Beyoncé Graciously Accepts Innovator Award At 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards – Essence

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Beyoncé Graciously Accepts Innovator Award At 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Beyoncé was honored with the prestigious Innovator Award during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday evening. The momentous occasion saw the “Texas Hold ‘Em” songstress take the stage to receive the accolade from none other than fellow music legend Stevie Wonder.

Wonder shared kind words of the Houston native and her efforts of being an innovator. “Now, Beyoncé is once again changing music and culture,” Wonder said of her new project. “And when she’s not changing music, she’s changing the world, fighting the good fight.”

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Expressing her deep admiration for the “Isn’t She Lovely,” hitmaker Beyoncé said, “Whenever anyone asks me if there’s anyone I could listen to for the rest of my life, it’s always you. God bless you.” She also revealed that Wonder contributed to her new album, Cowboy Carter, by playing the harmonica on her rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

The touching exchange continued with Wonder reciprocating the sentiment, commending Beyoncé for inspiring positive change in the world. “I just want to thank you for motivating the world to become a better place,” he warmly shared.

Beyoncé Accepts Innovator Award At iHeartRadio Music Awards
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 01: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) (L-R) Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award from Stevie Wonder onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on April 01, 2024. Broadcasted live on FOX. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

During her poignant acceptance speech, Beyoncé spoke about her personal philosophy on innovation. “Tonight, you called me an innovator and for that, I’m very grateful.Innovation starts with a dream, and the road to execute that dream can be very bumpy. Being an innovator is doing what everyone believes is impossible,” the 32-time Grammy Award winner shared with the audience. Clad in attire reflecting her current country-inspired phase—complete with a leather jumpsuit adorned with fringe, a statement belt with a bold buckle, and a chic black cowboy hat—Beyoncé emphasized the resilience required in the face of criticism. “Being an innovator often means being criticized, which often will test your mental strength. Being an innovator is leaning on faith and trusting that God will catch you and guide you,” she continued.

Expressing gratitude, Beyoncé extended heartfelt appreciation to her team at Parkwood Entertainment, her husband Jay-Z, whom she hailed as “my rock, my best friend,” and her three children—12-year-old Blue Ivy and six-year-old twins Sir and Rumi—who continue to inspire and enrich her life.

She also graciously acknowledged the artistic innovators who have profoundly influenced her journey, paying tribute to Black stars such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Tracy Chapman, Linda Martell, Prince, Andre 3000, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder. She lauded them for their unwavering commitment to their craft, commending them for “executing your dream so we can all follow.”

The release of Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter album on Friday March 29 marked a historic milestone, instantly becoming Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day in 2024. Additionally, it set a new record for first-day streams for a country album by a female artist in the annals of Amazon Music.

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