Friday, June 21, 2024

BET Awards Adding Muhammad Ali Tribute; Stevie Wonder Joins Prince Salute

Muhammad Ali in a scene from the film 'The Greatest', 1977. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)
Muhammad Ali in a scene from the film ‘The Greatest’, 1977. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

*BET made a number of announcements Thursday surrounding its annual awards show on Sunday, June 26th, including the addition of Stevie Wonder in its anticipated Prince tribute, and a planned musical ode to the late Muhammad Ali.

At Wednesday night’s PRE, the annual kickoff to the BET Awards, host and BET chairman/CEO Debra Lee teased that the June 26 awards show will be a can’t-miss affair. “Trust me,” she said to invitees from the rooftop of the London Hotel in West Hollywood. “We can’t tell you everything, but this is going to be a tremendous show. Like Prince said, ‘Let’s go crazy’ — and we will be doing that on Sunday night. We will also be doing a tribute to Muhammad Ali.”

Recording artists Stevie Wonder (L) and Madonna perform a tribute to Prince onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Recording artists Stevie Wonder (L) and Madonna perform a tribute to Prince onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wonder, who was part of Madonna’s much maligned Prince tribute at last month’s Billboard Music Awards, will join Sheila E., D’Angelo, The Roots and Janelle Monae in singing for the Purple One, who died on April 21. Ali passed on June 3.

Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett, who play mother and son on “Empire,” were added as presenters in Thursday’s announcement.

The performance lineup includes Erykah Badu, Jennifer Hudson, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, French Montana, Young Thug, Bilal, Tori Kelly and emerging duo Chloe x Halle, who are signed to Beyonce’s Parkwood label.

At Wednesday night’s PRE event, Kelly Rowland, actress Holly Robinson, singers Luke James and Estelle, rap icon MC Lyte, legendary Motown executive Suzanne de Passe and 2016 BET Awards hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson were among the music and entertainment celebs on hand for the invite-only celebration.

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