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Whitney Houston tribute the heart of BET Awards

Cissy Houston provided the emotional centerpiece of the show with a tribute to her daughter. Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Cissy Houston provided the emotional centerpiece of the show with a tribute to her daughter. Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

More than four months later, Whitney Houston is still stealing the show.

Sure, the Sunday BET Awards featured hashtag-worthy performances from Nicki Minaj and D’Angelo (for very different reasons) and awards bestowed upon Kanye West and Jay-Z, Minaj and, uh, Mindless Behavior.

A highlight in the highly bleeped show included Jay-Z’s amusing acceptance speech with West, as he jokingly interrupted the rapper when he started to speak. “Excuse me, Kanye. I’m gonna let you continue, but…” Jay said, laughing, a reference to West’s infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s MTV Video Music Awards speech a few years ago.

But the undeniable emotional core of the three-hour-40-minute show was the third hour tribute to Houston, designed to be the definitive act of closure from the music industry.

Mariah Carey first emerged from behind a set of sliding doors to talk about her relationship with Houston and how, despite the general assumption that the divas were enemies, they were actually good pals.

“I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice and laughter,” Carey said with a catch in her throat. “But we’ll always have the music. We’ll always have that voice we all fell in love with. We’ll always have my friend, Miss Whitney Houston.”

Carey didn’t sing, though, leaving the first slot to Atlanta native Monica, who unleashed a powerful “I Love the Lord,” a song Houston recorded with the Georgia Mass Choir for “The Preacher’s Wife” soundtrack. Houston pal Brandy took over next with a sweet and spunky run through of “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

And despite appearances from others including Angela Bassett, Houston’s brother Gary and Chaka Khan (performing, obviously, “I’m Every Woman”), the most riveting moment came when Houston’s mother, Cissy, clutching a tissue, sang the sad opening lines of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Look! Kanye is smiling! Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Look! Kanye is smiling! Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

What was your favorite part of the BET Awards?

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The gospel legend threw every ounce of heartbreak and emotion into the song, which she performed in front of a portrait of the pair.

Why this segment – and Cissy Houston’s portion in particular – wasn’t the finale of the show is a mystery.

But the ceremony rumbled on for another half hour with awards handed out to Mindless Behavior (the Viewers’ Choice award); Beyonce and Alan Ferguson (Video Director of the Year); and Chris Brown again (for the Fandemonium award).

What did you think of the show?

Here are some links to earlier posts about the ceremony and a list of key winners.

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

34 comments Add your comment

Mike Hunt

July 2nd, 2012
1:17 am

Vick for MVP


July 2nd, 2012
4:07 am

Wtf was the Bet awards show. I can’t believe no Estelle, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott. The station and show is totally geared toward the teenagers. I could not watch the show with my kids because almost every song performed is bleeped out. You get tired of the same old stuff. Bet sucks.


July 2nd, 2012
5:26 am

I loved the tribute to Whitney Houston. A classy tribute for an extremely classy lady. I thought all the performances for the tribute were wonderful, but the one that stands out the most was Cissy Houston. I don’t know how she got through it, but she did. God bless the Houston family!! And may Whitney (THE VOICE) RIP!


July 2nd, 2012
6:44 am

It put me to SLEEP!


July 2nd, 2012
6:51 am

D’Angelo was great, Frankie Beverly was good, Chris Brown good and tribute to Whitney Houston great. The show is severely lacking in the Neo-Soul category.


July 2nd, 2012
7:32 am

The best part was the end. They definitely could have used more Frankie Beverly…lots more!


July 2nd, 2012
7:48 am

WOW!!! Know your singers before posting, that was not Monica!!!!! It was Brandy!!!!!


July 2nd, 2012
7:50 am

Oops! Sorry!!! Commented on wrong page….SORRY!!!


