The “thank u, next” singer-songwriter began by pleading with the audience not to stand for her and humbly thanked Billboard for the “incredible honor” adding she felt “completely undeserving.”
Grande also praised Billboard for putting on the annual event which celebrates women. She explained, “It acknowledges how male-dominated this industry is and gives women a moment to be together and fight for more equality. Hopefully, we can even out the playing field moving forward.”
It’s been an amazing year for Grande, who just received two 2019 Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album for Sweetener and Best Pop Solo Performance for “God Is a Woman.” Her latest single “thank u, next” topped charts in multiple countries and the film-inspired video broke YouTube records upon its release.
However, Grande described the past year as “one of the best years of my career and like the worst of my life.”
The “breathin’” songstress has endured personal struggles this year in the wake of her former beau Mac Miller’s tragic death as well as her engagement and subsequent split with Pete Davidson. She candidly spoke of what people’s perception may be of her, given her recent career success saying they probably think, “she’s really got her s**t together. She’s really on it. She’s got it all.” She admitted, “I do. But as far as my personal life goes. I really have no idea what the f**k I’m doing.”
Grande became emotional, fighting back tears as she attempted to relate to anyone out there who also “has no idea what this next chapter is going to bring.” She assured them, “You’re not alone in that.”
Overall, she was optimistic about the year ahead and teased a little something about her next album saying, “If ‘First Wives Club’ were an album, that’s the album.’ She also ended talking about the importance of self-love, hoping to give some of the love and forgiveness she extended to men to herself.
Grande joins an elite group of prior Billboard Woman of the Year honorees including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, two-time recipient Taylor Swift and last year’s winner Selena Gomez. Country music superstar Reba McEntire earned the first award in 2007.
Watch Ariana Grande’s entire empowering Billboard Woman of the Year acceptance speech above.