As a member of the Spice Girls, Mel B has performed in front of massive crowds, had number one records and received numerous awards. But in a May 4 ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the former Spice Girl received a very special honor from the royal family. Mel was named an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her service to victims of domestic violence.
The MBE is the third highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award, a title of honor recognizing people for their bravery or service. M.I.A. and Adele have both been appointed MBE. Actors Naomie Harris and David Oyelowo have been appointed OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). The OBE is the second highest ranking award.
The former Spice Girl accepted her honor from Prince William at the New Year Honours ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The May 4 ceremony is the first at the palace since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Mel dedicated her award to the women she has met through the charity Women’s Aid, which works to end violence against women and children across England. She also starred in a four-minute film about domestic abuse, called Love Should Not Hurt. “I thought about all the women I’ve met over the past few years who have been through terrible situations, women who have died, women who are still suffering,” she told The Sun.
Mel has been open about her own experience with abuse. She ended a 10-year marriage with film producer Stephen Belafonte in 2017. And in her 2018 memoir “Brutally Honest,” Mel B details physical, sexual, verbal and financial abuse she endured throughout their relationship. Belafonte denies the claims. Mel had filed for divorce in March 2017, saying that she was the victim of ‘multiple physical beatings at the hands of her husband.”
Mel’s relationship with her mother Andrea has been strained since the pop star married Belafonte in a 2007 secret Las Vegas wedding and renewed their vows the following year. Rumors swirled around at the time that Belafonte was keeping Mel’s relatives from contacting her and her children.
After Mel’s announced her 2017 divorce, Andrea tweeted,
Have 2 b thankful my daughter alive after 10yrs of worry she's finely safe#more important than money🌈
— Andrea Brown (@ANDREA_m_BROWN) July 15, 2017
Andrea attended the May 4 ceremony with her daughter.