By Eryn Sun Mar 7, 2012 | 1:23 PM
Another tribute will be paid to former megastar Whitney Houston during the 12th annual "Celebration of Gospel" event held by BET Networks.
During last year's special, which aired in January, Houston joined her good friend, gospel artist Kim Burrell, on stage, garnering a standing ovation for their "I Look to You" duet.
BET recently confirmed that they would be recognizing Houston, whose "singing gift was anchored in her gospel roots," during their two-hour special this year, which will air for the first time in history on Palm Sunday, drawing further significance and power to the special.
Veteran comedian Steve Harvey will again host the inspiring show, which brings together legendary gospel and R&B singers on stage performing powerful and dynamic songs that celebrate the Gospel message.
Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, and more will be included in the special, which airs on the first of April.
Grammy and Tony Award-winner Jennifer Holliday and R&B singers Faith Evans, Johnny Gill, Ledisi and Kelly Price will also perform during the "Rise Up! Renew! Rejoice!" celebration.
In addition to the musical performances, Bobby Jones Gospel and Wendy Raquel Robinson will deliver spoken word selections as well.
Mahalia Jackson, the "Queen of Gospel Music," will also be honored and remembered for her significant contributions to gospel music and the civil rights movement alongside Houston.
Hailed as the number one religious telecast since its inception by The Nielsen Company, the "Celebration of Gospel" event last year had a record of 2.75 million viewers.
For the 11th consecutive year, the show continues to rank first in the gospel/religious telecast since 2000, bringing in large ratings for the BET Network.
The 2012 event is expected to draw in record-breaking numbers again this year, especially because of its airing during the Easter season.
Taping will occur on Friday, March 16 at 8 p.m. PT at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, and the music special will air on April 1 at 8 p.m.
Tickets to attend the taping are free to the public on a first-come, first serve basis and all requests can be submitted to email@example.com.
Stephen Hill, BET's president of Music Programming and Specials, Lynne Harris Taylor, vice president of Specials and Music Production and executive producer Geovanni Brewer will oversee production.
American Idol's music director Ray Chew, former member of the Saturday Night Live Band, will also return as the show's musical director.
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc., is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience.
The channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa, according to the network.
The Nielsen Company reported that 2011 was BET's most watched year ever, with the network having three consecutive years of audience growth. It is currently the number one cable network among African-American adult viewers.Related Stories Most Popular Stories
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Cissy Houston’s tribute to her late daughter was the emotional highlight of Sunday’s BET Awards, a show that was defined by extended bleeps and the vulgarities that censors failed to catch onstage throughout the night.
Whitney Houston’s mother gave a rousing performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that left the crowd in tears, including Beyonce and Melanie Fiona.
Mariah Carey opened the tribute with memories of her friend. She was followed by a moving number by Monica. Brandy, heavily influenced by Houston, sang two of the late singer’s hits. Chaka Khan blazed the stage with “I’m Every Woman,” which Houston remade. Gary Houston, Whitney’s brother, also performed.
But the nearly four-hour BET Awards was more like the Bleep Awards, as entire segments of performances from Nicki Minaj to Rick Ross were muted out due to foul language.
It started during the opening number by Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. music group, which included Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz. There were long moments of censored silence when the rappers performed “Mercy,” though not all the offending words were bleeped out. Moments later, Samuel L. Jackson, the show’s host, was joined by Spike Lee as they did a comedic version of Jay-Z and West’s hit song “… In Paris,” to laughs.
“Two distinguished Morehouse men,” Lee joked after the performance, referencing the alma mater of the two.
The censor police also worked overtime when Rick Ross performed with his Maybach Music Group and during Minaj’s performance and acceptance speech for best female hip-hop artist. Minaj’s win was her third consecutive time taking the prize.
“I really, really appreciate BET for keeping this category alive, and I appreciate all the female rappers doing their thing, past, present and future,” she said, before uttering an obscenity.
Gospel star Yolanda Adams, who also performed, gently took some of her peers to task as she won best gospel artist, urging them to act mature and use their fame wisely.
“We need all of y’all,” she said. “I’m saying the world needs everyone in this room. Please make sure that you use your gift responsibly, ‘cause we’re watching. Our babies are watching, and they want to be like us.”
West and Jay-Z won the ceremony’s top prize, earning video of the year for “Otis.” They also won best group.
