Entertainer and song writer Lionel Richie was honored with the prestigious Icon Award at the 2022 American Music Awards (AMAs) on Sunday evening (Nov. 20).
The American Idol judge and former member of the Commodores was on hand to accept the high honor from his longtime friend Smokey Robinson, who presented him with the award in Los Angeles at Microsoft Theater.
“I’m so honored to be here, giving this award to my brother, my friend,” Robinson told the crowd before dubbed Richie a “legend.” He then added, “But before he became all that, I knew him as the guy with the biggest afro in the Commodores.”
“Simply put, there have been few careers that have had as much diversity as Lionel Richie,” he continued. “He has mentored and inspired countless musicians.”
Richie accept the award and reflected on the moment he was experiencing
“I started here, at the AMAs. My career, to this day, 40 years later, I’m back at the AMAs,” Richie shared. “My AMA family started with Dick Clark,” he continued, “then of course from there, my family. I wanna thank my kids, and the mothers of my kids, for keeping my kids together.”
He also sent a message to the “young superstars” in attendance at the coveted awards show.
“God has given you a light. That light is special. That light is only given to a few,” Richie said. “When you hear the word ‘hit,’ that means today. When you hear the word ‘inspiring,’ that means forever. If you get the chance to have that light on you, understand what God has in store.”
The American Music Awards’ Icon Award honors “an artist whose body of work has marked a global influence over the music industry.” Rihanna was the first recipient of the award in 2013.
Richie is now the only artist in history to be featured on the AMAs stage in every decade since the show’s inception.