All Photos and Article by Jovanna Reyes
Tisha Campbell and Tisha Arnold welcomed viewers to the House of Cellulite and Menopause with MJ Rodriguez of “Pose” for the opening of the BET Soul Train Music Awards 2019. The dance number was set to a medley of Janet Jackson’s house/dance songs with the hosts singing live in leather body-con suits and with exaggerated comedic genius expressions. They are more than ready for their own variety show…Tyler Perry ya’ listening?
This year’s Soul Cypher, Keyshia Cole, presented H.E.R., along with Tank, the award for BestR&B/Soul Female Artist. The always lovely and conservatively dressed, compared to her counterparts, gave an inspirational speech in comparison to admitted social anxiety disorder sufferer, Summer Walker. Ms. Walker, obviously elated, gave a quick thank you after presented with the Best New Artist award by the crew of Tyler Perry’s “The Oval”.
K. Michelle soulfully performed her single “Rain” with an all white platformed background which was striking with her vibrant hair. The new Radeo record label owner, Issa Rae, introduced her new artist, TeaMarr. The Haitian rapper/singer crooned her single, “Kinda Love”, on the My Black is Beautiful stage with the Adam Blackstone Allstar Band while sipping from her teacup. Her obvious signature move repeated on the blue carpet.
After K. Michelle and TeaMarr, Tichina Arnold introduced Doctur Dot, Tiana Major9 and Johnny Venus of Earthgang, where the spoken word was introduced before “Collide” was performed. The stage was drenched in color, flowers and silver rims to represent the theme from the new movie “Queen and Slim”.
“American Soul” actor, Sinqua Walls presented the king of non traditional gospel, Kirk Franklin, with the Best Gospel/Inspirational Award. Mr. Franklin inspired those beginning their careers to be patient and allow things to ‘marinate’ because not everyone has a microwaveable career that is easily attained.
Boyz II Men and Stokely performed a medley of the ballads from their greatest hits for the Legend Award Tribute to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Wanya, Shawn and Nathan belted out falsettos for “Tender Love” and “On Bended Knee” while Stokely flamed the fire with “Breaking My Heart” and “Pretty Brown Eyes”.
Ari Lennox appeared in good spirits when introducing her friend, Pink Sweat$, who performed his hit “Honesty” on the My Black is Beautiful stage. Wale was joined by Jermih for “on Chill” and Kelly Price, looking super sexy in all black leather, for “Sue Me”.
Queen Naija sang her hit “Good Morning Text” on the Orleans Arena stage before Kirk Franklin presented Yolanda Adams with the BET Soul Train Music Lady of Soul Award. Ms. Adams thanked everyone with a special mention for her daughter and performed seven of her top hits. She was so in the moment, Ms. Adams continued singing as she walked offstage. Luke James(who was giving Prince vibes on the blue carpet and onstage), Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid performed “All your love” and “Go girl” in their matching red outfits.
The theme of the evening were the living legends, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ music compilations. From the first scene with a Janet Jackson medley, to Boyz II Men and Stokely ballads, the next set was mind blowing. Sounds of Blackness reunited with Jamecia Bennett and Ann Nesby and their pipes are still fresh. Mary Davis and Abdul Ra’Oof of the S.O.S. Band hit all the right notes and Alexander O’Neal joined Cherrelle, who outsung Alexander and looked fabulous doing it. The final Legend tribute act deserves their own award, Morris Day and Jerome Benton made the audience get on their feet and groove with the Time. They were also joined by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Babyface.
Adam Blackstone and the BBE Allstar Band finished off the night with Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold thanking Connie Orlando, BET V.P. Original Programming. The performers joined the hosts onstage for a Soul Train line with Cherrelle and Ann Nesby hitting high notes on the way out.
All photos and article written by Jovanna Reyes http://www.jovannareyes.com @jovannareyesphotography