Usher Accepts BET Lifetime Achievement Award — Despite Audio Issues — After Electrifying Women-Led Tribute

Usher had a hell of a night at the 2024 BET Awards

Published Time: 01.07.2024 - 07:31:05 Modified Time: 01.07.2024 - 07:31:05

Usher had a hell of a night at the 2024 BET Awards.

During the event on Sunday, June 30, the R&B superstar, 45, received the Lifetime Achievement Award — an esteemed honor that's been previously granted to icons like Prince,Whitney Houston,Queen Latifah and Lionel Richie — in celebration of his epic musical legacy.

A roster of surprise guests took the stage during “Culture’s Biggest Night” to honor Usher, starting with Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover — and Keke Palmer! — performing an acapella version of the legend's 2001 hit "U Don't Have to Call."

The tribute medley then continued with a nostalgic look back at Usher's epic discography with performances from Palmer ("U Make Me Wanna"), Coco Jones ("There Goes My Baby"), Marsha Ambrosius ("Superstar"), Chlöe ("Good Kisser"), Tinashe ("Nice & Slow"), Teyana Taylor ("Bad Girl" featuring a dance number from Victoria Monét) and Latto ("Yeah!").

Summer Walker also performed her Usher collaboration "Good Good," featuring 21 Savage, which was nominated for best collaboration and best video at the BET Awards.

Usher then took the stage to accept his coveted award — which was presented by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, L.A. Reid, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — as his wife, Jenn Goicoechea Raymond, cheered him on from the front row.

The Grammy-winning performer began by joking if it was "too early" to receive his prestigious honor, saying, "I’m still running and gunning and I still love this s--- like I did when I was 8 years old."

He then spoke about his personal experience growing up without his father while sharing a name with him, adding, "I was trying to make sense of this name that a man gave me that didn’t stick around because he didn’t love — or at least that was my perception of it."

"Because I had to live long enough to understand that you have to have a forgiving heart in order to understand the true pitfalls and hardships of a Black man in America," Usher continued. "And my father, he was a product of that. He made a lot of decisions — he made a lot of choices — and the one that probably hurt and helped me at the same time was to stay away."

Usher's speech later cut out, apparently for language that then devolved into audio issues, but he concluded by tying everything into parenting his own children and the importance of present fathers, declaring 2024 "the year of the father."

"Even though there wasn’t a dad to call, even though there was not anybody to pic -

k up and say you gonna be alright, this is what you do, this is what’s OK, this is what isn’t... It led me to be the father that I am to my boys, Cinco and Naviyd, who are here today," he said, also showing love to his "little ones," Sire and Sovereign, at home.

"It’s 100% all about my children and making certain you understand that your dreams can come true if you’re truly committed," he concluded, also thanking his team, Babyface, Reid and more collaborators who have contributed to his successful 30+ year career. "If you are committed to something and you find passion and you stay committed to it, this could potentially be you. This could be your moment."

"Not on this stage because I’m the only one who gonna have this one," the R&B crooner joked, "but you could have a moment like this too."

BET's Lifetime Achievement Award salutes “special achievements and distinguished public service," industry trailblazers “who have powerfully shifted culture and the entertainment industry,” per a press release. And after an already huge year, it's only fitting that Usher received it next.

“The relationship between BET and Usher spans decades, from his multiple appearances on 106 & Park, to most recently winning the Entertainer of the Year trophy at the 55th NAACP Image Awards,” said Connie Orlando, BET EVP, Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy, in a press statement.

She continued, “From his chart-topping hits, electrifying performances and unforgettable vocals to his signature moves and sound, Usher continues to stand on culture, setting new standards for the music industry and Black excellence.”

In addition to his Lifetime Achievement Award, Usher was also nominated for four BET Awards this year, including album of the year for his latest studio LP, Coming Home. He ended up taking home the award for best male R&B/pop artist.

The "U Got It Bad" singer has had a banner year so far, which includes a record-breakingSuper Bowl halftime headlining show, the release of his ninth studio album, the 20th anniversary of his diamond-certifiedConfessionsalbum and the announcement of his upcomingPast Present Future tour— all of which follows his ultra-successfulLas Vegas residencythat concluded in December.

The 2024 BET Awards are airing live on June 30 at 8 p.m. ET/ PT live from the Peacock Theatre in Los Angeles.

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