The 2012 BET Awards celebrated the life of Whitney Houston in a tribute segment for the "I Will Always Love You" hitmaker. Mariah Carey opened the segment by sharing her story about her relationship with the late singer.
Dressing in a glittery gown, the wife of Nick Cannon recalled, "The first time I heard Whitney's voice, I was mesmerized like the rest of the world." She later talked about their first meeting backstage at the Grammy Awards and how they became friends after working together on "When You Believe", the "Prince of Egypt" soundtrack that won an Oscar.
The "We Belong Together" songstress then revealed she last saw Whitney in London about a year ago. "I miss my friend, and I miss hearing her voice and laughter, but we'll always have the music," she said. She took a pause as she fought back tears before continuing, "We'll always have that voice we all fell in love with. She inspired us all."
Later, Monica showed up on stage to deliver a moving rendition of "I Love the Lord" and Brandy brought the audience on their feet with a rendition of Whitney's classics "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody".
Whitney's brother Gary Houston also sang before introducing their mother Cissy Houston, who belted out "Bridge Over Troubled Water". "This is for you, Nip," she said, referring to her daughter's nickname. Last but not least, Chaka Khan lightened the mood with an energetic performance of "I'm Every Woman".
At the BET Awards that was held Sunday, July 1 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z & Kanye West, as well as Chris Brown took home two prizes each. Hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, the ceremony featured Usher, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz and Breezy among the other musical performers.