WDAS held its first Women of Excellence Luncheon Saturday at First District Plaza. The event honored 10 women, including R&B singer Mary J. Blige. The queen of hip-hop soul was presented with the WDAS Trailblazing Woman of Excellence Award for her commitment to service and her foundation’s work with women.

An emotional Blige accepted the award from Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, saying, “It’s an honor to receive this Woman of Excellence Trailblazer Award. Twenty years ago when I stepped into this business, I had no idea that I would blaze a trail, inspire people and help women to live their dream in the music business.

“The Woman of Excellence Award is a huge honor and a huge responsibility, and I will continue to work hard toward excellence,” she continued. “... The excellence you see in me is God giving me the strength in my trials to be resilient and bounce back — giving me the courage to express myself and be honest about the truth of who I really am. To hurt, to laugh, to cry and smile and be touchable to my fans and to people. To forgive and to love myself.”

Moving forward, this special award, renamed in Blige’s honor, will be presented annually, according to iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of Urban Programming Derrick Corbett.

The luncheon concluded with performances by singers Kenny Lattimore, Johnny Gill and Tamar Braxton.

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