Recording artist of the year Kendrick Lamar and hip-hop recording artist of the year Jay-Z were among the artists honoured at the Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas.
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Established in 1979, the Soul Train Awards honour its roots in a musical dynasty that began with Don Cornelius’s Chicago-based Soul Train featuring dances from the south and other parts of the world. The show was syndicated on BET, MTV and other networks and has aired every year since its inception. The broadcast marked the unveiling of new Soul Train icons and Soul Train icons, along with an array of A-list performers, presenters and dancers who have served as “hosts” of the event for some time. The Soul Train icon award has been given to numerous artists including Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Teddy Pendergrass, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Gerald Levert, Bobby Womack, George Benson, Erykah Badu, Patti Labelle, Roberta Flack, Bobby Brown, Darlene Love, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Mary J Blige, and Anita Baker.
Soul Train founders Diana Muldrow and Don Cornelius’s son Shauna Cornelius was named Soul Train legend. Kerry Washington and Scott Patterson hosted the Soul Train Music Awards and host TJ Mizell delivered the opening monologue. The performances included a smooth set from the Don Cornelius High School Jazz Ensemble and Sheila E and the late Prince teaming up for their collaboration Us and Them.
“I knew America was built on your culture,” said the iconic soul singer and dancer Charlie Wilson during his performance. “When I was a kid, it was black music and black dancing, and at the end of the day, it’s still about the music. It’s good music. When I’m hitting the dance floor, there’s not a lot of competition.”
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The awards also recognised modern artists, who include rapper Post Malone, and singer Michael Jackson. In the multi-genre group category, it was honoured to celebrate Milli Vanilli, one of the most infamous moments in pop music history.