Toni Braxton wasn’t the only star shining at the 2017 Soul Train Awards. While Braxton was honored with a tribute from Jessie J, Ro James, and Luke James, Erykah Badu hosted a “Soul Cypher” with some special guests of her own.
Faith Evans, Fantasia, Bilal, Mali Music, and Robert Glasper joined Badu for a special smoky performance in a warehouse. Glasper manned the keys while Badu stayed behind the turntables. Meanwhile, Mali kicked things off with a freestyle about “peace, love, and soul.”
Backed by The Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark” instrumental, which was famously sampled on Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day,” a fur-rocking Tasia turned the cypher into a celebration. “Let’s celebrate the fact that we made it,” she sang. “Went from latest to the greatest / I remember when I used to pray for this / Now I’m playing in everybody’s playlist.”
A politically-charged Bilal followed with lines about Colin Kaepernick and injustice. “Black man in America,” he sang. “Kaepernick still out of work / Police still killing us / Where do we go? What should we do? / We need some justice y’all.” Finally, Faith rounded out the set with a rendition of “You Used to Love Me” off her 1995 album Faith.
Elsewhere on Sunday night’s show, Bruno Mars took home five trophies, including Best R&B/Soul Male Artist, Video of the Year, and Album/Mixtape of the Year, while Tamar Braxton, Keyshia Cole, and 112 performed, Braxton received the Don Cornelius Legend Award, and SWV was honored with the Lady of Soul Award.