The stars gathered in the nation’s capital for BET Honors 2015, which was taped at Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. on Saturday (Jan. 24). Hosted by Wayne Brady, the eighth annual show saluted African-American trailblazers in art, music, theater, technology, and business.
This year’s honorees included Kanye West; Usher; Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art; Phylicia Rashad, Tony Award-winning actress; and John W. Thompson, Chairman of Microsoft and CEO of Virtual Instruments.
An emotional Usher accepted the Musical Arts Award from Bobby Brown and Ben Vereen, and received a musical salute from Trey Songz, who performed a cover of Usher hits including “Nice & Slow.”
Following a video tribute featuring Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Common, Damon Dash and his daughter Ava Dash presented the Visionary Award to Kanye West.
“My history with Kanye is I didn’t respect him as a rapper because I was around the greatest rappers,” said the Roc-A-Fella Records founder. “But he has courage.”
A proud Kim Kardashian West watched as her husband accepted his award, and even poked fun at her past boyfriends.
“They say white girls go out and get a rich black dude. But my wife has dated broke black dudes. So it’s not about the money,” he said as the crowd laughed.
Kanye also jumped on stage to freestyle with his “Bound 2” collaborator Charlie Wilson.
Creativity is a fight. You can't be the kid in the back of the room being made fun of. Get up and smack somebody – Kanye west #BETHonors
— Antonio Williams (@Tony_Williams) January 25, 2015
Other performers included Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Patti LaBelle, and K. Michelle, who took the stage in a blue gown to sing “Judge Me.”
BET Honors 2015 will air during Black History Month on Feb. 23 at 9 p.m.