BET Awards 2023 must-see moments: Patti LaBelle’s lyric mishap to … – Los Angeles Times

Without a host or script, the 2023 BET Awards rolled through Los Angeles on Sunday amid the ongoing writers’ strike.

But even without its host of the past two years, Taraji P. Henson, the star-studded ceremony proved memorable.

This year’s awards was marked by striking, tear-jerking tributes to artists past, present and deceased in its last ceremony at the venue under its Microsoft Theater name. The AEG venue, home to the BET Awards for the last decade, will be renamed Peacock Theater in July.

Busta Rhymes cried. Hip-hop legends graced the stage. An R&B newcomer gave a rousing speech. And Patti LaBelle made a lyrical mishap sound glorious.

Here are the top five moments from the emotional ceremony, and the complete list of winners.

Quavo and Offset reunite to honor Takeoff

The last time slain Migos rapper Takeoff was honored at an awards show, Quavo reportedly refused to let Offset onto the Grammys stage for the performance. What allegedly ensued was a backstage fight and beef between the bandmates.

Yet on Sunday, the pair seemed to have set their differences aside, reuniting at the 2023 BET Awards for an unheralded performance honoring the third member of the group.

Takeoff’s verse from the Migos’ “Hotel Lobby” kicked off the tribute. Quavo and Offset danced together onstage before pointing up toward a towering projection of a space shuttle blasting off. Then, as flames engulfed the stage, the pair launched into the group’s 2016 hit “Bad and Boujee.” Takeoff died in a Houston shooting in November at age 28.

Offset and Quavo performing onstage at the 2023 BET Awards in Los Angeles.

(Paras Griffin / Getty Images for BET)

Cardi B, who is marred to Offset and reportedly broke up the alleged Grammys tiff, celebrated the reunion on social media, tweeting, “I can’t take it right now (crying emojis) … proud of the boys,” atop a meme of a tearful man.

“I’m gonna cry,” the “Up” rapper added on her Instagram story as she tuned in from an iPhone, screaming in glee. “I know they wanna cry!”

Atlanta hip-hop legend T.I. greeted the duo backstage after the performance, dapping it up while exclaiming, “Love to see it.”

Busta Rhymes let the tears roll

When Busta Rhymes accepted his BET lifetime achievement award, the Brooklyn-born rapper stared at an applauding audience on their feet with a stern expression for half a minute before saying, “I’mma wear it on my sleeve — I do wanna cry.”

The applause grew louder as Busta bowed his head, removing his sunglasses to reveal tears streaming down his face. He wiped his eyes and nose with a white towel and joked, “They told me I got two minutes,” then proceeded to give a speech that lasted about 10.

Busta, born Trevor Smith Jr., told the story of his tenacious rise in the 1990s while transitioning from his hip-hop group Leaders of the New School into a solo career. He recalled squeezing his way into studio recording sessions to land collaborations on tracks and build industry relationships.

“This was my way of finding out how to feed my son,” Busta said, with his eldest child of six, T’Ziah Wood-Smith, now 30, smiling in the audience. Busta went on to call for an end to “petty beefs” and to instead “love each other.” He also demanded a cease to generational division in hip-hop, shouting out rising stars and major acts, including Ice Spice and Coi Leray, alongside J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan.

Previous lifetime achievement recipients include Diddy, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Samuel L. Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Prince, James Brown and Whitney Houston.

Hip-Hop celebrates 50 years

The BET Awards celebrated 50 years of hip-hop by bringing out legends of the culture for a lengthy performance, spanning multiple regions, eras and styles.

The performance, led by DJ Kid Capri, kicked off with Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” then moved to works by artists of the 1980s, such as MC Lyte and Big Daddy Kane.

Unlike the Grammys hip-hop birthday bash, , there was a greater showing of Southern artists — T.I., Jeezy, Ying Yang Twins, Master P Uncle Luke and Trick Daddy — and other subgenres, such as drill and trap, with artists like Chicago drill pioneer Chief Keef sounding off with “Faneto.”

