful women. I’m super honored looking back on this year, it’s definitely been the craziest of my life,” she said, before thanking her mom, and several others.
The “WTF” rapper accepted the award for Innovator of the Year. Elliott, who performed a medley of hits, including “Lose Control,” “Work It” and her comeback single, told the audience: “I wanna thank all the women before me … because they kicked down the door for me to be able to walk through.”
“I stand here for all the women who’ve been told, ‘You don’t fit the mold, you’re not good enough, you won’t make it’ … Look at me, I’m here,” she said in her acceptance speech, apologizing for crying and being “such a mush-head.”
“I want y’all to know to continue to be creative and don’t be scared to take risks,” Elliott continued. “Being a woman in this industry, for me — as an artist, a writer, a producer — I’ve had my ups and downs and there’s times when I wanted to give up, but,” she added through tears, “God had another plan for me and if it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t be standing here.”
Elliott thanked Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Magoo and Janet Jackson for their collaborations over the years, then ended her speech by honoring her late friend Aaliyah. “I hope you’re looking down and you’re proud of me,” she said. “I miss you much.”
The Billboard Women in Music ceremony airs Dec. 18 on Lifetime at 8 p.m.