The American Music Awards aired live on Sunday (Nov. 20) on ABC and the 50th anniversary of the musical celebration was filled with some pretty Black moments throughout the show.
Hosted by Wayne Brady, this year’s ceremony included seven major wins from Black artists, performances by Ari Lennox, Stevie Wonder, Muni Long, GlorRilla and Cardi B, JID, Lil Baby and Missy Elliott, as well as the legendary Lionel Richie being honored with Icon Award for his indelible 50-year career in the entertainment industry.
Presenters of the evening also included Kelly Rowland and Niecy Nash Betts, and let’s not forget the D-Nice served as the night’s DJ!
Take a look at some of the biggest “I’m Rooting for Everybody Black” moments that happened at the 2022 American Music Awards.
Lionel Richie’s Inspiring and Emotional Icon Award Speech
As the recipient of the 2022 American Music Award Icon Award, Lionel Richie, was presented with the distinguished honor by singer, songwriter, and producer Smokey Robinson. In an emotional speech, Richie shared the importance of fresh artists in the industry leaving a positive mark with their music.
“God has given you a light – that light is special, that light is only given to a few,” he said. “When you hear the word “hip” that means today; when you hear the word “inspiring” that means forever.”
Adding, “When you get a light that shines on you, understand what God has in store,” the four-time Grammy winner added. “He’s not trying to tell you that your car looks great, or your clothes look great. He/she is trying to tell you that you are chosen to inspire.”
Stevie Wonder Leads Lionel Richie’s Tribute, “We Are The World Performance”
Richie’s music tribute was led by Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth, as the two played the Icon Award recipient's medley of hits on their pianos. An emotional performance of his 1986 classic track “We Are The World,” also showcased the talents of Richie, Wonder, Robinson, Ari Lennox, Muni Long, and more.
Kelly Rowland Stands Up For Chris Brown After He Wins Award For “Favorite Male R&B Artist”
Kelly Rowland presented the award for Favorite Male R&B artist and made sure to recognize the winner of the category Chris Brown while seamlessly shutting down the boos from the crowd. In case you missed it, Brown’s was scheduled to perform an American Music Awards tribute to the late Michael Jackson, in honor of the 40th anniversary of his album Thriller, but it was later pulled and canceled.
“Excuse me, chill out,” Rowland said addressing the live crowd. “I wanna tell Chris thank you so much for making great R&B music. And I wanna tell him thank you for being an incredible performer. I’ll take this award, bring it to you. I love you, congratulations. And congratulations to all the nominees in this category.”
GloRilla and Cardi B perform “Tomorrow 2”
Rising hitmaker, GlorRilla, had the crowd on their feet as she performed her latest hit “Tomorrow 2” with Bronx rapper Cardi B.
Lil Baby Performs His Latest Hits
Lil Baby also performed hits from his third studio album It’s Only Me including the project’s lead single “In a Minute” and “California Breeze.”
Kendrick Lamar, Future, Wizkid, Tamela Mann and more win BIG!
Black artists took home major wins including Kendrick Lamar winning Favorite Male Hip-hop Artist and Favorite Hip-Hop Album for his latest project Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Other winners included Future feat. Drake & Tems winning Favorite Hip-Hop song for “Wait For U,” Wizkid taking home the win for Favorite R&B song for his track “Essence” featuring Tems, Tamela Mann snagging the trophy for Favorite Gospel Artist and more.