The 2019 Soul Train Music Awards made its live on-air debut Sunday night (Nov. 17) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The action-packed night honoring this year's achievements in music was hosted by Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell, whose chemistry was well on display going back to their days playing Pam and Gina on Martin in the 90s.
Artists such as H.E.R., Chris Brown, Kirk Franklin took home some hardware, while Wale, Sir, Boys II Men, and K. Michelle hit the stage to deliver delightful performances throughout the night. Yolanda Adams was also honored with the Lady of Soul Award, as dynamic production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were bestowed with the Legend Award. Insecure's Issa Rae and Ari Lennox even popped up to introduce a couple of performers.
Here are our favorite moments from this year's BET Soul Train Music Awards.
Wale Shows His Black Pride With 'On Chill/Sue Me' Medley Featuring Jeremih & Kelly Price
Wale invaded the Soul Train Awards stage and made sure everyone in attendance was on their feet. He kicked off his performance by bringing out Jeremih for a soothing rendition of their "On Chill" collab, which served as the lead single from Folarin's Wow... That's Crazy album. After a quick wardrobe change into a black leather jacket, he was joined by the legendary Kelly Price to let the crowd know he was "rooting for everybody black" with "Sue Me." Images of black entertainment trailblazers like Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Colin Kaepernick, Oprah, and Issa Rae also rolled through the backdrop.
SiR Unites Inglewood With Stirring Performance Alongside Brother D. Smoke
SiR turned the Orleans Arena into a sunny Los Angeles boulevard. Flanked by a team of flight stewardesses, the Inglewood native moved into Chasing Summer standout "Hair Down," sans an appearance from Kendrick Lamar, who guests on the album version. After losing his oversized blue plaid jacket, he then teamed up with his older brother on the piano, D. Smoke, who is fresh off of winning Netflix's Rhythm + Flow competition, to perform the smooth "John Redcorn" in unison.
H.E.R. Wants the Next Generation of Artists to Recognize Who Paved the Way
H.E.R. knows her musical lineage, and she wants her millennial contemporaries to do the same. During her acceptance speech for the Best R&B/Soul Performer on the women's side, the "Slide" artist made sure to highlight the importance of Soul Train and how it casts a net much wider than one would believe. "If you're a Millennial or you're Gen Z you need to understand that Soul Train is more than just a show," she said in a navy kimono-styled dress. "it's Michael, it's Aretha. It's everything that came before us."
Summer Walker Wins Best New Artist
Beating out the likes of YK Osiris, Lucky Daye, Mahalia, Nicole Bus, and Pink Sweat$, Summer Walker earned herself Best New Artist honors at the Soul Train Awards. There's no doubt Walker put forth a strong 2019 on the back of her Over It album, which tallied the largest streaming week for an R&B project made by a woman.
Summer got honest with her fans following the show, admitting that she nearly didn't show up due to her severe social anxiety issues, but she persevered to have "the most amazing night ever" while winning her first award. As far as her acceptance speech, Walker kept things short and sweet thanking her team and London On Da Track along with the fans.
Queen Naija Shines With Heavenly "Good Morning Text" Performance
Who doesn't love a good morning text? Queen Naija entered through a mirror funhouse to take center stage in her loose fitting white blouse, as she belted out the tender lyrics reflecting on her past relationship issues with her boyfriend in attendance somewhere in the audience. Naija was joined by a couple of dancers while smoke filled the stage adding an element of flair to the performance.
Keyshia Cole, Le'Andria Johnson, Anthony Hamilton, Carl Thomas, Robert Glasper & Erykah Badu Put the Soul in the Soul Cypher
The Soul Cypher is back! With Erykah Badu providing the instrumental, each artist stepped up to put their own twist on the cypher, which included Le'Andria Johnson tunefully working in lyrics from Aaliyah's "One in a Million," while Keyshia Cole astutely weaved several of her song titles like "I Should've Cheated" and "Trust and Believe" to complete the punchlines to her verse.
Yolanda Adams Accepts Lady of Soul Award
Kirk Franklin hilariously presented the Lady of Soul Award to Yolanda Adams by jumping up trying to reach her in height while handing over the hardware. A touching tribute video commemorating the singer's career included moving cameos from Monica, Franklin, and more.
"I'm passionate about writing my story and my experiences to let people know no matter how high you are, you still have to deal, and the way I deal is with the Most High. He's been so good to me and I'm just grateful for the opportunity to serve," Adams said after taking the stage.
The Grammy-winning artist then performed a medley of her greatest hits as a celebratory toast to her epic career that included fan-favorites such as "Open My Heart," "Victory," "Born This Day," and "Someone Watching Over You."