Among the anticipated moments during Sunday’s BET Awards: The return of Beyonce, the definitive Whitney Houston memorial and a welcome back to D’Angelo.
Making his first TV appearance in a dozen years, the Richmond, Va., native might be a bit huskier than his chiseled abs days of a decade ago, but he hasn’t lost his organic touch.
He started his performance with the famed “Untitled (How Does it Feel”) in an emotive voice, then slipped to the piano and turned on the funk. He’s been playing the new “Sugar Daddy” during shows overseas earlier this year and clearly has it honed. D ripped through a playful solo on the piano before hopping up to point out band members as his voice rose and fell during the song, which is a little bit James Brown, a little bit Prince and a lot of soul.
If you’re curious about D’Angelo’s lost decade, check out this excellent story in GQ.
A few moments later, Beyonce nabbed the award for Best Female R&B, saying, “I fell in love with music by listening to R&B,” and then dedicating the honor to Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and “Whitney Houston, my angel.”
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Nicki Minaj scooped up Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, beating Atlanta’s Diamond in the process.
Tyler Perry, wearing an all-white ensemble, also made a BET appearance to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. The iconic group is celebrating 35 years in the business (and coming to Chastain July 19).
Here are some more photos from last night’s show.
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene