They ain’t goin’ nowhere, they can’t be stopped, even after two decades. P-Diddy joined Lil’ Kim, Faith Evans, and Mase among others to remember 20 years of the label that launched so many careers. Diddy unfortunately suffered t an artist’s nightmare, a high-profile fall on stage during a live event.
Nicki Minaj was one of the big winners, grabbing trophies including Best Female Hip-Hop Artist and the Viewers’ Choice Award. She’s grabbed so many statues at this point she forgot which trophy she was accepting during one speech. Embarrassed that she forgot the Viewer’s Choice Award, she recovered with a speech encouraging people to follow their dreams.
Best New Artist went to Sam Smith, with host Anthony Anderson accepting joking that Smith was white and didn’t think he’d win. Anderson joined his Blackish co-star Tracee Ellis Ross to add needed humor to the proceedings.
Smokey Robinson delivered perhaps the best message of the night while accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award, reminding artists that fame is like a “bittersweet wine.” He cautioned them to not get drunk on themselves and be thankful.
Janet Jackson picked up the Ultimate Icon Award after Jason DeRulo, Tinashe and Ciara recreated some of her classic dance routines.
No celebrate of black entertainment over the past year would have been complete with Fox drama Empire. Ross and Anderson dressed up as Lucious and Cookie, prompting the “real” Lucious to appear. Terrence Howard introduced his Empire family as Jussie Smollett, Yazz the Greatest and Serayah performed a medley from the breakout soap.
Smollett brought the house down with “You’re So Beautiful,” taking a moment to celebrate the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling. One of Empire’s most powerful episodes featured Smollett’s character coming out by changing the lyrics that song’s lyrics. Smollett said the Supreme Court ruling proves how far we’ve come, while the continued shooting deaths of young black people prove how far we have to go.