Campbell received the R&B icon award at the show, which was taped live May 19 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta. The two-hour program is set to air June 25 on Bounce TV.
Other honorees were Karyn White (soul music award), Mary Mary (gospel icon award), Keri Hilson (music and songwriter icon award), Dru Hill (urban music icon award), The Whispers (legends award) and Jerry Butler (lifetime achievement award).
As if to prove Campbell’s point, of these seven artists, only Mary Mary are Grammy winners. The duo has won two Grammys. Dru Hill has never even been nominated. The others listed here were nominated, but didn’t win.
The show was co-hosted by LeToya Luckett (who won two Grammys as an early member of Destiny’s Child) and comedian DeRay Davis.
Performance highlights included reunions of Kid N’ Play and Dru Hill.
Butler’s award wasn’t part of the initial announcement in April. Butler, 82, didn’t attend the event in person. Eric Roberson sang “For Your Precious Love,” a song Butler recorded in 1960 with The Impressions. Butler was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 as a member of that group. As a solo artist, he had three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 – “He Will Break Your Heart,” “Let It Be Me” (a collab with Betty Everett) and “Only the Strong Survive.”
Eric Bellinger and Avery Wilson sang Campbell’s “I’m Ready” and “Can We Talk,” both of which were top 10 hits on the Hot 100 in 1994. Keedron Bryant, best known for his BLM protest song “I Just Wanna Live,” also participated in the salute. Bryant is 14, the same age Campbell was in 1990 when he landed his first Hot 100 hit as a lead artist, “Round and Round.”
In a nice touch, sisters Ahjah and Rhea Walls sang “Shackles (Praise You),” from sister duo Mary Mary’s 2000 debut album, Thankful. Mary Mary’s recording of that song was a top 30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Tasha Page-Lockhart and Crystal Aikin sang Mary Mary’s “Yesterday.”
Jade Novah, Zonnique and Dondria Nicole sang Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock,” “Knock You Down” and “Turnin Me On.” Hilson’s “Knock You Down” (featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo) reached No. 3 on the Hot 100 in 2009.
Other performers included P.J. Morton, Dionne Farris, Carl Thomas, Kevin Ross, Amber Riley and Sheléa.
The special is produced by Chicago-based Central City Productions, which is also responsible for the Stellar Gospel Music Awards, among other programs. The firm was founded in 1970 by Don Jackson.
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