R&B/funk veteran Rick James was the big winner at the ninth annual American Music Awards (January 25, 1982).
Rick James took home favorite Album/Soul/R&B Artist during the event, which took place in Los Angeles.
The “Punk Funk” creator’s album Street Songs edged out releases by The Gap Band, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder.
“I would like to thank the creator who brought me here, and my mother who is sitting here, who I give this award to,” Rick James said in a brief acceptance speech. “Mom I love you and I told you there’s such a thing called Rock and Roll, well now there’s a thing called ‘Funk & Roll.’”
Street Songs contains a number of Rick James’ best-known hits, including “Give It To Me Baby,” “Ghetto Life,” “Superfreak,” “Fire and Desire,” and others.
The award was significant for Rick James, who had been publicly speaking out against MTV, for their lack of black music programming on the new network.
Rick James was one of the first black artists to speak out against MTV for not featuring more African-American artists in their programming.
Eventually, the “Superfreak” video received airplay on MTV, paving the way for artists like Michael Jackson and Run-DMC.