LOS ANGELES — With a speech about his own inspirational dream for the Black community, Sean “Diddy” Combs channeled the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while accepting the BET Awards’ highest honour Sunday night.
After Combs received his Lifetime Achievement Award, the music mogul said God put a special message in his heart to deliver his “new dream.” He was presented the award by Babyface and Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), who called Combs his “favourite artist” growing up.
“I got this dream of Black people being free,” Combs said, with Babyface and Ye standing behind him at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. “I got this dream of us controlling our own destiny. I got this dream of us taking accountability and stop killing each other. I got this dream of us being rich and wealthy and living on the same block. I have this dream of us unifying.”
The BET Awards celebrate the contributions that people of color have made through the entertainment realm, highlighting winners in 19 categories, including film and sports.
Doja Cat, Drake and Ari Lennox entered the awards with the most nominations, but came away with no trophies. Silk Sonic — formed by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — won two awards including album of the year for their project “An Evening with Silk Sonic.”
The show’s Oscar-nominated host, Taraji P. Henson, said Combs’ influence is “big for the culture.”
During Combs’ speech, he paid homage to the late Andre Harrell, who launched his career, as well as his mother for working several jobs during his childhood and the late Kim Porter, his longtime girlfriend and mother of his three children.
“I miss you so much Kim,” said Combs. Earlier, in a star-studded tribute performance to Combs, he dedicated an emotional video montage to Porter. The nostalgic tribute included appearances from Mary J. Blige, Lil Kim, Busta Rhymes, Jodeci, Shyne and Faith Evans.
Combs founded Bad Boy Records and is a three-time Grammy winner who has worked with a slew of top-tier artists including Notorious B.I.G., Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Evans and 112. He created the fashion clothing line called Sean John, launched Revolt TV with a focus on music and has his own vodka. He also produced the reality show “Making the Band” for MTV.
In 2004, the rapper-producer played Walter Lee Younger in the Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” which aired as a television adaption four years later. He’s also appeared in films including “Get Him to the Greek” and “Monster’s Ball.”