The 2022 American Music Awards happened last night (November 20), and Lionel Richie received the AMA Icon Award. In his honor, Stevie Wonder, Ari Lennox, Charlie Puth and others took the stage to perform a medley of hits by the iconic R&B artist.
Wonder and Puth took turns playing various songs by Richie and the Commodores in the style of dueling pianos, including “Brick House,” “Easy,” “All Night Long (All Night),” and “Say You, Say Me.” The tribute ended with Lennox, Smokey Robinson, Melissa Etheridge, Yola, and others joining them onstage for “We Are the World.”
Richie’s Icon Award was presented to him by the first AMAs host, Smokey Robinson, who called the iconic singer his brother and praised Richie for his ability to tackle any genre.
“God has given you a light," Robinson said to Richie. "That light is special. That light is only given to a few,” Richie said, dedicating his acceptance speech to the superstars in the audience. “When you hear the word, ‘hip,’ it means, ‘today.’ When you hear the word, ‘inspiring,’ it means, ‘forever.’ God, he, she, mother, is trying to tell you that you are chosen to inspire.”
Richie is only the second artist to receive the American Music Awards’ Icon Award following Rihanna. A 17-time American Music Awards winner, Richie notably appeared at the 1987 AMAs with an army of all-star artists to perform “We Are the World”: his chart-topping charity single he co-wrote.
“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 previously said of the honor. “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.”
Watch the Lionel Richie tribute and see Richie's acceptance speech below.
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