View photos from BET Honors 2009 »

Black celebs turned out in full force for the second annual BET Honors. The ceremony took place on Saturday, January 17, at The Warner Theater, during President Obama’s Inaugural Weekend. Hosted by the lovely Gabrielle Union, the star-studded event celebrates the African-American success stories of many of the industry’s luminaries such as songstress Mary J. Blige, filmmaker Tyler Perry, dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison, business mogul, philanthropist and NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, cuisine queen B. Smith, and Congressman James E. Clyburn. The A-List presenters included Angela Bassett, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Terrence Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, and Whitney Houston, whose unexpected appearance drew a lengthy applause from  the audience, which included the Cicely Tyson, Star Jones, ESSENCE columnist Cookie Johnson,  MC Lyte, Lance Gross, Hill Harper, and many more.
Of course, BET’s performance line never disappoints. Stevie Wonder gave the audience a double dose of his excellence, taking the stage twice—first performing his cult classic “Superstition,” and an encore performance of “Love’s In Need of Love Today.” Ne-Yo honored B. Smith with a rendition of “Miss Independent” and Anita Baker, who also pulled double duty, nearly brought Mary J. to tears as she sang “One” and “Caught Up in the Rapture.” Still, it was an unlikely performance of “Not Gon’ Cry” by Monica that proved to be the night’s most electric moment. Channeling a signature Mary look of a black headscarf, over-the-knee boots, and black shades (she even added the bang sweep), the younger chantuese belted a passionate tribute to her musical idol. Yolonda Adams, Queen Latifah, and Keyshia Cole (via video) sang as well.
BET Honors premieres on BET on Monday, February 9th at 9PM EST.

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