Mariah Carey Billboard Music Awards 2019 memes

Billboard Music Awards/YouTube

Mariah Carey talks memes during Billboard speech, launches more of them

Even Taylor Swift got in on the action.


Trixie Reyna

Internet Culture

Posted on May 2, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 1:30 pm CDT

Mariah Carey was honored with the icon award at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) Wednesday night. While the singer’s performance made a lot of audience members feel all sorts of emotions, it was her acceptance speech that truly stole the show—and won on Twitter.

One of the most decorated divas in the history of recorded music” performed a medley of her hits, which included “Always Be My Baby,” “Emotions, “We Belong Together,” and “Hero” (all of which were No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100) and “A No No” from her most recent album, Caution. She was the first female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and went on to have six No. 1 albums. She also has 15 of these awards to her name and scored 18 No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.

After wishing her twins in the audience a happy birthday, Carey began her speech saying, “Thank you Billboard for letting me grow up on the charts with you and for this incredible honor.”

Twitter user @jaspyology was quick to call out this moment, saying “Mariah let y’all know she ‘grew up on the charts.’ Did y’all catch that?!”

The elusive chanteuse talked about how she “always felt like an outsider,” and how she “dedicated my life to my music, my saving grace.” She also gave a shoutout to her fans, “who lifted me out of the depths of hell and brought me back with their devotion and love.” She concluded her speech saying, “And to anyone who’s ever told me that a song I wrote helped save their life, I thank you because you saved mine.”

The overall endearing and inspiring speech was punctuated with jokes and hilarious self-ribbing delivered in classic diva fashion, complete with side-eyes and fluttering hands and lashes. “Without getting into all the drama, all the ups and downs of my career—we’ve all seen them; we all make mistakes; there’s been a few memes,” she quipped.

Twitter user @msciang reacted, saying “Mariah referencing her own memes is the best kind of meta.”

Here’s Carey’s BBMAs acceptance speech that will leave you laughing, screaming, crying, and feeling empowered like only a true icon could.

New Mariah meme

Unwittingly, the singer just gave Twitter the golden opportunity to meme her again—before she even began her speech. The guffaw-inducing moment happened after she took the award from presenter Jennifer Hudson: She wiped her eyes with the sheet of tissue she was holding, seemingly asked Hudson where she can put it before she began her speech, and not getting a response, nonchalantly threw the used tissue on the BBMA stage.

The icon was quick to acknowledge the meme on Twitter: “Toss the tissue  is the new drop the mic.”

Twitter user @Murtaza_Murad captioned it best: “Mariah Carey wiping her tears and throwing the tissue on the Billboard Music Awards stage is already iconic.”

Fans couldn’t get over how the “true legend” gave “zero fucks.”

The moment was used for more Carey tributes, like this one from @iskinnylegendz, who said “This woman earned her success by writing & singing her own songs for decades. She’s still here singing like no other & deserves nothing but happiness.”

Apart from sharing the iconic moment, fans also reacted with memes of their own. “The way Mariah Carey tossed that Kleenex before her speech. She really is that bitch,” @DanikaAutumn tweets along with an old photo of Carey.

@iskinnylegendz thinks “Mariah threw that tissue like it was JLo.”

Carey’s tissue-throwing move became a mood, basically.

Carey’s fandom, the Lambs, are well-represented in Twitter memes, too.

Taylor Swift stanning Mariah becomes a mood

Members of the BBMAs audience, which included a lot of big music acts, were spotted by the camera singing and dancing to Carey’s performance. However, no one was more engaged than Taylor Swift was, and fans were quick to notice. “Taylor Swift applauding Mariah Carey? My rights were truly given to me today,” tweeted @panicatIove.

Swift’s wide array of emotions—from happily dancing to tearfully singing along and later screaming “We love you” during Carey’s speech—became everyone’s mood on Twitter.

Fans were quick to use Taylor stanning Carey as a meme, too.

Apart from Swift, members of K-pop boy band BTS were also seen on cam “jamming” to Carey.

Members of the BTS ARMY even made fun of themselves with a BTS GIF after Carey’s performance. “Armys after getting emotional to mariah’s performance but then gotta get ready to hype BTS,” quips @starryjimini. (Incidentally, BTS became the first Korean act to bring home the top duo/group award at the BBMAs. The septet also won top social artist for the third time in a row.)

Here’s the full list of BBMA winners.

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*First Published: May 2, 2019, 8:32 am CDT