Lionel Richie was honoured with the AMA Icon Award during the ceremony held on Sunday night, November 20th, 2022.
The legendary singer, 73, was presented with the award by Smokey Robinson, who has been a close friend to Richie for many years.
As Richie accepted the award, he thanked his children and colleagues and made a point of speaking directly to the “young superstars” gathered in the room so he could offer them advice.
Richie shared that only special people have the light shone on them and they should value it. “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.”
After the singer, 73, wrapped his speech, close friend Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth came on to the stage to honour the icon with a performance.
From Richie’s immense music catalogue, Wonder and Puth cherry-picked Commodores hits to Richie’s chart-topping solo hit singles for the performance. The camaraderie-filled duet – or as Puth termed it as “musical tennis match of Lionel Richie copyright” – included great masterpieces.
The two each took a turn playing a snippet of a Lionel Richie hit, showing the man’s impact throughout the decades. Wonder covered hits like Three Times a Lady, All Night Long (All Night), Brick House and Jesus Is Love.
Puth, meanwhile, handled songs like Easy and Say You, Say Me. Later on, the pair was joined by Robinson, Melissa Etheridge, Ari Lennox, Jimmie Allen, Yola, Dustin Lynch and Muni Long to recreate We Are the World.
Lionel couldn’t help himself and he jumped on stage and joined in too.
According to Rolling Stone, Richie is only the second artist to receive the American Music Awards’ Icon Award following Rihanna. A 17-time American Music Awards winner, Richie notably appeared at the 1987 AMAs with an army of all-star artists to perform We Are the World, his chart-topping charity single he co-wrote.