Houston tribute, obscenities highlight BET Awards
Mariah Carey speaks during the in memoriam to Whitney Houston at the BET Awards on Sunday, July 1, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
With all the star power at the BET Awards — Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and Samuel L. Jackson, to name a few — the most stirring moment came not from a superstar, but from the mother of one.
Whitney Houston's mother, Cissy, provided the emotional highlight of Sunday's ceremony as she sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in tribute to her late daughter, leaving audience members like Beyonce and Soulja Boy in tears.
Mariah Carey opened the tribute, and her voice wavered as she told stories about Houston. She recalled the last time she saw Houston last year, and how the two laughed and gossiped together.
Cissy Houston pauses as she performs during the in memoriam to her daughter Whitney Houston at the BET Awards on Sunday, July 1, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
"I miss my friend," Carey said. "I miss hearing her voice and laughter."
R&B singer Monica was vocally top-notch as she sang "I Love the Lord," a gospel song once sang by Houston; Brandy sang two upbeat Houston hits, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "I'm Your Baby Tonight." Chaka Khan blazed the stage with "I'm Every Woman," which Houston remade. Gary Houston, Whitney's brother, also performed; and Houston's "Waiting to Exhale" castmates — Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine — also honored the singer.
Brandy performs during the in memoriam for Whitney Houston at the BET Awards on Sunday, July 1, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
But it was Cissy Houston's soaring performance that brought the audience to their feet, and had many dabbing their eyes. The tribute came five months after Houston's death: She died the night before the Grammy Awards of an accidental drowning complicated by heart disease and cocaine use.