Congresswoman Maxine Waters attends the Black Girls Rock! Awards at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) (Associated Press)

NEWARK, N.J. — Fiery Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters was welcomed like a contemporary rock star when she entered the 2017 Black Girls Rock Awards, as the audience screamed loudly and gave her the night’s rowdiest and wildest applause.

Waters was one of the honorees Saturday at the annual event honoring black women in fields such as entertainment, politics, science and social justice. The 78-year-old matched the energy of the audience at the New Jersey Performing Art Center in Newark with a punchy and moving speech, which featured her catch phrase “reclaiming my time.”

“I want you to know, if it was not for the love and respect shown to me by black women, those right-wing ultra conservatives … they would have me believe I’m too black, I’m too confrontational, I’m too tough, and I’m too disrespectful of them,” she said. “But now I know I’m simply a strong, black woman.”

“I don’t care how big you are, I don’t care how high you are, if you come…