Late rapper Nipsey Hussle honored at 2019 BET Awards

Free Press wire reports | 7/4/2019, 6 a.m.
The late rapper Nipsey Hussle was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the 2019 BET Awards in a show that ...
DJ Khaled and John Legend stand in front of a choir to lead a musical tribute to Nipsey Hussle during the BET Awards on June 23 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press

LOS ANGELES The late rapper Nipsey Hussle was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the 2019 BET Awards in a show that also paid tribute to singer Mary J. Blige and

filmmaker Tyler Perry.

The family of Mr. Hussle, a respected and beloved community activist in South LosAngeles, was presented the posthumous award by rapper T.I.

Mr. Hussle was shot to death on March 31 outside his South Los Angeles clothing store in what police said was a personal dispute.

His mother, Angelique Smith, took the stage to accept the award on his behalf, along with his father, grand- mother, his children and girlfriend, Lauren London.

“I just want to thank you guys for all the love and support, and the marathon continues again,” Ms. London said onstage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Ms. Smith recalled the moment she visited the crime scene where her son was shot. The rapper’s grandmother said she loved him and that he “did his job.”

John Legend, DJ Khaled, YG and Marsha Ambrosius celebrated Mr. Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, with a performance. Ms. Blige, who earned the Lifetime Achievement Award, ran through her hits during a lengthy performance, which featured Lil Kim and Method Man. The R&B star went from “My Life” to “No More Drama” to “Just Fine,” when audi- ence members turned the aisles into “Soul Train” lines as they showed their best dance moves while the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul sang on stage.

Rihanna presented Ms. Blige with the award, receiving a standing ovation as she walked to the stage.


Mary J. Blige accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards.

“Mommy, I love you and I want to thank you for your love and understanding,” Ms. Blige said as her mom teared up in the audience.

The nine-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee went on to thank her father, saying she was happy their “relationship is healed.” She also thanked her siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends, including longtime collaborator Diddy.

Another standing ovation during the nearly four-hour show came when The Exonerated Five, whose profiles were re- cently raised with the release of a Netflix series based on their lives, introduced a performance by R&B singer H.E.R. and rapper YBN Cordae.

Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Antron McCray spoke as audience members rose from their seats to cheer them on. Directed by Ava DuVernay, “When They See Us” tells of the wrongful conviction of the five black and Latino teenagers for the 1989 assault on a white female jogger in Central Park.

The audience also erupted in cheers for media mogul Tyler Perry, who earned the Ultimate Icon Award, presented to him by actress Taraji P. Henson.

‘When I built my studio, I built it in a neighborhood that is one of the poorest black neighborhoods in Atlanta so that young black kids could see that a black man did that, and they could do it, too,” Mr. Perry said.

“The studio was once a Confederate army base ... which meant that there were Confederate soldiers on that base plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved,” he continued. “Now that land is owned by one Negro.”