Janet Jackson and Jamie Foxx Pay Tribute to Michael Jackson at Emotional BET Awards
The crowd fell silent as Janet Jackson madder her first public appearance since her brother’s death last week as she joined a host of stars honoring the King of Pop. Clad all in white, a visibly distraught Janet walked on to the stage at Hollywood’s Shrine Auditorium before thanking fans for their love and support after the sudden passing of her big brother, Michael Jackson.
Miss Jackson remained strong as she fought back tears while addressing the audience. “My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was too painful,” said the tearful singer to the crowd which cheered and stood on its feet. “To you, Michael is an icon,” Janet said. “To us, Michael is family. He will forever live in all of our hearts. “On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all of your love, thank you for all of your support. We miss him so much. Thank you so much.”
At the end of her speech, the celebrity crowd rose to its feet. After a standing ovation, during which many stars wiped away tears, host Jamie Foxx, who hosted the event, paid his respects with a series of Jackson-style outfits and moonwalked the length of the stage. Throughout the night, Foxx also regularly turned up in some of Jackson’s signature looks, like the wide-collar black leather outfit from Billie Jean.
A reunited New Edition, which included singer Bobby Brown opened the show with their 70s style tribute to Michael. The 1980s teen sensations who were considered that generation’s Jackson 5 with their own version of bubble-gum soul, ran through several of the Jackson 5’s greatest hits, from ‘I Want You Back’ to ‘ABC,’ mirroring their idols right down to the group’s original choreography. Later, Foxx was joined on the stage by rapper NE-YO for an emotional rendition of “I’ll Be There” to the backdrop of photos of the late pop icon. Most of the acts incorporated classic Jackson tunes into their performance in a night when award winners had no chance of stealing the show from the absent main attraction.
Speaking on the red carpet, Michael’s father Joe Jackson voiced regret that his son had not known how much the public adored him. “I wish the world had recognized him when he was living,” he said. “Right now, he’s bigger than ever. But I wish he was here to see all this, to hear all this.” Asked how he would like his son to be remembered, the grieving father replied: ‘I would like him to be remembered forever around the world. And we know that all over the world, everybody is supporting him at the moment.’
The award show organizers decided to make the event a celebration of the 50-year-old’s life and music after the announcement of his death on Thursday. ‘When we heard that he had passed, we knew we had to revamp this year’s show and make it special for him,’ BET’s chief executive Debra Lee said.