Toni Braxton opened the show with a medley of her hits and told LA Reid how much she loved him during her set. She had LA Reid and Baby Face singing along with her as they sat in the audience. She came into the audience and sat on LA Reid’s lap finishing Breathe Again and said, “Hi LA I love you so much.” He said, “And I love you too.” She finished the song in his lap. Then hugged LA again and then hugged Baby Face.
Arsenio then took the stage with his signature hand pump.
He called out the BET honorees of the evening; LA Reid, Lee Daniels, Mellody Hobson, Eric Holder, and Patti LaBelle and said, “This is what extraordinary looks like.”
He then laminated the end of Obama’s presidency, “Obama’s going be gone y’all. They worked him so hard.” “Now he’s leaving office he’s 50 Shades of Grey y’all.” “Have you noticed how Black he’s getting.”
Arsenio said, we wondered who our next president is going to be? “We love Hillary.” “Hillary is like coco butter to Black folks.”
“If Trump wins gatherings like this will cease to exist. He’s going to take away everything Black.” “He’s going to build a wall around February.”
Mellody Hobson – Corporate Citizen Award
He then went into the program and introduced the first presenter, Janelle Monae. She introduced Mellody Hobson for the Corporate Citizen Award. After the video highlights of her Mellody’s career, Janelle called her to the stage to receive the her BET Honors Award to a standing ovation. “First of all I have to thank BET for this amazing honor. I am deeply touched.” She ended her acceptance speech with, “I married Yoda’s Dad,” referring to George Lucas, “And he tells me do or do not and I love him for that.”
Jussie Smollett was the next performer. He sang a song from Empire title Powerful and switched into Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror. He received a standing ovation.
Lee Daniels – Television and Film Award
Terrence Howard and Gabourey Sidibe were the next presenters to honor Lee Daniels with the Television and Film Award. After his in-depth video highlighting many of his cinematic accomplishments, Lee Daniel took the stage to receive his honor. He received a standing ovation and said, “I stand before you tonight a very grateful and humble Black man.” He honored Patti LaBelle for getting him off of drugs and she cried in the audience. He dedicated the award to his grandmother who would make people come out to vote and carried a gun. He said his grandmother told him, “You are a fagot, but it’s alright cause you’re gong to do great things.” He choked up as he finished his speech and thanked the audience.
Arsenio then introduced Mack Wilds as the next presenter for NIC, Next in Class 2016 for the students BET is honoring for their outstanding accomplishments.
Arsenio followed with honors to Natalie Cole and introduced a performance by Ledisi. She performed I’ve Got Love On My Mind followed by This Will Be. The audience stood and clapped to the beat through the entire song.
LA Reid – Business of Entertainment Award
Arsenio then introduced Usher who came to the stage to honor LA Reid, and said, “LA Reid what an amazing career.” He said he would let the music talk instead and began by performing, Rock Wit’ Cha, Macaroni, and We Belong Together. Usher followed with, “If you ain’t got a hit you ain’t shit.” And then sang, Leave the One I’m With. Usher then said to LA, “So many hits.” And he sang one his biggest hits, U Don’t Have To Call. The audience stayed on their feet through the whole song.
After that performance he introduced LA Reid’s video on his astounding career before LA came to the stage to receive his BET Honors Award for Business of Entertainment. He honored Toni Braxton for being their first, and he broke down when he mentioned Baby Face and said, “I love you.” He honored Debra Lee for her contribution to entertainment and thanked her for being incredible.
Arsenio introduced the next performer, Eddie Levert to honor Patti Labelle. He started by singing Patti’s song, Somebody Loves You Baby. He went into the audience and continued singing the song to her. He hugged her and finished the song.
Eric Holder – Public Service Award
Arsenio then came back to introduce Melissa Harris-Perry to honor Eric Holder for the BET Honors Public Service Award. After the video highlighting his distinguished career as the first African American United States Attorney General, Eric Holder came to the stage to accept the BET Honors Award.
He received a ovation and said, “I want to thank BET and Debra Lee for this honor.” Ms. Lee was in tears in the audience and nodded to the recognition.
He asked his children to stand in the audience, and then honored President Barack Obama. He said, “The right to vote is under siege and at all cost the right must be defended.” “I am humbled by this recognition … and all though I have left government service I will never ever leave the work.” “I dedicate this award to my Mom, to my Dad, and my brother William, thank you very much.”
Baby Face was next and introduced a performance with him and LA Reid playing the drums. Baby Face said, “We used to lay it down for the ladies in the 80’s” as he introduce their group called, The Deele with LA Reid playing the drums and Baby Face playing the guitar. They performed a song called, Body Talk.
Baby Face then sang I Only Think of You on Two Occasions. The audience went crazy and stood through the whole performance.
LA Reid can still play the drums and he killed it at the end of the performance.
Pattie LaBelle – Musical Arts Award
Then it was time for Patti LaBelle’s real tribute and Fantasia took the stage. She started by performing You Are My Friend. Patti gave her approval from the audience. You really have to be able to sing to get Patti’s approval. Patti then stood in the audience while Fantasia sang the song and the entire audience joined in. Fantasia killed it.
Arsenio then called Monica to the stage to continue the tribute to Patti LaBelle for the Musical Arts Award. She called her Auntie Patti as they threw to the highlights video of Patti LaBelle’s extraordinary career. Monica then called her to the stage to receive her BET Honors Award.
Patti LaBelle came to the stage to a rousing ovation. “I have been doing this for about 56 years, and I am 71 years young” as she thanked Debra Lee for the honor, and thanked her son Zuri.
Arsenio returned to honor Earth, Wind and Fire and Maurice White. The honor continued with Head to the Sky sang by Jazmine Sullivan followed by September. She was joined by Raheem DeVaughn who sang Shining Star.
The program ended with Arsenio and all the honorees of the evening stood on the stage with him holding their awards.
It was a great evening of celebration and honoring these astounding honorees.
Congratulations to the winners and congratulations to BET Honors.