Billboard will honor Janelle Monáe and Cyndi Lauper at its 13th annual Women in Music event on December 6 in New York City. Monáe will accept the Trailblazer Award while Lauper will accept the Icon Award at the same ceremony as previously announced “Woman of the Year” recipient Ariana Grande. The highly regarded event, held in conjunction with the release of Billboard’s Women in Music issue, will also honor the most powerful female executives in the industry.
“The entire world recognizes the power of Cyndi Lauper’s pop music, and just as crucially, she has used her undeniable talent to soar beyond music, create positive change in modern society and become a true Icon,” says Billboard’s Editorial Director, Jason Lipshutz. “And Janelle Monáe’s insatiable drive to incorporate new, untold stories into her artistic projects — while synthesizing classic funk, soul, R&B, jazz, hip-hop and rock — makes her a truly unique voice. Popular music is more interesting today because Janelle Monáe is part of it.”
The Icon Award recognizes a female artist of extraordinary accomplishment whose historic contributions to the industry and artistry of music establish her among the highest class of all-time performers. Over the course of her four-decade career, Cyndi Lauper has contributed timeless hits to the pop canon (including eight top 10 hits on the Hot 100 chart). She has been lauded for her work in film, TV and theater, and is a GRAMMY, TONY and EMMY winner. Cyndi’s groundbreaking sound and style continue to influence generations of musicians and fans, and she is also a celebrated humanitarian and advocate. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the True Colors Fund, which Lauper co-founded to end youth homelessness among the LGBTQ community.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes a female artist who acts as a pioneer within the music industry by using her platform to amplify unheard voices and break ground for future generations of performers. Janelle Monáe has helped redefine how a black woman can be represented in popular culture over the past decade, and with her No. 6-peaking album Dirty Computer — along with its sci-fi-inflected accompanying film project of the same name — she has continued unleashing her creativity in striking new ways.
The 13th annual Women in Music event and red-carpet pre-show will be broadcast live on Twitter, 7pm-10pm EST on December 6. Additional honorees of Billboard’s 2018 Women in Music event will be announced in the coming weeks.