Traditionally, the ceremony is held in February, Black History Month. But snowzilla hit, pushing it into March. BET HONORS began in 2008 to recognize African Americans who excel in such varied fields as business, entertainment, film or public service.
This year’s awards went to:
Lee Daniels (TV and Film) – Director of The Butler, among others and creator of the hit TV series, Empire; Eric Holder (Public Service) – former US Attorney General; Mellody Hobson (Corporate Citizen); Patti LaBelle (Music Arts) – iconic singer with over 50 million albums sold worldwide; L.A. Reid (Excellence in Entertainment) – CEO of Epic Records who launched the careers of several musical talents, such as Jermaine Jackson, P!NK and Outkast.
Honoring them, a slew of celebrities whose lives and careers they touched, took to the stage. Among them were Toni Braxton and Usher, discovered by L.A. Reid, Jussie Smollet, star of the series, Empire, created by Lee Daniel, Janelle Monae, acknowledging the advice she got from businesswoman, Mellody Hobson and Monica Brown, still floored by Patti LaBelle’s astounding talent.
I was privileged to interview the honorees and those closest to them. You can see it all on BET this Sunday.
The host for the evening was Arsenio Hall (Coming to America, Harlem Nights, Black Dynamite) and it took place in the famous Warner Theater in Washington D.C., not only the US capital but the historically Black city where Martin Luther King, Jr. made his immortal I have a dream speech – the dream to see all talents recognized with racial distinction.