Cyndi Lauper Accepts Icon Award at Billboard Women in Music 2018: "Sisterhood Is a Powerful Thing"

Bennett Raglin/Getty Images
Cyndi Lauper

"I always get asked, 'what does it feel like to be an icon?' I didn't know how to answer that. See now?," the singer said while accepting the award during Thursday night's ceremony.

After a soul-stirring rendition of "Time After Time" by Tituss Burgess at Billboard's 2018 Women In Music event on Thursday night in New York City, Cyndi Lauper took the stage to accept the Icon Award.

Lauper opened by thanking Dua Lipa, who presented her with the honor, telling Lipa that she'd be "standing here one day." She also thanked Billboard, pointing out, "I've been working with you guys all my life."

As all good orators do, Lauper opened with a joke. "I always get asked, 'What does it feel like to be an icon?' I didn't know how to answer that. See now?" she said, grabbing her Icon Award from Lipa, "I can hand them this and say, 'Here, hold this.'"

Lauper then took us back to the 1980s. "When I was starting, they [labels] had quotas of women they would sign," she recalled. "I actually did a showcase and the guy said to me, 'Well, we got Debbie [Harry], Patti [Smith] — we got our quota of women.' That's where it was. I guess it's kind of still like that, but you [fellow honorees] are kicking down doors and that is awesome. I strongly believed my whole life that sisterhood is a powerful thing. … We need to share our stories and stick together and promote each other. I stand on the shoulder of women who came before me, as you guys are standing on mine and others will come and stand on yours."

Lauper also paid tribute to the late executive Polly Anthony, whom she credited with ensuring "True Colors" got radio play in 1986 despite initial indifference from DJs. Anthony later became president of Epic Records from 1997-2003.

"To all the women, please remember — we shouldn't be against each other, we should help each other," Lauper concluded.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com