Last night (Feb. 23), BET aired their 8th annual BET Honors ceremony, honoring African American figures of inspiration and influence.
The honorees this year were Phylicia Rashad, Kanye West, Usher, John W. Thompson, and Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole. The event was hosted by Wayne Brady.
1. Quite possibly the most talked-about moment of the night was Kanye West’s speech while accepting his Visionary Award.
“I think I, maybe for one of the first times in my life understand how it is to feel humbled,” he began, eliciting some laughter from the audience.
He then touched on his marriage to a woman “not of color,” making a joke about Kim Kardashian’s previous relationships that left me feeling deeply awkward on her behalf. She couldn’t do anything but laugh.
“We deal with racism, because there are different races. Or the micro of it is that we focus on the different races, as opposed to the macro, which is the human race,” he said.
I will say that his speech was insightful–surprisingly so, if I’m honest.
2. Legendary songstress Patti LaBelle paid her tribute to the honorees with what she does best. She performed a soul-moving version of “All Good Things Will Be Added Unto You” with a choral backing, proving that her level of talent just never wavers, not even after all these decades.
3. Usher accepted the Musical Arts Award, giving a heartfelt speech about his background and the kids who are struggling today the same way he once did.
He extended some touching compliments to a fellow honoree, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, emphasizing the importance of education in order for everyone to be the best versions of themselves. He praised Phylicia Rashad for being a mother to everyone, both onscreen and off.
He also confirmed his engagement to his partner, Grace Miguel.
4. Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole accepted the Education Award. She has served as President of the nation’s two historically black colleges for women, Spellman College and Bennett College.
Her speech was warm and even humorous at times. She served as an inspiration just by standing on that stage for four minutes, and for all she’s done for this country, she deserves to be mentioned and definitely deserved that award.
5. One man’s presence at the ceremony caused a bit of an uproar on social media. Bobby Brown, father of Bobbi Kristina Brown, was in attendance. Bobbi Kristina is currently still in a hospital, where she has been in a coma since earlier this month. Tweets poured in, ranging from outrage that he was at an award ceremony instead of beside his daughter, to some respect that he took the time to attend despite the circumstances.
This, of course, is a prime example of ignorance being destructive. The Honors, although traditionally televised during Black History Month, are pre-taped in January. Bobby attended before his daughter was hospitalized.
We here at THZ are, of course, still praying and hoping for a complete recovery for Bobbi Kristina.
If you missed the 2015 BET Honors, you can catch up during the encore on Thursday night (Feb. 26) at 8 pm EST.