The 25th annual Soul Train Awards aired on BET Sunday night (November 25), and potential Oscar hopeful Frank Ocean earned the night’s top honor with the Album of the Year award for his Essential channel ORANGE. The other big win belonged to John Legend, who claimed Record of the Year for the Ludacris-featuring “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” which the singer-songwriter also performed.
Beyoncé collected two statues, Best R&B/Soul Female Artist and Best Dance Performance for “Love on Top,” topping her Best Dance Performance win at last year’s show for “Run The World (Girls).” Kaleidoscope Dream crooner Miguel showed up to perform slow-burner “Adorn” and snatched the Best R&B/Soul Male Artist trophy, a step up from his Best New Artist win at last year’s ceremony. Song of the Year went to Tyrese for “Stay,” and Hip-Hop Song of the Year was given to Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz for summer jam “Mercy.” 2 Chainz also grabbed the mic for Based on a T.R.U. Story tracks “Birthday Song,” “I’m Different,” and “Ghetto Dreams.”
Recent Grammy Hall of Famer Whitney Houston received a posthumous nod for “Celebrate,” the late singer’s contribution to the soundtrack of her final film, Sparkle. The duet with American Idol Jordin Sparks nabbed Best Gospel/Inspirational Performance, an award that Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown accepted on her behalf. “I want to thank my brothers for sticking by me at all times,” Brown reportedly said. “I want to thank all of you for always having my back no matter what I’ve been through in my life. I’m still standing on my feet.” Sparks took to Twitter to share her thanks, writing, “So happy that Celebrate won Best Gospel/Inspirational Performance at the BET Soul Train Awards!! First of many Mama Whitney!! #missyou <3.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Bobby Brown’s ’80s R&B group New Edition, who also moved through a medley of their hits “Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” and “If It Isn’t Love.” Stevie Wonder, who recently paid tribute to the late Dick Clark, closed out the night with renditions of “Superstitious” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
The broadcast, which was hosted by actor/comedian Cedric the Entertainer and filmed at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino earlier this month, was the award show’s first without its founder, the late Don Cornelius, who died in February. Cornelius’ son, Tony, paid tribute to his father on stage. “The magnitude of creative genius can spawn a movement that lasts a lifetime and that movement was, and is, Soul Train,” he said. “My father saw… something that could spiritually connect everyone in the world. Uplifting our minds, our bodies and our spirits — Don Cornelius was responsible for that. He danced his own dance.”
Last year’s ceremony was marked by a rap royalty-studded tribute to the late Heavy D and big wins for Chris Brown and Marsha Ambrosius, who took home trophies for Album of the Year and Record of the Year, respectively.
Check out performances by 2 Chainz and Miguel, as well as the full list of winners, below.
- Album of the Year: Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE
- Record of the Year (The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award): John Legend featuring Ludacris, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)”
- Song of the Year: Tyrese, “Stay”
- Best New Artist: Elle Varner
- Centric Award: Leah LaBelle
- Best Gospel/Inspirational Performance: Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks, “Celebrate”
- Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year: Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz, “Mercy”
- Best R&B/Soul Female Artist: Beyoncé
- Best R&B/Soul Male Artist: Miguel
- Best Dance Performane: Beyoncé, “Love on Top”
- Best Independent R&B/Soul Artist or Group: Eric Roberson
- CENTRICTV.com Best Caribbean Performance: Sean Paul, Tomahawk Technique
- CENTRICTV.com Best International Performance: Estelle, “Thank You”
- CENTRICTV.com Best Traditional Jazz Artist/Group: The Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio and Tony Bennett, Isn’t It Romantic
- CENTRICTV.com Best Contemporary Jazz Artist/Group: Esperanza Spalding, Radio Music Society