Presented by Normani, who paid homage to Ashanti’s unique blend of early 2000s girl-next-door meets around-the-girl aura, the “Happy” singer took the stage to accept her award.
“I am so humbled and so blessed to be here—giving all praise to God. A lot of people thought that I wouldn’t make it this far […] some people may look at my journey and think it was easy. It was not,” she began.
“My career has been filled with so many peaks and valleys and it definitely wasn’t easy. I’ve been blessed to have broken records, won awards, and toured the world,” the New York native continued. She also spoke on how the moment felt full circle since winning the Aretha Franklin Entertainer Of The Year Award in 2002.
Later, she returned to the stage for a showstopping performance. Rocking a pair of thigh-high boots, from her collection, which is almost as iconic as Mary J. Blige’s (as writer Njera Perkins pointed out on Twitter) and a sleek, black bodysuit, the 41-year-old performed a medley of hits—”Happy,” “Rain On Me,” “The Way That I Love You,” “Baby,” “Foolish” plus “What’s Luv” and “Always On Time,” alongside her brothers, Fat Joe and Ja Rule.
The emotional and glowing renditions reminded us why we have loved Ashanti for the past 20 years and are happy to see her receive the flowers that are long overdue.
Watch her full performance below.