The BET Awards promised to honor Michael Jackson – and the show delivered on Sunday night.
The show opened with a medley of songs from the star’s youth in the Jackson 5, performed by a reunited New Edition performing with former member Bobby Brown.
Host Jamie Foxx entered to Michael’s “Beat It,” wearing the singer’s trademark red zippered jacket from his “Thriller” years and a single white glove.
Joking about Michael’s shifting appearance over the years, Jamie said, “I loved the old nose and the new nose,” before calling attention to the music – and his status as a style icon.
“Lil Wayne, I know you had a glove,” he said, addressing the rapper in the crowd. “You might’ve had a gun in it, but you had a glove.”
“Who was the best?” Jamie added, to which the crowd thundered, “Michael!”
Jamie even attempted a Michael-style moonwalk across the stage, the singer’s signature move.
Artists continue to spotlight Michael throughout the show. Many thanked the star for his influence as they took the stage to present or accept an award, and among those performing his music were Ne-Yo, who sang “The Lady In My Life,” and Ciara, who did “Heal The World.”
Accepting the award for Best Female R&B Artist, Beyonce Knowles said, “This is for you, Michael Jackson. I have to thank Michael Jackson for being my teacher, my hero.”
“My entire family wanted to be here tonight. But it was just too painful,” the emotional star said. “So they elected me to speak with all of you and I’m going to keep it very short but I’d just like to say that to you, Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is family.”
And even before the awards show began, the stars paid tribute to the late singer, who died on Thursday.
“He was a compassionate, amazing man,” Arsenio Hall said. “When I left my talk show, he was the first person to call me… The only thing we need to know about him was, he was the King of Pop. His talent was undeniable.”
Taking home top honors at the show were Beyonce, who won Video of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and Best Female R&B artist, and T.I. featuring Rihanna, who won the Viewer’s Choice Award for “Live Your Life.” Ne-Yo won Best Male R&B Artist, while Lil Wayne won the award for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist.
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