Entertainment

Beyonce hopes future is ‘more open to enjoying art with no preconceived notions’

SZA picked up four awards during the ceremony.

Beyonce accepts the Innovator Award as presenter Stevie Wonder looks on during the iHeartRadio Music Awards (Chris Pizzello/AP)
2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards – Show Beyonce accepts the Innovator Award as presenter Stevie Wonder looks on during the iHeartRadio Music Awards (Chris Pizzello/AP) (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Beyonce has called out “all the record labels, every radio station, every awards show” in the hope that they become “more open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art with no preconceived notions”.

The US singer-songwriter appeared on-stage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, hosted by Ludacris, where she received the innovator award from 25-time Grammy winner, Stevie Wonder.

Beyonce, wearing a black leather suit with a matching cowboy hat, thanked Wonder for playing the harmonica on her version of Dolly Parton’s 1973 hit Jolene, which features on her new album Act II: Cowboy Carter.

“Whenever anyone asks me if there’s anyone that I could listen to for the rest of my life, it’s always you,” she told him.

The 42-year-old dedicated her award to all the innovators who have “dedicated their lives and their art to creating shifts”, listing Rosetta Tharpe, Tracy Chapman, Linda Martell, Prince, Wonder, Andre 3000, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson.

“(They) defied any label placed upon them, thank you for executing your dream so we could all follow,” she said.

Beyonce also thanked her husband Jay-Z, describing him as “my rock, my best friend, I love you” and her “three beautiful children who continue to be my inspiration, my biggest blessing”.

“Innovation starts with a dream, but then you have to execute that dream and that road can be very bumpy,” she said.

“Being an innovator is seeing what everyone believes is impossible. Being an innovator often means being criticised which often will test your mental strength.

“Being an innovator is leaning on faith and trusting that God will catch you and guide you.

“So to all the record labels, every radio station, every awards show, my hope is that we’re more open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art with no preconceived notions.”

Beyonce was recognised for her pioneering career, decades of creative risks, and influence on pop culture “on the level that Beyonce has”, including last year’s “groundbreaking” Renaissance World Tour.

During the ceremony, SZA took home four awards, including song of the year for Kill Bill.

“Thank you to my ex-fiance, I wish you the best,” the 34-year-old joked on-stage.

Earlier in the evening SZA – real name Solana Imani Rowe – took home three awards in the R&B category, receiving artist of the year, song for Snooze and album of the year for SOS.

“I’m grateful that we didn’t succumb to the pressure of needing to have the perfect writers, the perfect producers – we just did us and that’s a blessing,” she said.

Taylor Swift was honoured with the artist of the year award, although she did not attend the ceremony.

“iHeart, you have also been so incredibly supportive over the course of my entire career but especially this year, it has been pretty spectacular,” Swift said in a video message, wearing a blue dress and gold chain.

“To the fans, it’s completely up to you to chose how you spend your time, what concerts you want to go to, what music you want to make the soundtrack to your life and to anyone who has included me in those choices, I am so thankful for that.

“We have so many exciting things ahead of us. I’m continuing on with the tour, and most importantly, I have a brand new album called The Tortured Poets Department, which comes out on April 19 – I cannot wait to share it with you.”

Taylor Swift sent a video message after winning artist of the year
MTV Video Music Awards 2023 – Arrivals – New Jersey Taylor Swift sent a video message after winning artist of the year

She was also awarded pop artist of the year, tour of the year, best lyrics, TikTok bop of the year and favourite tour style.

The ceremony saw US rapper Ice Spice, who has collaborated with Swift, Nicki Minaj, and PinkPantheress, awarded best new hip hop artist.

“I just want to let all the young girls know, and boys too, whoever you are, just keep chasing your dreams, keep doing you,” she said.

Avril Lavigne introduced “one of my all-time favourites” Green Day, as they were awarded the landmark award – marking the 30th anniversary of hit album Dookie and two decades since American Idiot was released.

The US band, who will kick off a world stadium tour in May, sang their new track Bobby Sox and 1994 hit Basket Case on-stage.

Other performers included Justin Timberlake, who opened the ceremony with a rendition of Selfish before a performance of No Angels with lively choreography, and girl group TLC who sang No Scrubs and Waterfalls alongside rapper Latto.

While US singer Jelly Roll, who was awarded best new artist for pop and country, performed Save Me with Lainey Wilson – who won country song of the year for Heart Like A Truck.

“My mama always said I had a face for radio baby,” Jelly Roll, real name Jason DeFord, joked.

Ludacris, who closed the show with a live performance, described his appearance at the iHeartRadio Awards as a “full circle moment” explaining how he got his start on the radio in Atlanta, Georgia.

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