Rihanna and Monica Braithwaite
11/24/2013 AT 10:45 PM EST
It was Rihanna
's night at the American Music Awards
Sunday, but one person momentarily stole the show: her mom.
Monica Braithwaite touchingly presented Rihanna with the first-ever icon award during the awards show, exuding sweet parental pride as she shed light on her daughter's rise to fame.
"Rihanna, I am so proud of you tonight," she said as the singer lovingly held her hand. "I know the journey in your career has not always been an easy one, but tonight I applaud you and admire you for being so strong and so positive and so humble and so focused."
Braithwaite also shared that the Barbados-bred "Diamonds" singer, 25, apparently does not take her success for granted.
"It's amazing how you always manage to take good from all your experiences. I am so blessed to be a part of this historic moment," she said before handing over the award.
A few moments later, Rihanna amusingly paid tribute to her mom, whom she said was initially skeptical about her daughter's passion.
"About 20 years ago is when I first started making your life a living hell with my annoying like husky 'man voice,' you would call it," she said as she shot her mom a sideways glance.
Rihanna then thanked her mom for making a leap of faith when the singer was 15 and had an opportunity to start her music career, even though her mom thought she should finish school first.
"I literally begged and pleaded and she finally said yes," Rihanna said with a smile. "And I thank you and we all thank you for that yes because that was the beginning of it all."