Billboard announced today it will honor Madonna with its 2016 Woman of the Year award. The seven-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and actress will receive the honor at the 11th annual Women in Music event, taking place December 9 in New York City, and airing nationally on Lifetime on December 12. Produced again by Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare of Don Mischer Productions, the star-studded event is held in conjunction with the publication of Billboard’s hotly anticipated Women in Music list, which identifies the 50 most powerful female executives in the industry each year.
“Madonna is one of a miniscule number of super-artists whose influence and career transcend music,” said Janice Min, president and chief creative officer of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group. “With her creative vision, relentless innovation, and dedication to philanthropic causes, she is an inspiration to hundreds of millions of people around the world, all while shattering every career record out there. She is an important feminist on top of that, a one-of-a-kind artist who’s used her influence to change the conversation around women, sexuality and equal rights.”
Over the past year, Madonna made music-industry headlines: embarking on her massive 82-show Rebel Heart tour, extending her own record as the highest-grossing female touring artist of all time, turning heads at the Met Gala in Givenchy, delivering her moving tribute to Prince alongside Stevie Wonder at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and giving a viral performance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”
As part of her work promoting peace, health, equality and education, Madonna founded Raising Malawi in 2006. Raising Malawi is currently constructing Malawi’s first pediatric surgery and intensive care unit which will double the number of life-saving surgeries performed on children each year, provide intensive care after critical surgeries and train specialized Malawian medical staff. The facility, which will be called the Mercy James Institute of Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, will open in 2017. In addition to her work with Raising Malawi, Madonna supports philanthropic projects around the world through her private foundation, the Ray of Light Foundation. Focused primarily on women and children, Madonna currently funds education, health and women’s empowerment projects in Afghanistan, Haiti, Kenya, Mali, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines and in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
“Madonna is an extraordinary artist, emblematic of the strength, courage and resilience that Lifetime celebrates, and we are thrilled to offer our platform to recognize her in every way she deserves,” said Liz Gateley, EVP and Head of Programing for Lifetime. “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Billboard and bring this powerful event directly to our viewers.”
With more than $1.3 billion earned from her groundbreaking concert tours over the years, as reported to Billboard Boxscore, Madonna reigns as the highest-grossing female touring artist of all time. She also holds the record for the most top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with 38. Madonna has had more No. 1s on the Dance Club Songs chart, 46, than any other artist, and with that total, she also has the most No. 1s any artist has achieved on any single Billboard chart. Finally, the pop superstar has earned 21 top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, including her most recent effort, Rebel Heart.
Billboard’s Woman of the Year award has become one of the music industry’s highest honors. Previous artists named Woman of the Year include Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Pink and Katy Perry. Last year, Lady Gaga was honored with the Woman of the Year award at the 2015 Women in Music event, where she brought down the house with a conversation-generating performance of “Till It Happens to You,” in tribute to survivors of sexual assault. Last year’s event also included Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Lana Del Rey, Brittany Howard, Missy Elliot and Loretta Lynn.
Additional Billboard 2016 Women in Music honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.
Billboard magazine has scored major news-generating covers recently including Kim Kardashian, The Chainsmokers, Nick Jonas & Demi Lovato and Shawn Mendes.