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Karol G Makes Billboard History as First Latina to Win Woman of the Year Award: ‘Watch How a Woman Does It’

Over the last few years, Karol G‘s name has become synonymous with chart-topping hits, electrifying performances, and empowering anthems. This year, her reign continues as she’s awarded Billboard’s 2024 Woman of the Year.

Sofía Vergara and Karol G at Billboard Women In Music 2024 held at YouTube Theater on March 6, 2024 in Inglewood, California. Photo Credit: Chris Polk/PMC

On March 6, the Medellín native made history as the first Latina to win the accolade since its inception. In 2022, she won Billboard’s “Rule Breaker” award.

“This is the first time, ever, a Latina is named woman of the year,” Karol G said upon receiving the award from Sofía Vergara. “And so, in honor of that incredible feat.”

This recognition comes after a whirlwind year for the Colombian singer. In 2023, Karol G released a history-making album that solidified her place as a global force. The record’s success propelled her to embark on a momentous stadium tour, captivating audiences worldwide. She further cemented her status as a music powerhouse by headlining the iconic Lollapalooza festival, launching Bichota Records, and establishing the Con Cora Foundation.

Earlier this year, the artist made waves, winning her first-ever Grammy and becoming the first woman to win the best música urbana category.

Karol G took center stage at the Billboard Women in Music Awards

After a rousing performance of “Amargura,” the Bichota gave an emotional speech in Spanish upon receiving the ” Woman of the Year” award.

“I have to start first by telling you that for years and years, I lived very disappointed with the fact of being a woman,” she said. “I found myself on the road with so many rejections and so many lost opportunities. Because of that, I wondered why I was not born a man to exploit all this love, this desire and passion I felt for music.”

She continued, “Where would all this desire I had to eat the world have gone if it was assumed that, as a woman, I could not achieve it? For a long time, I believed that story. I believed that this was not for me. So many times I was told that I could not make it and I always think of the number of people who leave their dreams behind and leave their dreams aside for that reason, for the perception of others but not for the real dream they have and the desire they have inside.”

However, Karol did not give up despite facing rejection in the music industry.

“Amidst my desire, of wanting to make music even if it was just for me, I decided that if my environment did not change. I was the one who had to change and I was the one who was going to do it. I wasn’t going to let being a woman be an obstacle or define my capabilities. It was going to be my strength, it was going to be my motive and my reason.”

Adding, “And every time I was told no, I found the strength and the desire and everything I needed to say yes I can. In my mind I changed the ‘a woman can’t do it’ to ‘look at this woman how she does it, watch how a woman does it.'”

La Bichota credits her success to “three fundamental things”

During her speech, the “Mañana sera bonito” star dished on three essentials she says were functional to her success.

The first was to stop “trying to be perfect for everyone.” Karol claims she stopped “hiding everything others saw as imperfections and embraced them as my best qualities.”

Then, she started ignoring people’s comments on how her success and crediting them to others. “You don’t have to give explanations to anyone when you know how hard you’ve worked to get what you have in life. “

Finally, she said she learned she didn’t need to earn other’s respect, but her own. “To the point of looking at myself in the mirror and admiring the person I’ve become. Studying, working, working out and preparing myself to be the best. So that when I saw myself I could say ‘wow, she’s so big, so strong.'”

But her final piece of advice to everyone after the last 16 years is to “follow their hearts.”