The West Coast was represented by legends Warren G, Yo-Yo and new-school act, Tyga. Other acts performed, including legends MC Lyte and Big Daddy Kane, along with New Jersey rapper Redman, New York group EPMD and others.

Patti LaBelle forgot the lyrics to a Tina Turner classic

Though the scriptless BET Awards were otherwise smooth, Patti LaBelle’s tribute performance to Tina Turner, who died in May at age 83, was an exception.

As the R&B icon sang her way through a cover of Turner’s “The Best,” LaBelle paused, seemingly forgetting the lyrics. She then filled the gaps by improvising, singing still in tune, “What if I can’t see the words I don’t know,” before yelling out, “I’m trying y’all!” She eventually regained her composure for the chorus without skipping a beat.

Patti LaBelle singing into a microphone on stage with her hand raised, wearing a sparkly dress with tasles

Patti LaBelle reportedly had trouble seeing a teleprompter during her performance of Tina Turner’s “The Best” during the 2023 BET Awards.

(Paras Griffin / Getty Images for BET)

LaBelle had struggled to see the teleprompter, which had been obstructed by the crowd, which had jumped to its feet for the performance, a BET spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter.

The awkward moment reminded fans at home of the 1996 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, during which LaBelle encountered another onstage problem. In front of then-President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton and televised on C-SPAN, LaBelle laughably maneuvered her way through a cover of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” despite miscommunication with the stage’s cue-card holder and her missing background singers.

“Patti Labelle giving us ‘where my background singers’ 2.0.” tweeted drag performer the Vivienne, winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.” “I am living! She’s a bloody icon!”

“Patti LaBelle giving us a sequel to Where’s My Background Singers is wonderful, serotonin-inducing camp,” wrote British TV presenter Phil Clifton. “10/10, no notes.”

Coco Jones wins new artist award

The field for the new artist award this year was crowded, highlighted by breakout acts such as Doechii, Ice Spice and Glorilla. But rising above the pack was R&B singer and “Bel-Air” actor Coco Jones.

In a brief but raw and spirited speech, Jones took the stage with her award in hand, tearing up, pointing to her mother and family, while exclaiming, “I’m so happy — thank you, Jesus.”

The 25-year-old “ICU” singer recalled appearing on BET’s “106 & Park” at age 16 in 2013 wearing “them tight, little gray skinny jeans and my sneakers.”

After thanking “my culture,” her team for “taking a chance” on her despite not “having anything going for me at that time,” and God, she went on to shoutout “all of my Black girls.”

“We do have to fight a little harder to get what we deserve, but don’t stop fighting,” Jones continued. “Even when it doesn’t make sense and you’re not sure how you’re gonna get out of those circumstances, keep pushing, because we are deserving of great things, y’all. I’m gonna continue to give you all my everything”

Here is the complete list of winners.

Album of the Year

“Anyways, Life’s Great,” GloRilla
Breezy, Chris Brown
“God Did,” DJ Khaled
“Her Loss,” Drake & 21 Savage
“Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” Kendrick Lamar
“Renaissance,” Beyoncé | WINNER (tie)
“SOS,” SZA | WINNER (tie)

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Ari Lennox
Coco Jones

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Brent Faiyaz
Burna Boy
Chris Brown | WINNER (tie)
The Weeknd
Usher | WINNER (tie)

Best Group

City Girls
Drake & 21 Savage | WINNER
Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin
Quavo & Takeoff

Best Collaboration

“Big Energy (Remix),” Latto & Mariah Carey Feat. Dj Khaled
“Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2,” PinkPantheress & Ice Spice
“Call Me Every Day,” Chris Brown Feat. Wizkid
“Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” King Combs Feat. Kodak Black
“Creepin’,” Metro Boomin, the Weeknd & 21 Savage
“F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” Hitkidd & GloRilla
“Tomorrow 2,” GloRilla & Cardi B
“Wait For U,” Future Feat. Drake & Tems | WINNER

