Lionel Richie delivered a heartfelt tribute as he made his acceptance speech at the 2022 American Music Awards on Sunday evening (November 20). The legendary artist received the prestigious Icon Award at the highly-anticipated awards show, hosted at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.
“Lionel Richie has had a profound impact on countless people around the world and on the music industry as a whole,” said executive producer and showrunner Jesse Collins in a previously-issued press release. “From the millions of dollars raised due to ‘We Are the World’ to the global influence his unique sound still has today, Richie is the definition of a living legend and honoring him with the AMAs Icon Award is a no-brainer.”
Richie’s honor began with opening remarks by fellow singing-songwriting legend Smokey Robinson, whose sentiments were echoed in recorded statements by other artists, including Katy Perry, Shania Twain and Ne-Yo. Following Richie’s speech, Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth took the stage for an unforgettable, all-star tribute that engaged the entire crowd.
The Icon Award marked a full-circle moment for Richie, who reflected on his decades-long career as he thanked his family and friends for their support over the years. The international superstar also spoke about what it means to be an inspiration to others, sharing that “…God is trying to tell you that you were chosen to inspire. Take this opportunity. That light is on you (to) inspire. God bless you all. Thank you very much.”
Richie, 73, was confirmed as the 2022 Icon Award recipient earlier this month. The legendary artist, producer and TV personality has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide and won 17 AMA awards throughout his career, aside from the Icon Award. The award, according to the previously-issued press release, “honors an artist whose body of work has marked a global influence over the music industry.”
“I’m immensely grateful for a career that has taken me to places I never imagined that I’d go, from arenas worldwide to studio sets to the AMA stage,” Richie said in the release. “I can recall one of the first times I got to perform at the AMAs. It was to sing ‘We Are the World’ among the most iconic musicians of my generation, so it is surreal to be receiving this recognition 36 years later.”