Lionel Richie accepted the AMA Icon Award last night (Nov. 20). The trophy recognizes the singer as the only artist to grace the American Music Awards stage in every decade since the ceremony’s inception. Stevie Wonder, Charlie Puth and Ari Lennox took the stage to perform a medley of Richie’s biggest hits in honor of his icon status.
Wonder and Puth first took the stage, trading vocals on “Brick House,” “Easy” and “All Night Long (All Night)” while dueling on pianos. After they wrapped the career retrospective, Lennox, Smokey Robinson, Melissa Etheridge, Jimmie Allen, Muni Long, Yola and Dustin Lynch joined the duo on stage for a rousing version of “We Are the World.” Watch the performance below.
“He’s had a solo career second to none,” Robinson said as he presented Richie with his AMA. “Simply put, there have been few careers that have had as much diversity as Lionel Richie.”
Soon after, Richie took the stage to accept his award, thanking his family and his peers in the music industry. He then moved his attention to the “young superstars” in the room. “God has given you a light,” he said. “That light is special, that light is only given to a few. When you hear the word ‘hip,’ it means today. When you hear the word ‘inspiring,’ it means forever. If you get a chance to have that light on you, understand what God has in store.”
He continued, “He’s not trying to tell you that your car looks great, your clothes look great. He/she/mother/God is trying to tell you that you are chosen to inspire. Take this opportunity. That light is on you. Inspire.”
Richie now has 18 AMA wins to his name. The singer won his first AMA in 1979. He has sold more than 125 million albums to date and has scored 12 No. 1 hits.
Photos courtesy of ABC