ABOVE PHOTO: LeToya Luckett and Rickey Smiley Performs at the 3rd Annual Black Music Honors at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Thursday, August 16th, 2018 (AP Photo/Earl Gibson III)
The third Annual 2018 Black Music Honors hosted by television and radio personality Rickey Smiley and Grammy® Award-winner and actress LeToya Luckett is currently airing in national broadcast syndication. The star-studded show was taped live at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. In Philadelphia, viewers can see the ceremony on the CW on Sept. 30 at 8:00PM.
The show celebrated the unparalleled legacies of several esteemed music icons including Grammy ®Award-winning singer, songwriter and actress Stephanie Mills (Legends Award); celebrated singer/actor Bobby Brown (R&B Soul Music Icon Award); acclaimed gospel artists BeBe and CeCe Winans (Gospel Music Icon Award); multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist Faith Evans (Urban Music Icon Award); renowned rap duo Whodini (Hip Hop Icon Award); and chart-topping music producer and label executive Dallas Austin (Music Innovator Icon Award).
Black Music Honors celebrates artists who have helped shape Black music and culture by inspiring new and emerging entertainers.
The crowd was compelled to stand on their feet with stunning performances from a host of powerhouse talent and moving acceptance speeches from the award recipients. The night culminated in a touching memorial performance to the incomparable Aretha Franklin, who passed away the morning of the event.
A show-stopping medley by Bell Biv DeVoe honored R&B icon, Bobby Brown. The electrifying performance captivated the audience and visibly moved Brown to tears.
Brown recalled his childhood on stage, “I remember when I was nine, I thought about what I wanted to be in life. I knew I didn’t want to end up dead in the streets of Boston. He’s [God] still working and there’s so much more I’m going to do to see joy on your faces.”
Dynamic performances by Donnie McClurkin, Kierra Sheard, Jonathan McReynolds and Tasha Page-Lockhart honored gospel heavyweight duo BeBe and CeCe Winans, receiving a standing ovation and touching acknowledgement. BeBe Winans expressed that the honor helped him to reflect on his career and “celebrate the years, recognizing how God has been so good.” CeCe added, “I want to say thank you to all of you who have ever prayed for us, all of you who ever bought CDs, not just BeBe and Mine, but my whole family.”
Rappers Doug E. Fresh, YoYo, Monie Love and DJ Mell Star sparked hip hop nostalgia with renditions of classic songs to honor Brooklyn-based duo Whodini. Vocalists Demetria McKinney, V. Bozeman and Syleena Johnson paid homage to Faith Evans who was joined by new husband, Stevie J. Overwhelmed with gratitude, the Grammy® award-winning singer stated “I’m not used to being honored. I grew up revering Stephanie, Bobby and Whodini. I give thanks to God, who’s the only reason that I’m still standing.”
The evening also featured a crowd-pleasing segment to honor multi-platinum producer/songwriter Dallas Austin with routines from Next, Jade Novah, Rhyon Brown and Sammie. Grammy-nominated American Idol season two winner Ruben Studdard led a heartfelt tribute to his idol, the late-great Luther Vandross. Regina Bell, Angela Winbush and Paris Bennett, gave tribute to Grammy award-winning legend Stephanie Mills. Temptations front man Dennis Edwards was honored with a set by Raheem DeVaughn and Koryn Hawthorne.
The night culminated with founder, chairman and CEO of Central City Productions, Inc. and executive producer of Black Music Honors, Don Jackson, expressing gratitude to the honorees, presenters and performers for making the night unforgettable. “The Black Music Honors gives us an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the trailblazers of African-American music,” Jackson said.
The 2018 Black Music Honors was made possible by title sponsor, State Farm as well as AT&T and presenting sponsors McDonald’s, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and Chevrolet. Ticket proceeds from the taping benefitted the National Museum of African American Music.