Mari Copeny, a 14-year-old environmental justice advocate who has already shown more social commitment than most people do in a lifetime, will receive the Changemaker Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards, to be held on May 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show, hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs, will air live coast-to-coast on NBC and will air live on Peacock.
Mari, who is often called Little Miss Flint for her efforts to bring attention to the water crisis in her hometown of Flint, Michigan, will be the third recipient of the Changemaker Award, following rapper, actor and activist Killer Mike and rapper and executive record holder Trae Tha Truth.
The Changemaker Honor is awarded to pop culture figures who speak truth to power through their commitment to individual action and leadership. The award was presented to the BBMAs in 2020, amid the national judgment on race and social justice that followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
“I’m thrilled to be honored by the Billboard Music Awards for my community efforts and commitment to bringing water issues to light in America,” Mari said. “I hope this inspires others to stand up for what is right, even when no one else is watching.”
Husband has his website, on which she describes herself as: “Philanthropist. Activist. future president. »
This last ambition may be bold, but you wouldn’t want to bet against it. Mari first came to national attention in 2016 when, at the age of 8, she wrote a letter to President Obama about the water crisis in Flint. On April 25, 2016, Obama responded, saying, “Letters from kids like you are what makes me so optimistic about the future.” Mari’s letter prompted the president to visit the city and investigate the water crisis on his own. This visit led him to approve $100 million in aid for the city of Flint.
Mari’s community work and successful crowdfunding campaigns have allowed her to raise over $250,000 and distribute over one million bottles of water to Flint residents.
To date, she has raised over $600,000 for her Flint Kids projects. These include distributing more than 17,000 backpacks full of school supplies, hosting community movie screenings, and hosting annual holiday events to deliver thousands of toys.
Mari has partnered with water filter company Hydroviv to donate and distribute its own high capacity lead filters to families and child-centric organizations in Flint. Every dollar raised for his filter provides the equivalent of 160 bottles of water. To date, she has raised $627,000 for her filters and shipped them all over the United States.
Mari was named to the U.S. delegation to the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, making her the youngest delegate ever selected.
Mari also served as Youth Ambassador for the Women’s March on Washington and Chair of the Kid Box Board of Directors in 2019. She is an active member of 18 x Eighteen, an initiative to inspire young people to vote once they are 18 years old. Mari is a member of the Michigan Department of Education’s Student Anti-Racism Advisory Council and a member of the Flint Youth Justice League, a Michigan State University advisory council responsible for advising on issues related to Flint’s children.
Mari expanded her efforts to help communities across the country deal with toxic water and helped the concepts of “environmental racism” and “toxic infrastructure” be better understood.
Mari has been featured in outlets such as Teen Vogue, The Guardian, VICE, TIME, Refinery 29, The Washington PostNBC News, Rewire and Buzzfeed.
Mari plans to run for president in 2044, the first presidential election after she turns 35 (the minimum age for president). “My generation will fix this mess of a government,” she says. “Look at us.”
Outside of her activism and giving back work, Mari is a college cheerleader and will be competing for Miss Michigan Teen USA in a few weeks.
The 2022 Billboard Music Awards are produced by MRC Live & Alternative. In addition to hosting the show, Sean “Diddy” Combs will also produce the show alongside Robert Deaton.
As previously announced, Mary J. Blige will receive the Billboard Icon Award and will also perform on the show. Other performers include Red Hot Chili Peppers (their first performance at the BBMAs since 1999), Silk Sonic (their first performance since winning four Grammys, including Record and Song of the Year) and Morgan Wallen (his first performance at an awards show since being banned from attending and performing at various ceremonies in 2021 after being filmed saying the N-word).
Also in attendance: Burna Boy, Latto, Florence + The Machine, Maxwell, Megan Thee Stallion and Rauw Alejandro. Additional performers and presenters will be announced in the coming days.
The BBMAs will broadcast live coast-to-coast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC and will air live on Peacock.
Nominations in 62 categories were announced on April 8. The Weeknd is the top nominee of the year, with 17 nominations. Doja Cat is the most nominated female artist with 14 nominations. BTS is the most nominated duo/group with seven nominations.
Unique among music awards shows, BBMA finalists are determined by performance on the Scoreboards, which have long been the most reliable guide to ranking the popularity of artists, songs, and albums. This year’s rewards are based on the chart period from April 10, 2021 to March 26, 2022.
Billboard Music Awards finalists and winners are based on top fan interactions with music, including digital album and song sales, streaming, radio airplay, and touring, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including Luminate.
Tickets to attend the show are open to the public. Prices per ticket start at US$90 and are available for purchase HERE. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT.
Billboard recently announced Billboard MusicCon, a one-of-a-kind event that will expand the awards show’s footprint through exclusive conversations, fan experiences, headline performances, and more. Visit www.billboardmusiccon.com for event details and tickets.
For the latest news on the Billboard Music Award (BBMAs), visit billboardmusicawards.com and billboard.com/bbma. For exclusive content and more, follow the BBMAs on social media (Twitter, Facebook, instagram, Snapchat, ICT Tac, Youtube) and join the conversation using the show’s official hashtag, #BBMAs.
The Billboard Music Awards are produced by MRC Live & Alternative, a division of MRC. MRC and Penske Media are co-parent companies of Billboard.