BET honored pop icon Janet Jackson at the 2015 BET Awards on Sunday with the Ultimate Icon: Music and Dance award for her decades long career. Ciara, who made it a date night with new beau Russell Wilson, Jason Derulo and R&B newcomer Tinashe performed a dance melody of the 49-year-old's hits ranging from “Pleasure Principle,” “If,” “All for You” and “Rhythm Nation.”
After the high-energy performance, Ms. Jackson herself graced the stage at Los Angeles’s Microsoft Theatre and accepted her award. “It’s been a very long journey,” said the icon, as she made her way to the stage for the first time in almost a decade. “My heart is so full. Thank you God for making everything possible. I’m so grateful for the support you’ve always given me, to my beautiful father and my beautiful mother.”
Although she did not perform, fans won’t have to wait another 10 years to see her on stage or hear new music. On Monday, the "Rhythm Nation" star released her new single “Don’t’ Sleep” and last month announced her 36-date “Unbreakable” world tour, which kicks off in Vancouver in August.
Janet wasn’t the only one on Sunday to make her return to the stage. P. Diddy and Bad Boy records celebrated 20 years with a star-studded performance that featured the label's alum: Mase, 112, Faith Evans and a surprise cameo from the Queen Bee herself, Lil Kim.
Robin Thicke, Tori Kelly , who impressed many including Snoop Dogg, and Ne-Yo performed in honor of soul legend Smokey Robinson as he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other notable BET Awards guest included, Nicki Minaj, who was accompanied by her mom and rapper boyfriend Meek Mill, Chris Brown, Amber Rose and Blac Chyna in matching white outfits to show their support of marriage equality, Janelle Monet, Rihanna, the cast of Empire and Michael B. Jordan. The stars of ABC’s hit comedy series Blackish Anthony Anderson , and Tracee Ellis Ross hosted the award ceremony.