Cissy Houston’s tribute to her late daughter was the emotional highlight of Sunday’s BET Awards, a show that was defined by extended bleeps and the vulgarities that censors failed to catch onstage throughout the night
Whitney Houston’s mother gave a rousing performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water that left the crowd in tears, including Beyonce and Melanie Fiona
Mariah Carey opened the tribute with memories of her friend. She was followed by a moving number by Monica.
Brandy, heavily influenced by Houston, sang two of the late singer’s hits. Chaka Khan blazed the stage with I’m Every Woman, which Houston remade. Gary Houston, Whitney’s brother, also performed.
Shortly after Cici’s performance the four hours BET Awards was more like the Bleep Awards, as entire segments of performances from Nicki Minaj to Rick Ross were muted out due to foul language.
It started during the opening number by Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. music group, which included Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz. There were long moments of censored silence when the rappers performed Mercy, though not all the offending words were bleeped out.
Moments later, Samuel L Jackson, the show’s host, was joined by Spike Lee as they did a comedic version of Jay-Z and West’s hit song … In Paris, to laughs.
The censor police also worked overtime when Rick Ross performed with his Maybach Music Group and during Minaj’s performance and acceptance speech for best female hip-hop artist. Minaj’s win was her third consecutive time taking the prize.
West and Jay-Z won the ceremony’s top prize, earning video of the year for Otis. They also won best group.
West, who was up for seven awards, was the top nominee. Beyonce was the second most nominated act with six. She won video director of the year (along with Alan Ferguson) and best female R&B artist and thanked the genre and her female influences. “I fell in love with music by listening to R&B. It’s the core of who I am,” she said, giving special thanks to Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and “Whitney Houston, my angel”.
Chris Brown was also a double winner. Kevin Hart, who hosted the awards last year, also won for best actor, Big Sean was named best new artist and Wale and Miguel’s smooth hit “Lotus Flower Bomb” won best collaboration.