Lionel Richie graciously accepted the Icon Award during the 2022 American Music Awards, hosted by Wayne Brady. The decorated singer-songwriter was introduced and presented with the honor by his longtime friend Smokie Robinson.
“I knew him as the guy with the big fat afro in The Commodores,” joked Robinson. “He’s a legend whose music is played everywhere from Australia to Argentina, and all around the world.”
He continued, “There are few careers that have had as much diversity as Lionel Richie.”
Robinson also shared a story about how fans would often confuse them for each other to the point that they’d give fans autographs on each other’s behalf.
A video tribute aired during the award show which featured words from Katy Perry, Smokie Robinson, Shania Twain, and Ne-Yo, who all paid respect to the Motown legend’s legacy.
“Thank you, Lionel,” said Richie as he took the stage in a tailored all-black suit. He and Richie embraced as the trophy was handed over. “Do we have about 40 years for me to tell you how I got here?”
During his acceptance speech, he took a moment to address the young artists of today. “What I want to say and take this time to do is to talk to the young superstars. God has given you a light,” he stated. “That light is special. That light is only given to a few. When you hear the word ‘hip’ it means today. When you hear the word ‘inspiring,’ it means forever. If you get a chance to have that light on you, understand what God has in store…God is trying to tell you. You are chosen to inspire.”
Watch Lionel Richie accept the Icon Award during the 2022 American Music Awards below.