July 2nd, 2012
8:52 am

Again..Yes Whitney Houston WAS a talent HOWEVER, she was also a drug user who wasted her GOD GIVEN talent into nothing,married a “loser” man and raised a daughter in a house full of issues that required law enforcement, and now her daughter seems to have problems as well. So in reality WHITNEY was no better than many of the people out there in the world. If in fact WORSE since she was originally so close to GOD. So why do we INSIST on giving honors to these types of people and RAISE them up to our children? The values we place are so wrong. LOOK at a persons ENTIRE LIFE and decide if they DESERVE tribute in DEATH. She didn’t turn her life around! She died the same way she lived..SAD…

Dirlene Rangel Moura

July 2nd, 2012
8:53 am

Whitney é e sempre será a melhor cantora e voz mais linda do mundo. Talento, técnica, carisma, beleza e voz inigualável, Deus só deu a Whitney Elizabeth Houston, nosso Anjo do Amor. Nunca haverá outra cantora como ela. Ouço suas músicas todos os dias e nunca a esquecerei. Amo você Whitney!!!!!!

Former Good Day Atlanta fan!!

July 2nd, 2012
8:57 am

The best part of the show was the Whitney Houston Tribute. I also liked the House Husbands of Hollywood skit, and the Frankie Beverly Tribute. Overall, it was a good show this year.


July 2nd, 2012
9:05 am

Whitney’s tribute was the best hands down! The foul language was not necessary.


July 2nd, 2012
9:36 am


WHY Tribute??

July 2nd, 2012
9:38 am

The tribute was amazing and just as Whitney was. EVERYONE has personal problems (even you)so get over yourself, too early for the negativity..

Welcome back D’Angelo!!

Why Tribute?

July 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

The Whitney Tribute was the best and well deserved. Don’t trash Whitney because of her illness even if it was her fault. She was an icon who inspired many to sing. What if some of your failures were international news? Maybe you would keep your mouth shut. So you need to look at her entire life. She did more positive than negative. She opened doors for many, paid for a young lady’s cancer treatment, fought for human rights in South Africa, and gave/raised millions for charity. Can you top that? I didn’t think so. RIP Whitney Houston!


July 2nd, 2012
11:04 am

I enjoyed the entire show, especially the Whitney Houston tribute. RIP Whitney, you are and always will be missed.

Steff in the ATL

July 2nd, 2012
11:57 am

WOW, some of you folks on here are so mean and full of hatred. Though I am no fan of rap, there was other really great performances. To mention: Chris Brown and Usher just ripped it and of course those two always do. Sorry, I couldn’t understand what Nikki M., and others were saying in their music. Maybe because I didn’t grow up w/rap music. My mom wasn’t a fan so we didn’t hear much of it. Not knocking it at all. The tribute to Whitney was nice. Brandy really did a great job. It was great to see Whitney’s mother Ms. Cissy. All the beautiful dresses and the men really rocked their suits. Not a fan of the pants hanging down. Just unclassy and unnecessary. We can do better. Such great talent in the room. Usher and Chris B. are my favs they are the closest I see to Michael Jackson. Beyounce was beautiful as always. Melanie Fiona is always a class act and Angela Bassett rocked. This lady looks so great every time you see her. Her hair and dress was stunning. Would have loved to see Ne-yo perform and Michael Ely present an award. He’s so darn cute.


July 2nd, 2012
12:06 pm

I normally do not watch awards shows, because I don’t care who gets an award. Last night my wife was watching so I watched with her kinda. Here’s my take on the parts that I saw.
D’angelo how does it feel was ok, second song OUTSTANDING.
Maze tribute and their perfomance OUTSTANDING.
Maybach music could have stayed at home.
Not a Nikki fan but she was good.
I actually liked the new acts that took them into the commercial breaks.
Remember the camera adds 10 pounds…So Kerry Washington may need a cheesburger or two in her life.
that’s all i saw

Tanesha N

July 2nd, 2012
1:14 pm

Do anyone have comments on the voice i can explain…i think


July 2nd, 2012
1:24 pm

Awards show for racists! Black racists.

Tanesha N

July 2nd, 2012
1:30 pm

no i wouldn’t say racist, but a proud moment.

Steff in the ATL

July 2nd, 2012
1:32 pm

Really jerry, what about the “Oscars” award show for who?? Right!!! So when blacks do what YALL have been doing for decades now its racist. Please, get the beam out of your own eyes.


July 2nd, 2012
4:27 pm

When was Whitney Houston billed as the ‘VOICE’. After she died?


