(Reuters) – Stars paid tribute to the late singer Prince at Sunday’s Black Entertainment Television awards in a series of performances honoring the late singer, while veteran actor Samuel L. Jackson was honored for lifetime achievement.
The tributes came from entertainers ranging from Erykah Badu and the Roots to Stevie Wonder, Dave Chapelle and Jennifer Hudson, who sang one of Prince’s most iconic hits, “Purple Rain.” Prince, 57, died in April at his home in Minnesota.
The string of performances spanned the more-than three and one-half hour BET broadcast, which was hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.
Boxer Muhammad Ali, who died earlier this month aged 74, was also honored in a special tribute which included his daughter, Laila and Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx.
Jackson, accepting BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award which usually honors musicians, paid tribute to fellow honoree Jesse Williams, who received the Humanitarian Award, calling the “Grey’s Anatomy” star ” the closest thing I’ve heard to a 1960s activist.”
Top awards handed out at the ceremony included best actor and actress to Michael Jordan and Taraji Henson respectively, while Bryson Tiller was named best new artist as well as best male R&B pop artist. Rihanna took best female R&B pop artist.
Drake & Future won best group, Beyonce’s “Formation” took the award for video of the year, and Drake, who led the nominations with nine, also took home the prize for best male hip-hop artist. Nicki Minaj won best female hip-hop artist.
Sportswoman and sportsman of the year went to Serena Williams and Stephen Curry.
Beyonce also opened the marathon show with a surprise performance of “Freedom,” appearing alongside Kendrick Lamar.
(Editing by Chris Michaud and Michael Perry)