On November 25 following the Thanksgiving holiday, Cedric the Entertainer hosted the Soul Train Awards that honored the best in hip hop, Gospel, rhythm and blues and more. Industry favorites delivered moving performances and the best in the business, including Whitney Houston, were named.
Soul Train Awards 2012 was held at Planet Hollywood Live in Las Vegas and aired on BET on November 25
The most amazing win of the night was for best Gospel/Inspirational performance. The nominees included Mary Mary, BeBe Winans, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston. The pair teamed up for the song Celebrate that appeared in the film Sparkle. Jordin and Whitney took the win for Best Gospel/ Inspirational Performance in what may be the first of many posthumous wins for Whitney Houston, who suddenly passed away in February 2012. Like Houston, another important person missing from the show was Soul Train creator Don Cornelius.
While the night was a time to celebrate the best in soul music, it was also a time to honor the man behind the awards: Don Cornelius. Cornelius died in February 2012 and was greatly missed during the awards' ceremony. Videos of Cornelius played throughout the event and his son Anthony Cornelius delivered a stirring speech in honor of his father.
The competition for Best Album of the Year was fierce. With contestants such as Usher, R Kelly, Nas, Eric Benet and Frank Ocean, it was obvious this could have been anyone's game. The win went to Frank Ocean for "Channel Orange." Another highlight of the winners' circle was artist Miguel, who performed the song Adorn live and won for Best R&B Soul Mate Artist. Also be sure to keep an eye on rising star Elle Varner, who won the award for best new artist.
Surprises of the Night
The greatest surprise of the night was undoubtedly New Edition's lifetime achievement award and live medley of their greatest hits. As Whitney Houston won posthumously, it was strange seeing her former husband Bobby Brown being honored. New Edition performed hits such as Candy Girl and Mr. Telephone Man. Seeing New Edition performing their classics and the songs that catapulted them to fame brought into focus just how long their career has been. Did New Edition really form in 1978? Wow!
No, the President didn't leave the oval office in order to attend the event, but Stevie Wonder paid homage to the Commander in Chief during his performance. There was no mistaking Wonder's support as he performed his classic hit Signed, Sealed, Delivered while broadcasting photos of President Obama. The audience went wild, clearly approving the president's reelection.
The awards show featured plenty of live music that saw the audience rise from their seats while clapping, dancing and preparing to be thoroughly entertained. Stevie Wonder closed out the show with his Presidential Tribute that proved to be possibly the best way to end the event.
Though Bobby Brown and New Edition were honored for their musical contributions, there was one very noticeable snub that took place. When Bobby Brown spoke, he addressed those in his life who had helped him reach his goals. However, he didn't mention Whitney Houston. The omission was more glaring as Houston had won for best Gospel/Inspirational song.
It's unclear why Bobby Brown wouldn't give Whitney a shout out, especially since they have a child together, but it was unquestionably the largest snub of the night.
This year also marked the first time that Don Cornelius hadn't been part of the Soul Train Music Awards, and his absence was greatly missed. Though the awards wouldn't have been possible without Cornelius, it was evident that many artists credited Cornelius with their own career success. Don Cornelius touched many lives and paved the way for numerous careers. His death took many by surprise, and there is no doubt that though missed, his legacy continues to live on.