It has been an emotional night for music’s elite — from Drake hugging his son on stage to Bad Bunny accepting his Top Latin Artist award all in Spanish — there were many heartfelt moments at the Billboard Music Awards on May 23. And fans also got the feels after Pop Smoke’s mom made an appearance. The rapper’s mother, Audrey Jackson, took to the Microsoft Theater stage to accept her son’s three awards — Top New Artist, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Male Artist, and Top Rap Album — more than a year after his death. Pop Smoke was just 20 when he was shot and killed during a home invasion robbery in Beverly Hills before his debut album’s release, according to ABC News. Five men, who were all under 20, targeted the rapper after they found his whereabouts via social media posts. They’ve all since been arrested for his murder, per the BBC.
Despite his tragic death, the artist — who was once described as being “destined for great things” — has had enduring success, with more than 615 million listens on Spotify for his huge song “For the Night.” During the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, his mom thanked fans for “honoring the life and spirit” of her son while highlighting the “irony” of his death, as he was a rapper who wrote about musical success in the face of adversity.
Pop Smoke's mom recognized her late son's roots
During a night full of cultural recognition, Pop Smoke’s mom also acknowledged her son’s identity while accepting his awards. “Good night to my American family and good night to my Caribbeans,” Jackson began. “Thank you to the fans for honoring the life and spirit of my son, so much that he continues to manifest as if he were still here in flesh,” she said.
Audrey Jackson subtly pointed out the “irony” of his death as someone who rapped about his own experiences with violence and brushes with the law, per The New York Times. “He created music for the kid who has to sleep four in a room, the kid who has to figure out how to get to school each day so he can graduate and make his mom proud. He did this so that 14 year olds would not have to kill to prove they are somebody.” Following her speech, fans got all teary-eyed on Twitter, saying how impactful her words were.
“When Pop Smoke’s mom accepted his award, ya girl was a MESS. RIP Pop Smoke,” one wrote while another said, “Pop Smoke’s mom accepted that award for him and she paid respect to his American and West Indian Roots. Respect.” Others sweetly suggested how happy he would have been that his mom witnessed his wins as one wrote, “All he wanted was to be able to take his mom to an award show. He did it and won an award! I’m such a proud stan.”
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