Maxwell won the Soul Train Award for Best New Artist in 1997, nearly a quarter of a century ago.
On Sunday (Nov. 28), he won the Legend Award before delivering a dynamic performance of old and new hits.
He performed a medley of hits, including “Bad Habits,” “Lifetime,” “Sumethin’ Sumethin” and his new single, “Off.”
By the time he performed “Sumethin’ Sumethin’,” he remixed the lyrics and showed love to the Soul Train’s 50th anniversary, and encouraged the audience to sing along. He even hit a split. More participation continued as he entered the crowd to perform “Ascension.”
Maxwell, 48, is preparing the third and final installment for his trilogy blacksummers’NIGHT and released the first single, “Off,” in November. The first installment (BLACKsummers’night) was released as his fourth studio album in 2009.
He had a clear-cut goal when he burst into the R&B in the mid-90s: “how can I be in the mix but fill a void that could create its own lane.” He accomplished just that with his debut efforts, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite.
He reflected on his past and accomplishments in an emotional acceptance speech.
“We had food stamps, we had low-income housing,” he said. “But we had a radio. And the radio was the window to my dreams...
“I want to shout out the fact that as a Caribbean child who was born in Brooklyn, to be able to be included in the experience of the civil rights, southern movement, not just the Caribbean movement, he said. “For it to catch up and be included as Caribbean-Black people in the story.”