When Erykah Badu hosts an award show (or anything, for that matter), you know it’s going to be epic. The 2017 Soul Train Awards was no different. Returning to the Orleans Arena, the Soul Train Awards descended upon Las Vegas, sprinkling Black joy and R&B excellence throughout the entire strip.
And what would the Soul Train Awards be without a little, or a LOT of soul? Performances by 112, Ro James, Luke James, Tank, Tamar Braxton, Keyshia Cole, Kirk Franklin, Jessie J, and Toni Braxton made for one soulful evening. Here are our favorite moments from the night.
SWV was honored with their first award of their entire career – the Lady of Soul award.
Can you believe that the same SWV that gave us “Weak,” “I’m So Into You,” and “Right Here,” have been nominated, but never awarded any award wins at any show throughout their 25-year career span? Well that ended this year. Coko, Taj and Lelee, collectively known as the Sisters With Voices accepted their award at the annual show, and delivered a heartfelt speech, speaking of the trials and tribulations of being in show business, their love for one another and also noting they’d been nominated for everything and yet to win anything – until now. And we were all so glad to witness them bask in their glory.
Speaking of SWV, there throwback performance with Method Man and U-God for “Anything” was everything. Rest in peace to Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
Erykah Badu opened the show making an impactful statement by taking a knee before the crowd.
In what has been an eventful year, where we have witnessed protesting, marching and kneeling, all for the basic acknowledgement that Black lives do matter in this country, there couldn’t be a Black award show (on BET, nonetheless) without paying homage to those who have been out in the field, doing the work for our people. Erykah’s poignant, yet powerful monologue, which also gave us a few laughs, focused on current events and included everything from faux Trump tweets to fake news. And we’re sure once POTUS gets a whiff of the diss, he’ll be sure to fire back with a few tweets, because of course, that’s what he does.
The Soul Cypher
Our favorite moment of the BET Hip Hop Awards, has found its way into the BET Soul Train Awards show as well. A spin-off on an important element of hip hop culture — the cypher — was showcased with a lot of soul. The Soul Cypher featured a mix of some of our favorite legendary and contemporary R&B and soul singers coming together to give us chills while they dropped some of their best vocal “bars.” The baddest, Badu, DJed the cypher while Faith Evans, Fantasia, Bilal and Mali Music brought their powerhouse vocals.
The Toni Braxton tribute
As one of the most popular and successful female R&B singers of the ’90s, Toni Braxton is an icon. Her sultry sound and powerful vocals gave us hit after hit throughout the ’90s and even to present date. So it’s no surprise that we were out of our seats when it was time for the Toni Braxton musical tribute. Though they enlisted some musical newcomers, the tribute was nothing short of amazing. Ro James, performed “Seven Whole Days,” Jessie J. performed “You Mean the World to Me,” and
Luke James closed with a jaw-dropping performance of “Unbreak My Heart” (y’all hear that high note?) that even had all the Braxton women out of their seats in the front row, before Toni Braxton was awarded with the coveted Legend Award. Toni Braxton proved that she’s still got it, when she touched the stage to also perform some of her biggest hits: “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” “You’re Making Me High,” and “He Wasn’t Man Enough for Me.”
And did anyone else catch the subtle shade of Tamar Braxton belting out those lyrics with her sister in the audience to “He Wasn’t Man Enough For Me?”
The Soul Train line
Just as Don Cornelius would bid the audience adieu by wishing us “peace, love and soullllllll,” the 2017 Soul Train Awards concluded with the legendary soul train line down the aisles of the Orleans Arena, with some of your favorite celebs boogeying down with their best dance moves.