NEW YORK, -- With the help of the entertainment industry's finest, BET Networks honored distinguished African Americans performing at exceptional levels in their fields by presenting the third annual BET HONORS. Hosted by the beautiful and talented actress Gabrielle Union, this phenomenal show will premiere during Black History Month, on Tonight at 9:00PM
The 2010 honorees included legendary songstress Whitney Houston (Entertainment), multi-faceted entertainer Queen Latifah (Media), respected business mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs (Entrepreneur), accomplished educator Dr. Ruth Simmons(Education), and world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black (Public Service). Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, India.Arie, ELEW and others will pay tribute to these phenomenal stars with riveting performances.
BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee and the Honorable Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington, D.C. welcomed the audience. Both Lee and Mayor Fenty called out to viewers and audience members alike to support relief efforts for those who were affected by the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. Lee also referenced BET's own initiatives as part of the worldwide effort to aid Haiti.
"Before this disaster, BET Networks, in celebration of its 30th anniversary, was set to donate thirty thousand dollars every month for a year to an organization that has dedicated itself to working towards a brighter future for the African American community," said Lee in her remarks. "In light of the devastation in Haiti, BET plans to donate the first grant to immediate emergency relief in Haiti."
Following Lee's remarks, Stevie Wonder, Trey Songz and India.Arie delivered a soulful rendition of the "Wake Up Everybody" in memory of the recent passing of soul-man extraordinaire, Teddy Pendergrass and his message of hope and commitment to the community.
Queen Latifah, this year's recipient of the BET Honor for Media, was presented with her award by the talented and always hilarious Taraji P. Henson, while R&B songstress Jazmine Sullivan performed soul-stirring interpretations of "Unforgettable" and "Rock Steady." Next, the powerhouse legend Patti Labelle performed "If Only You Knew." Actor and comedian Chris Tucker then introduced the Public Service award honoree, neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black, who was treated to an extraordinary performance of "Can't Imagine Love Without You" by the iconic Stevie Wonder accompanied by Take 6.
Hip-hop pioneer Andre Harrell presented his longtime friend Sean "Diddy" Combs with the Entrepreneur BET Honor. 2009 BET HONORS recipient Mary J. Blige performed a medley of her greatest hits "Love No Limit," "I Love You," and "Be Happy," as a personal tribute to her mentor and friend. During his heartfelt acceptance speech, Diddy attributed his success to his mother's tireless work ethic, also giving credit to the hip-hop community.
BET Networks also paid tribute to Dr. Ruth Simmons (Public Service), who was presented with her award by veteran actress Victoria Rowell. It was followed by the moving performance by India.Arie, who was accompanied by pianist ELEW (Eric Lewis), with songs "Beautiful Flower" and "Someday We'll All Be Free."
Lastly, Whitney Houston was on her feet for a surprise soul-rousing performance by one of her favorite artists, gospel great Kim Burrell singing "I Believe In You and Me." And if that wasn't enough, Jennifer Hudson brought the crowd to its feet singing Houston's chart-topping "I Will Always Love You," as she was presented with The BET Honor for Entertainment by Ne-Yo.
Other highlights of the show included Trey Songz and Stevie Wonder's medley of each other's hits, "That Girl" and "Invented Sex," as well as Ryan Leslie performing his latest single "I Choose You." Maxwell also performed "Fist Full of Tears" and "Forgive Me."
Stephen Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks, and Lynne Harris Taylor, Vice President of Specials, BET Networks are executive producers, along with John Cossette of John Cossette Productions.
The official BET HONORS after party was presented by AMBI® Skincare, a beauty brand committed to empowerment, education and providing women of color with skincare solutions for flawless, even toned skin. The star-studded event will take place in Washington, DC's renowned Ronald Regan Building & International Trade Center and will be transformed into an AMBI® Brand oasis in which honorees, celebrity guests and the media will unwind and enjoy the evening's entertainment in the AMBI® Brand's 'Flawless Beauty Lounge.' "As a brand dedicated to empowering and supporting women of color, we are proud to partner with BET HONORS to pay tribute to the accomplished honorees who are an inspiration to us all," says Denna Singleton, AMBI® Brand Product Director.
For more information on THE BET HONORS, visit www.bet.com/bethonors.
*All times ET/PT
About the 2010 BET Honorees
WHITNEY HOUSTON - Whitney Houston has established a benchmark for superstardom that will quite simply never be eclipsed in the modern era, with over 170 million combined album, singles and videos sold worldwide during her career with Arista Records. She is a singer's singer who has influenced countless other vocalists, both female and male. Music historians cite Whitney's record-setting achievements: the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits; the first female artist to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at #1; and the only artist with seven consecutive multi-platinum albums. Her current album "I Look To You" debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts when it was released this past August and to date has sold 2 million copies worldwide. In February, Whitney will commence her long-awaited Nothing But Love World Tour 2010, with dates starting in Soeul, Korea and moving on to Japan, Australia and Europe.
QUEEN LATIFAH - Queen Latifah is Grammy® Award-winning musician, television and film actress, label president, author and entrepreneur. Blessed with style and substance, Queen Latifah has blossomed into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate. On January 4, 2006, she became the first hip hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Miramax's Chicago as well as a Golden Globe and SAG Award win for her heart wrenching role in Life Support.
SEAN "DIDDY" COMBS - Sean "Diddy" Combs is a mogul in every sense of the word. As a top record executive, performer, TV/Film producer, writer, arranger, clothing designer, and actor, he's mastered what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Winning three Grammy® Awards, a Council of Fashion Designers of America Award as well as a FiFi Award for Fragrance of The Year are just a few of his stellar accomplishments. At the helm of Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide, Mr. Combs oversees Bad Boy Records; the clothing lines Sean John and Sean by Sean Combs, a movie production company, a fragrance line, and is also co-owner and brand builder for Ciroc vodka.
RUTH SIMMONS - Ruth J. Simmons was sworn in as the 18th president of Brown University, an Ivy League school, on July 3, 2001. She also holds an appointment as a professor of comparative literature and of Africana Studies at Brown. Dr. Simmons graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans and completed her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures at Harvard. She served in various administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming president of Smith College, the largest women's college in the United States.
KEITH BLACK - Dr. Keith L. Black serves as Chairman and professor of the Department of Neurosurgery, Director of Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, and Director of the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Brain Tumor Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. An internationally-renowned neurosurgeon and scientist, Dr. Black joined Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in July 1997, and prior to that served on the University of California, Los Angeles faculty for 10 years where he was Professor of Neurosurgery. Since 1987, he has performed more than 5,000 operations for resection of brain tumors, and has a unique ability to combine cutting-edge research and an extremely busy surgical practice.
About the Host
GABRIELLE UNION - Gabrielle Union is an award winning actress, successful model and has been praised by Oprah Winfrey for being a noted activist on violence against women. She landed her first major role opposite Kirsten Dunst in the teen hitBring It On in 2001. Since then, she has catapulted her career to the next level: starring in blockbuster films Bad Boys II, opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, Deliver Us From Eva in 2003, opposite LL Cool J, the Tyler Perry film Daddy's Girls and the Christmas film The Perfect Holiday to name a few. Union has appeared in countless TV shows including her current role in ABC's hit series, FlashForward.
About BET Networks
BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA) (NYSE: VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 98 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks - BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.
SOURCE: BET Networks
Web site: http://www.bet.com/