- Janet is the first black woman ever to receive the Icon award
- Past award recipients include Prince, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez
- The 52-year-old gave a storming rendition of her 1986 mega-hit Nasty before sequining into her
- Janet was widely thought to have converted to Islam during her ill-fated five-year third marriage, to Muslim husband Wissam Al Mana
- However, the star clearly remains a committed Christian, using her thank you speech to pray for 'calmness' and thank God for her 'energy'
She's spent an incredible four decades in the public eye.
Yet Janet Jackson proved she's still got what it takes, as she made a very sexy return to the spotlight at Sunday night's Billboard Awards in Las Vegas.
The 52-year-old gave a storming rendition of her 1986 mega-hit Nasty and 1994's club smash Throb, in her first televised performance in more than a decade.
Dressed in a sparkling golden sweater, teamed with high heeled boots and suspenders, Janet's incredible post-baby figure (she welcomed son Eissa last year) was highlighted as she tore up the stage.
Th fast-paced highly choreographed routine looked exhausting, but proved no problem for the ever-youthful Janet.
Her energy proved infectious, bringing the star-studded audience - who included her mother Katherine - to their feet.
They were still chanting her name as she stepped forward to accept the prestigious Icon Award in recognition of her long career.
The first black woman ever to receive the Icon award, Janet explained that she saw a rosier future for those who had suffered discrimination.
Thanking her audience, Janet explained: 'I'm deeply humbled and grateful for this award. I believe that for all the challenges, for all our challenges we live in a glorious moment in history.
'It’s a moment when at long last woman have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated, or abused. I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind.'
Past award recipients include Prince, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez.
Raised a Jehovah's Witness, before breaking from the religion, Janet was widely thought to have converted to Islam during her ill-fated five-year third marriage, to Muslim husband Wissam Al Mana.
However from her words on Sunday, it was clear that she remains a committed Christian.
Janet said: 'My prayer is that weary of such noise we turn back to the source of infinite calmness. That source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance. Compassion, sensitivity, patience and a boundless love.'
And she added a personal prayer of her own.
'I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my live as an artist. Who every single day seeks to expand my capacity to love.'
Janet was introduced to the stage by Bruno Mars.
'The name Jackson represents artistic genius and iconic performance,' he said. 'The Jacksons are music royalty and the first family of entertainment.'
Best of friends: Bruno shared a selfie with Janet after the show finished
Support: Missy Elliott congratulated her friend after the show
He then listed Janet's multiple achievements, before a montage of her career followed.
Said Bruno: 'She’s a humanitarian. She’s a powerful woman. And she is the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award.'
After Janet performed, a kneeling Bruno then presented her with her trophy.
Earlier in the night, the superstar showed her fashionable side in a huge tulle skirt, flouncing out from her waist, which she teamed with a deceptively casual simple white T-shirt.
Belted at the waist, Janet's look was perfect for the Billboards, which is always a more fun night than the big Hollywood awards shows.
Jackson has been a dominant force on the Billboard charts for decades, thanks to hits including That's The Way Love Goes, I Get Lonely and All for You.
The multiplatinum superstar will kick off another leg of her State of the World Tour in June.
Want more content like this?
Top 5 is your sugar fix for celebrity, music and pop-culture from the Middle East? Watch and subscribe here.
Top 5 Ramdan Series Intro Songs of All Times
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.