Closing out one of the most emotional Black Music Months in the BET Awards' 15-year history, none other than Patti LaBelle delivered the night's most powerful note.
"We're here celebrating that all people can love whoever you want... and you can even get married," she said, alluding to the recent Supreme Court decision.
Tamar Braxton and K. Michelle set the stage, settling their "R&Beef" and teasing to their social media followers that they had a special performance planned. Both belted out a one song set, individually, at first, before going into a duet rendition of LaBelle's "If Only You Knew." That was when Braxton introduced the unexpected: LaBelle herself had shown up to show out.
At least one tweet captured the sentiment precisely.
The moment of sisterhood capped off the final moments of the BET Awards, which also included Nicki Minaj picking up the Coca-Cola Viewers Choice Award (and dropping another #NoShade hint to... well, she didn't say who), Tracee Ellis Ross stepping up what it means to be a "Trap Queen," and Fetty Wap serenading her –– or probably, T-Murda –– and the rest of the audience with his hit single.
Kendrick Lamar opened the night, setting the tone with a live performance of a track off his To Pimp A Butterfly, "Alright" with an added previously hidden verse. The backdrop was an American flag, tattered, worn, like the exhaustive struggle for peace and civil rights that marked June 2015. He and his backup dancers, in dramatic disobedience, made police cars their carboard boxes.
Watch Ms. Patti, Tamar and K. Michelle rip the 2015 BET Awards stage in the exclusive video below.
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(Photo: Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)