BET Honors Janet Jackson As Music's Ultimate Icon

by Tiffany Thomas

What is there to say about Janet Jackson? A musical powerhouse with a career spanning more than 30 years, Jackson is a force to be reckoned with. The woman is a legend. Not only do her albums smash billboards, her videos are cutting-edge, creative, and artful. For all those reasons, it makes perfect sense to cap off an evening dedicated to honoring R&B's roots with a tribute to the Queen of Pop. On Sunday night, the 2015 BET Awards honored Janet Jackson with the Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award.

This is the first time that the company has presented the award. In a statement on the BET.com website, Stephen Hill, BET's president of programming said that they decided to give Jackson the inaugural honor because she is "an inspiration to many other artists, 'Ms. Jackson' ('cause I'm nasty) blends music, dance and visuals in unique and groundbreaking ways and we look forward to celebrating her storied history... as well as giving the BET Awards audience a peek into her Unbreakable future." Jackson's Unbreakable tour kicks off this August, marking the first we've seen of Miss Jackson in well over six years. Janet is certainly musical royalty and worthy of being celebrated.

And celebrate her, they did. Legendary production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis introduced Jackson by reacquainting us with some of the artist's major achievements: selling 140 million records, achieving 25 top 10 hits, and becoming the only performer ever with seven separate top five hits on one album.

Ciara opened the star-studded tribute to Jackson, which featured choreography from some of her most memorable videos.

We reminisced a bit with "Pleasure Principle."

Then we remembered just how nasty Janet Jackson got with "If."

Then came Jackson's acceptance speech, which was humble and graceful.

It's been a very long journey to this moment. My heart is so full. Thank you God for making everything — anything possible. I'm so grateful for the support you've always given me, to my beautiful mother and my beautiful father. And to my entire family: your love is Unbreakable.

She even included a nod to the social commentary we usually see in her albums.

25 years ago, we created Rhythm Nation hoping the world would be a better place. But today there's even more to be done...And to all the fans: I've missed you so much. And I love you so much.

The Queen is back. Watch the tribute below.