Janet Jackson Makes Surprise Appearance at BET Awards
An emotional Janet Jackson took the stage at Sunday's BET Awards to thank the fans for their support in the difficult days following her brother Michael's shocking death.
See our complete coverage of Jackson's death
Host Jamie Foxx escorted her to the microphone, where she said she was going to be brief. "To you, Michael is an icon; to us, Michael is family," she said, holding back tears. "He will forever live in our hearts. On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all your love and support. We miss him so much. Thank you so much."
Jackson's appearance (her father, Joe, was also in the audience) was just one of many surprises at the awards show, which had to be almost entirely re-imagined as a tribute after Jackson's death on Thursday.
See how Jackson's friends and colleagues reacted to his death
Foxx set the tone for the evening early on. "No need to be sad — we want to celebrate this black man. He belonged to us; we shared him with everyone," he said, to enthusiastic applause. Throughout the night, Foxx wore Jackson's signature fashions and interpreted his best-known songs and choreography. In one segment, he moonwalked across the stage in a red, zippered leather jacket.
There were other musical tributes as well. A fully reunited New Edition (yes, including Bobby Brown) opened the show with a medley of The Jackson 5 hits, including "ABC" and "The Love You Save." An ethereal Beyonce, wearing a veil and a transparent costume that resembled a wedding dress, sang Sarah MacLachlan's "Angel" and a chorus or two of "Ave Maria," in Latin. At the end of the show, immediately following Janet Jackson's appearance, Foxx and Ne-Yo teamed up for a tender rendition of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There."
Look back at Jackson's life in pictures
Other surprise performances included those by Bell Biv Devoe, who churned out their infectious megahit "Poison"; Queen Latifah, who added her voice to the gospel-pop duo Mary Mary; and Jay-Z, who unveiled "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)." The jazzy rap-rock hybrid, enriched with electric guitars and organ and squawky tenor-sax riffs, acts as a clever diss of the recent trend toward electronically enhanced voices in hip-hop music (think T-Pain).
Soul trio The O'Jays received a lifetime achievement award, while Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean both took home recognition for their humanitarian endeavors.
Click here for a complete list of the evening's winners.
Did you watch the show? What were the highlights for you?