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Soul Train Awards 2023: Biggest Speech-Winning Moments from This Year’s Show

T-Pain accepted the “Legends Award,” thanking those who’ve supported him through tough times, including rapper and life coach David Banner.

The “Soul Train Awards”  have evolved into a platform not solely dedicated to music but also for impactful speeches that deeply resonate. This year, the theme centered on gratitude, and artists like T-Pain, Janelle Monáe, and Coco Jones claimed top honors, expressing heartfelt thanks to their community for unwavering support. 

In honor of this year’s show, hosted by Emmy-nominated actress and singer Keke Palmer, check out three speech moments that reminded us of the significance of community support.

  • Coco Jones

    Coco Jones accepted the “Best New Artist.” The seasoned singer shared, “I hope that I can do my culture justice, continue to be passionate and break down barriers and create more platforms for us like ‘Soul Train Awards’ has done for so long.” She added, “I’m so honored,” before going on to thank her mother, family, and team for their support.

  • T-Pain gives thanks to his support system

    T-Pain earned this year’s ”Legends Award” honoree, presented by his longtime friend and personal “life coach,” David Banner.  

    “When I finally got the courage to ask somebody for help with my life, I went straight to David Banner, and the words he gave me in the three hours of us talking set a whole different trajectory of where my life was headed,” said the honoree,” the rapper turned singer shared. 

    The 39-year-old joked that it was a “little weird” to be receiving a legend’s swards so soon. 

    He also thanked his wife, Amber Najm, sharing, “The kind of person I was, the kind of person I’ve become, and to just be there as the same wife and the same woman through the entire thing and be one of the strongest people I know,” he expressed in his acceptance speech. “Dealing with the internet, dealing with my negatives and my flaws and staying with me. Just dealing with T-Pain and Faheem is a feat I have yet to figure out my damn self, so thank you, baby.”

  • Janelle Monáe makes history while accepting the “Spirit of Soul Award”

    At this year's ceremony, the Los Angeles-based hip-hop duo Flyana Boss awarded Janelle Monáe with the "Spirit of Soul Award," previously known as the "Lady of Soul Award." Monáe highlighted the importance of the recognition and the significant impact of the term "soul" and its influence.

    “It’s nothing like being recognized by your own—by your own family—yall are family to me,” they shared.  “Thank you so much, BET, thank you so much, Soul Train. Thank you for keeping the soul alive. So many people have reinvented that word and I’m just so honored to have something like this for us that continues to evolve and showcase so many different forms of what soul can be.”

    Monáe continued by expressing their aspirations to become a symbol of love and representation for the Black community. 

    “I’ve always wanted to shine a light on our community through my storytelling, through the art that I make, through movies, music, fashion; bringing it back around to us, to our Blackness, to our beauty. And I cannot help but think about the spirit of so many who’ve had to whisper to me, ‘thank you,’ in my ear because they did not feel seen. They did not feel safe. And they felt unheard for far too long. I’m thankful to be able to show up for you.”

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