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist

Cardi B
Coi Leray
Ice Spice
Latto | WINNER
Megan Thee Stallion
Nicki Minaj

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist

21 Savage
J. Cole
Jack Harlow
Kendrick Lamar | WINNER
Lil Baby

Video of the Year

“We (Warm Embrace),” Chris Brown
“2 Million Up,” Peezy, Jeezy & Real Boston Richey feat. Rob49
“About Damn Time,” Lizzo
“Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy
“First Class,” Harlow
“Kill Bill,” SZA | WINNER
“Tomorrow 2,” GloRilla & Cardi B

Video Director of the Year

ASAP Rocky for AWGE
Benny Boom
Burna Boy
Cole Bennett
Dave Free & Kendrick Lamar
Director X
Teyana “Spike Tey” Taylor | WINNER

Best New Artist

Coco Jones | WINNER
Ice Spice
Lola Brooke

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

“Bless Me,” Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin | WINNER
“Finished (Live),” Tamela Mann
“I’ve Got Joy,” CeCe Winans
“Kingdom,” Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin Feat. Naomi Raine & Chandler Moore
“New,” Tye Tribbett
“One Moment From Glory,” Yolanda Adams
“The Better Benediction (Pt.2),” PJ Morton feat. Lisa Knowles-Smith, Le’andria Johnson, Keke Wyatt, Kierra Sheard & Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Viewer’s Choice Award

“About Damn Time,” Lizzo
“Break My Soul,” Beyoncé | WINNER
“First Class,” Jack Harlow
“Jimmy Cooks,” Drake featuring 21 Savage
“Kill Bill,” SZA
“Last Last,” Burna Boy
“Super Freaky Girl,” Nicki Minaj
“Wait For U,” Future featuring Drake & Tems

Best International Act

Aya Nakamura (France)
Ayra Starr (Nigeria)
Burna Boy (Nigeria) | WINNER
Central Cee (U.K.)
Ella Mai (U.K.)
Ko (South Africa)
L7nnon (Brazil)
Stormzy (U.K.)
Tiakola (France)
Uncle Waffles (Swaziland)

Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act

Asake (Nigeria)
Camidoh (Ghana)
Flo (U.K.)
Libianca (Cameroon) | WINNER
Maureen (France)
MC Ryan SP (Brazil)
Pabi Cooper (South Africa)
Raye (U.K.)
Werenoi (France)


“About Damn Time,” Lizzo
“Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2,” PinkPantheress & Ice Spice
“Break My Soul,” Beyoncé | WINNER
“Her,” Megan Thee Stallion
“Lift Me Up,” Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From And Inspired By – Rihanna & Ludwig Göransson
“Players,” Coi Leray
“Special,” Lizzo

Best Movie

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” | WINNER
“Creed 3”
“The Woman King”
“Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

Best Actor

Amin Joseph
Brian Tyree Henry
Damson Idris | WINNER
Daniel Kaluuya
Demetrius ‘Lil Meech’ Flenory Jr.
Donald Glover
Michael B. Jordan

Best Actress

Angela Bassett | WINNER
Coco Jones
Janelle James
Janelle Monáe
Keke Palmer
Viola Davis

Youngstars Award

Akira Akbar
Alaya High
Demi Singleton
Genesis Denise
Marsai Martin | WINNER
Thaddeus J. Mixson
Young Dylan

Sportswoman of the Year Award

Alexis Morris
Allyson Felix
Angel Reese | WINNER
Candace Parker
Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams
Sha’carri Richardson

Sportsman of the Year Award

Aaron Judge
Bubba Wallace
Gervonta Davis
Jalen Hurts | WINNER
LeBron James
Patrick Mahomes
Stephen Curry

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