By Lea Michelle Cash
Los Angeles, CA—It was a brief few moments in time, which stood still as a magnificent voice of a mother, Cissy Houston sang tribute to her late daughter, Whitney Houston as an emotional highlight on Sunday, July 1 at the BET Awards held at the legendary Shine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Whitney’s brother, Gary, Brandy, Monica, Mariah Carey and the cast of Waiting to Exhale graced the stage as well to remember Whitney, but the stage belonged to Cissy.
She sang Simon and Garfunkel’s unforgettable song, Bridge Over Trouble Water and by the time, she had reached the lyrics, “Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way. See how they shine…” tears from those in the audience and backstage were falling everywhere. A beautiful performance was rendered from a heart not yet healed regarding a precious daughter gone too soon. This emotional moment will go down in time as a Black Entertainment Television classic.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson hosted the three- hour telecast this year. There were performances by Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Pusha T, Big Sean and several others. The show remembered the late Don Cornelius and Dick Clark. Chante Moore performed a short medley of Donna Summer’s hits in remembrance of her as well. Kanye West and his G.O.O.D music collaboration kicked off the show. The first award of the night, for the Best Group went to Jay-Z and Kanye’s The Throne. This year’s Humanitarian Award presented by State Farm went to Reverend Al Sharpton.
The electric star-studded evening produced another highlight—the honoring of Frankie Beverly and Maze. This was a musical tribute long overdue. Maze received the Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award. The telecast premieres a video montage of the legendary performer’s forty-year career with Tyrese, Joe and Faith Evans singing the soul groups’ classics. After receiving their award, and acknowledging a member of the group “McKinley “Bug” Williams” passing on, they then took over the stage and performed two songs.
Many awards were passed out to deserving Black entertainers as the evening featuring old school, Hip Hop, gospel and R& B music took center stage. The winners were: Best Group — The Throne (Kanye West & Jay-Z); Best Actor — Kevin Hart; Best New Artist – Big Sean; Best Male R&B Artist — Chris Brown; Best Collaboration — Wale ft. Miguel; Best Gospel — Yolanda Adams; Best Female R&B Artist — Beyonce; Best Female Hip Hop Artist — Nicki Minaj; Video Of The Year — “Otis” by Kanye West & Jay-Z; Viewers’ Choice Award –Mindless Behavior; Video Director of The Year — Beyonce & Alan Ferguson; and Fandemonium Award — Chris Brown.