July 2nd, 2012
6:47 pm

List of black Oscar winners:
Here is a list of all African American Oscar winners as of 2010 (acting awards are bold):
Hattie McDaniel, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Gone With the Wind (1939).
James Baskett, Honorary Award “for his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to the children of the world in Walt Disney’s Song of the South” (1946).
Sidney Poitier, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Lilies of the Field (1963).
Isaac Hayes, Best Music, Original Song for “Theme from Shaft” from Shaft (1971).
Louis Gossett, Jr., Best Actor in a Supporting Role for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982).
Irene Cara, Best Music, Original Song for “Flashdance…What a Feeling” from Flashdance (1983).
Prince, Best Music, Original Song Score for Purple Rain (1984).
Stevie Wonder, Best Music, Original Song for “I Just Called to Say I Loved You” from The Woman in Red (1984).
Lionel Richie, Best Music, Original Song for “Say You, Say Me” from White Nights (1985).
Herbie Hancock, Best Music, Original Score for ‘Round Midnight (1986).
Willie D. Burton, Best Sound for Bird (1988).
Denzel Washington, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Glory (1989).
Russell Williams II, Best Sound for Glory (1989) [shared with Donald O. Mitchell, Gregg Rudloff, and Elliot Tyson].
Whoopi Goldberg, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Ghost (1990).
Russell Williams II, Best Sound for Dances With Wolves (1990).
Cuba Gooding, Jr., Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Jerry Maguire (1996).
Halle Berry, Best Actress in a Leading Role for Monster’s Ball (2001).
Denzel Washington, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Training Day (2001).
Sidney Poitier, Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award “for his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence.” [awarded at the 2002 Academy Awards Ceremony]
Jamie Foxx, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Ray (2004).
Morgan Freeman, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, and Paul Beauregard [aka Three 6 Mafia], Best Music, Original Song for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from Hustle & Flow (2005).
Forest Whitaker, Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Last King of Scotland (2006).
Jennifer Hudson, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Dreamgirls (2006).
Willie D. Burton, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing for Dreamgirls (2006).
Mo’Nique, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire (2009).
Geoffrey Fletcher, Best Adapted Screenplay for Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire (2009).


July 2nd, 2012
6:51 pm

There have been many black Oscar winners. Just google it.
I don’t know of any white person getting a BET award.

Ron Belyea

July 2nd, 2012
9:18 pm

I think the Tribute for Whitney was great Her Mother Sissy Housten And her Brother’s performance one of the best in the show. RIP whitney


July 3rd, 2012
9:23 am

Ok WhyTribute…what did she ever do to you?! We’ve all made mistakes…some worse than Whitney’s…It was a tribute to her music, not to how she used drugs. It’s really sad when people have to say things like that…and how do you know what her daughter is into? Do you know her personally? Whitney may have destroyed her God given talent but that was her business, but she didn’t hurt YOU! If you don’t care to watch, then just dont!


July 3rd, 2012
3:08 pm

Let’s not kick a “sis” when she is down nor brother..Whitney had problems and was a drug addicts god bless her soul. Her music still rings in my ears as clear as the vison of sitting in my college dorm room on a cold Saturday afternoon. She will be missed dearly!

ps…….Paying tribute and honor to someones talent does not make you praise their faults, we all have them.

God Bless!

Clarence C Bembry

July 4th, 2012
11:12 am

Whitney Houston was one of the greatest singers who ever lived. There isn’ anything we can do or that can negate that. Her voice will be heard long after anyone who is alive today (7-3-2012) is dead and gone.


July 4th, 2012
11:53 am

Check out this exclusive never before seen video footage of Whitney Houston speaking at the American Music Awards.



July 5th, 2012
6:56 pm

whitney houston tribute was the best of the show, and ppls stop with the negitivity.i have bent and still is and always will be a fan of whitney since her first album came out in 85. and let me say this everyone has issues going on within they self. it’s the fact whitney’s was public, so deal with YOURS.


July 7th, 2012
11:23 pm

Love you Whitney. I’ll always be inlove with your songs..Check out her memorial page on Evertalk.


July 7th, 2012
11:34 pm

syd:seen the page.great job on Evertalk.


July 8th, 2012
4:42 pm

So Jerry…out of the almost THREE THOUSAND awards that have been given out you named about what 30?…Yeah that’s it. And yes there have been awards given to white ppl for r&b and hip hop. Look that up too.