The 2022 Billboard Women in Music Awards descended on Hollywood Park’s new YouTube Theater on March 2. Hosted by Ciara, the ceremony commemorated the work and artistry of the industry’s greatest powerhouse women. Between speeches and awards, music’s biggest stars also hit the stage for intimate performances. Among the honorees were Olivia Rodrigo (Woman of the Year Award), Gabby Barrett (Rising Star Award; Performer), Phoebe Bridgers (Trailblazer Award), Doja Cat (Powerhouse Award), H.E.R. (Impact Award), Karol G (Rule Breaker Award) Bonnie Raitt (Icon Award; Performer), Saweetie (Game Changer Award), and Summer Walker (Chart Breaker Award).
Bringing singers together from across decades and genres, the Women in Music Awards was a special evening. Read on for the night’s best moments.
The show kicked off with a pre-taped performance from the pop star, who sang a cutting rendition of smash hit Deja Vu. Later, Rodrigo closed out the night by accepting the Woman of the Year Award, which was presented by songwriting foremother Sheryl Crow. The 19-year-old thanked a slew of people, but what really stood out was her gratefulness to make music for a living and to inspire girls to write songs while laying around their bedroom floor just like her.
Before accepting her well-earned Icon Award, Raitt graced the stage with the longtime friend and fellow artist. The duo performed “Angel from Montgomery” from her 1974 album Streetlights, during which Raitt very much proved Browne deeming her a soul singer, which he described her as later in his award presentation to her.
WIM may have been about industry heavyweights, but it really was a night for the moms. Cade Foehner praised wife and fellow artist Gabby Barrett for not only being an excellent singer, but also an outstanding mother and wife. Meanwhile Saweetie’s mom presented her daughter with the Game Changer Award, who recalled a memory of her teenage daughter telling her there was no “Plan B” when it came to her career as a rapper. Phoebe Bridgers’ mom also took on the role as presenter and told a story about how in high school, her daughter got in trouble for ditching class over and over again. Upon wondering if the teacher had made a mistake, the teacher questioned Bridgers’ mom if Phoebe had ever been in a room and gone unnoticed.
When Bridgers accepted her award after a beautiful performance of Punisher single “Kyoto,” she admitted to the audience that she knew she was due to be roasted by her mom. However, taking a more somber, but meaningful turn in her speech, the singer-songwriter explained that she wanted to use the moment to talk about domestic violence and furthermore dedicated the award to her mom.
“I told her, ‘I’m gonna say something like, ‘Thank you to my mom for surviving unimaginable abuse and violence,’” Bridgers explained, “but she told me, ‘It is imaginable. So many people can imagine it.’ So thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to survive.”
While presenting the Rule Breaker Award, Claudio could not gush enough about the Colombian artist. Her enthusiasm was matched by the horde of fans that were lucky enough to attend the event. From the upper deck, a swelling chant celebrated Karol G as she gave her acceptance speech. All the love was given back by the singer through a stellar performance of “El Barco.”
Photography by: Getty Images for Billboard