There were plenty of memorable moments at the 2012 BET Awards, ranging from Jay-Z poking fun at Kanye West about Taylor Swift-gate, and Whitney Houston receiving a moving tribute at the close of the show. More details on the biggest moments of the night, after the jump.
Jay-Z and Kanye West Win, Share a Moment
Kanye West and Jay-Z are known for being selective with their award show appearances–they both skipped the 2012 Grammys despite multiple nominations and wins–but The Throne showed up at the BET Awards on Sunday night (July 1) where they took the stage together to accept the trophy for Best Group.
West had just wrapped a ferocious performance with his G.O.O.D. Music crew, which found him spitting acapella and touching on everything from Whitney Houston to the Miami Heat winning the NBA Finals. He returned to the stage to accept honors, reminding the audience that he has a reputation for saying the wrong thing on stage. He teased that Jay usually keeps him in line (“I wish Jay-Z was here to say something politically correct for me”) and cue Hov’s entrance to applause from the crowd as he joined ‘Ye to give thanks.
The Throne even triumphed over Beyoncé for Video of the Year honors and Jay had some jokes to throw around during his acceptance speech. After receiving honors for the Maybach-torching, Spike Jonze-directed “Otis” clip from their 2011 album Watch the Throne, the stage was set for a callback to West’s most infamous awards-show moment.
“Excuse me, Kanye, I’mma let you continue, but … ” Jay joked to Kanye while passing the microphone. Eruptive crowd laughter ensued as Jay referenced West’s microphone snatch from Taylor Swift to defend Beyoncé at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Beyoncé’s reaction this time was one of uproarious laughter and clapping.
“I’m trying to defend your girl!” Kanye joked back. When the win was announced, Jay threw a few fake punches at Beyoncé in a playful show of affection and competition between hip-hop’s royal couple. In contrast, he tapped Kanye’s current love, Kim Kardashian, on the shoulder on his way to the stage when she went in for a hug.
Whitney Houston Tributed
More than three hours into the 2012 BET Awards, it was finally time for the Whitney Houston tribute. A lone black-and-white image of the late legend was dropped down from the ceiling, and out came Mariah Carey, dressed all in gold, smiling, her eyes clearly moist with tears.
“The first time I heard Whitney’s voice, I was mesmerized like the rest of the world. Just an unknown, budding singer myself, I was captivated by the power in her range, the richness of her tone and her unique ability to wrap a lyric in emotion,” Carey said. Carey talked for a while about Houston, sometimes laughing a bit as she recalled their first meeting backstage at the Grammys and the often-talked-about rumors of a diva rift between the two singers.
Ultimately, they worked together on the “Prince of Egypt” soundtrack, winning an Academy Award. “We really got to know each other as people. Not divas — OK, maybe occasionally it did get a little diva-ish — but that was just for laughs,” she said, before adding that Houston kept it real, which is why they got along so well. “If you really knew Whitney, you couldn’t help but love her,” she said.
The last time Carey said she saw her was exactly a year ago in London. “I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice and laughter. But we’ll always have the music,” Carey said, struggling to fight back tears as the crowd clapped her on in encouragement. “We’ll always have that voice we all fell in love with. She inspired us all.”
Her protégés Monica and Brandy then took the stage. Monica performed “I Love the Lord,” and Brandy came out with a set of backup dancers doing the classic Houston dance tracks “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
Houston’s brother, Gary Houston, performed before introducing their mother, Cissy Houston, who sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
“This is for you, Nip,” she said, referencing Whitney’s nickname.