Billboard Music Awards recognizes women during Women’s History Month


Photo courtesy of @oliviarodrigo on Instagram

Olivia Rodrigo speaks during Billboard Women in Music event, March 3, 2022.

Antoinette Yen, Entertainment Editor

Billboard’s annual Women in Music Awards recognize the top female artists, producers and executives who have made significant contributions to the music industry in the previous year. Despite the fact that the annual event has grown in size since its inception, one woman is named Woman of the Year. Reba McEntire was the first to receive the honor in 2007, and Olivia Rodrigo received it this year. Taylor Swift is the only female artist to have won the award twice, in 2011 and 2014.

Olivia Rodrigo, former teen actor turned pop star, praised prior female songwriters and music artists for giving her strength as she accepted Billboard’s 2022 Woman of the Year award during the event held on March 3. Held at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California she spoke about being lucky career wise and thanked Sheryl Crow, who presented her with the honor.

Rodrigo became the biggest breakout star with her confessional debut album, “SOUR,” which broke chart records and earned her numerous awards and nominations. All 11 songs from “SOUR” landed in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female artist to accomplish this feat.

Rodrigo opened Billboard’s show with her hit song “déjà vu” from her “SOUR” album. Upon giving her performance, she said, “Every woman here today is working to break down those barriers and change the narrative and support each other.”

As she accepted her award for “Billboard’s 2022 Woman of the Year,” Rodrigo spoke about being “constantly moved” by young girls who write songs every day from their bedroom floors just as she does. She continued, saying, “I’m constantly moved by your vulnerability and your creativity and bravery, and I promise everyone here today is working to make this world and this industry a better place for you,”

“What I love most about songwriting is its ability to perfectly capture how I feel better than anything I could have said in a conversation,” she said. “Song writing has always been everything to me, so for people to connect with my music is beyond a dream come true.”

Bonnie Raitt, a 10-time Grammy winner and activist who received the 2022 Icon Award, used her platform to address the current Ukraine crisis. Her song, “Angel From Montgomery” was dedicated to the women of Ukraine. She went on to say that her “heart is heavy” for the Ukrainian people and that she is even praying for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I know the Russian people are not in agreement – so many of them – with what’s being done,” she said. “I pray for all the people who are working hard for peace, including the man who started the war. May he have a transformation.”

For Saweetie and Phoebe Bridgers, it turned out to be a family affair, with their mothers separately presenting the awards to the. Trinidad Valentin, Saweetie’s mother, described her daughter as a “force to be reckoned with.” Meanwhile, Bridgers’ mother, Jamie Bridgers, expressed gratitude that her daughter has found a way to “highlight people and causes she cares about.”

Cade Foehner, Gabby Barrett’s husband, delivered a moving speech about his wife’s musical success as well as her role as a wife and mother.

The couple joined together on stage to sing “I Hope.”

“I grew up with this big dream. It certainly was not easy,” Barrett said, following her performance. “I did not come from a wealthy background. A lot of people doubted me – kids, adults, schoolteachers. I heard a lot of ‘nos’ and it seemed like every door that I knocked on remained closed for a long time. But by the graciousness of God, I am here today. I continue to work hard and persevere.”

Other musicians were recognized at the event, such as H.E.R., Doja Cat, Karol G and Summer Walker.