West, who was up for seven awards, was the top nominee. Beyonce was the second most nominated act with six. She won video director of the year (along with Alan Ferguson) and best female R&B artist and thanked the genre and her female influences.
“I fell in love with music by listening to R&B. It’s the core of who I am,” she said, giving special thanks to Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and “Whitney Houston, my angel.”
When she lost video of the year to Jay-Z and West, she playfully hit her husband and laughed. The joking continued: Moments later, as West was giving his acceptance speech, Jay-Z interrupted him and said: “Excuse me Kanye, I’m gonna let you continue, but …,” and the audience erupted with laughter, recalling West’s infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s MTV Video Music Awards speech a few years back.
Chris Brown was also a double winner. Kevin Hart — who hosted the awards last year — also won for best actor, Big Sean was named best new artist and Wale and Miguel’s smooth hit “Lotus Flower Bomb” won best collaboration.
The tone of night fluctuated frequently, as the show shifted from hotly anticipated performances to solemn moments to irreverence. Usher performed his groove “Climax,” and Nicki Minaj sported a blonde wig with pink tips as she performed the songs “Champion” and “Beez In the Trap,” which featured 2 Chainz.
The night also featured some tributes to deceased greats: Chante Moore performed a medley of Donna Summer’s hits and Valerie Simpson sang a song in honor of her husband and writing partner Nick Ashford. Don Cornelius, Dick Clark and Hal Jackson were remembered. Even West offered tributes: after his performance, he name-dropped Rodney King and Whitney Houston in a verse that got cheers from the crowd, including his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian.
Presenters included Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx, who wore a T-shirt that had a picture of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
Frankie Beverly featuring Maze were honored with the lifetime achievement award, and they were serenaded with performances by Tyrese, Faith Evans and Joe.
D’Angelo also performed, hisfirst televised performance in years as he attempts a comeback.
Brown also performed in his first televised appearance since the New York City nightclub brawl between his entourage and Drake’s. Brown, his girlfriend, his bodyguard and NBA star Tony Parker were among those injured in the June 14 encounter, where bottles were thrown.
Drake, however, didn’t show, despite being nominated.
Posted on July 2, 2012 at 8:45am EDT
Nearly five months after Whitney Houston’s death in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the singer’s mother honored her Sunday with a rousing rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the BET Awards across town at the Shrine Auditorium.
The tribute was the emotional highlight of the evening, and started with some heartfelt words from Mariah Carey.
“I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice and laughter, but we’ll always have the music,” Carey said. “We’ll always have that voice we all fell in love with. She inspired us all.”
Monica, Brandy and Whitney’s brother Gary then all sang for the crowd, followed by Cissy, whose performance of the Simon & Garfunkel song brought tears to the eyes of those assembled – a group that included Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
The tribute wrapped with Chaka Khan singing her 1978 song “I’m Every Woman,” which Whitney covered with great success in 1993.
West, Jay-Z and Beyoncé took home the night’s biggest awards. West and Jay-Z were named best group for their collaboration as The Throne, and also won video of the year for “Otis.” Beyoncé was named best female R&B artist. Chris Brown was named best male R&B artist.
Drake and Nicki Minaj were honored as the best hip-hop artists.
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News is buzzing that Cissy Houston will take the stage and honor her late daughter.
See why we're adding a little dash of milk to our brew:
Her later years sadly overshadowed by controversy, Whitney Houston was arguably the most purely talented pop vocalist of her generation — and that legacy will be honored with a segment during BET’s 12th annual ‘Celebration of Gospel’ special, scheduled to air April 1.
Many of Houston’s peers are scheduled to be in attendance, including Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Faith Evans, Johnny Gill, and Kelly Price. The special segment will, in the network’s words, honor the way in which her “singing gift was anchored in her gospel roots.”
Hosted by Steve Harvey, this year’s ‘Celebration of Gospel’ event is scheduled to take place March 16 at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, and will also include a special tribute to the legendary Mahalia Jackson, whose pioneering work earned her the title of “The Mother of Gospel Music.”
Though Houston passed away less than a month ago, the ‘Celebration of Gospel’ segment joins a growing number of tributes to her life and legacy, including the recent ‘American Idol’ round that found its female contestants covering 11 of Houston’s songs. We’re sure to see more in the months to come — and given the way her posthumous album sales have surged, a series of new releases can’t be far behind.
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