Whitney Houston BET Awards Tribute Leaves Audience In Tears
Cissy Houston (photo: Christopher Polk, Getty Images)
The star-studded Whitney Houston tribute Sunday at the BET Awards moved those in attendance to tears.
Mariah Carey broke down during her opening remarks as she recalled the first time she met Whitney, getting to know her during the promotion of their "Prince of Egypt" collaboration, and spending time with her in London last year.
"I was a tiny bit scared," Carey said about their first meeting. "There were a couple rumors that we had a rivalry … Whitney was not to be toyed with."
But Carey made it clear that she and Houston had a real bond. "I miss my friend," she said, taking a pause to weep. "But we will always have the music."
Mariah Carey (photo: Michael Buckner, Getty Images)
Monica's powerful and controlled performance of "I Love The Lord" was reminiscent of Houston's version for The Preacher's Wife soundtrack.
Brandy picked up the tempo with a high energy delivery of Houston's dance hits, "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."
Houston's brother, Gary, offered a touching selection before calling his mother, Cissy, to the stage.
Cissy sang an emotional gospel rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that would move any mother who has lost a child. She sang, "When evening falls so hard, I'll comfort you. I'll take your part when darkness comes."
Chaka Khan wrapped the music segment with her song "I'm Every Woman" that Houston covered in 1993.
Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine, Houston's co-stars from the film Waiting To Exhale, even paid homage, sharing memories after the performances.
Houston was one of the many late icons remembered in segments scattered throughout the show. Chante Moore, donning big hair and voice, belted Donna Summer, and Valerie Simpson honored her songwriting husband Nick Ashford, who died last year, with a piano version of "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," a hit they wrote for Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell. Etta James, Vesta, Dick Clark, Don Cornelius, Heavy D, MCA and others, were also acknowledged.