On Sunday night, VH1 brought out the divas to Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom for a taping of the tribute show, VH1 Divas.
This year, the show paid homage to key areas where soul music was developed, like Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis and Philadelphia. The pre-MTV era divas for this round were Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Martha Reeves, and Wanda Jackson, while singers Kelly Clarkson, Ledisi, Jill Scott, and Jennifer Hudson repped new-school divadom. Working backing band duties for the evening was The Roots.
Highlights of the evening were plenty. Chaka Khan dueted with Mary J. Blige singing Khan’s classic “Ain’t Nobody.” Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius and Erykah Badu sang Soul II Soul's "Back To Life (However Do You Want Me).” For a tribute to Memphis, Mavis Staples shouted out Badu while singing "I'll Take You There," making reference to Badu's "Tyrone." And, in the category of “first time ever,” Mary J. and Jennifer Hudson joined voices (along with Kelly Clarkson) to sing “You Keep Me Hanging On.” In addition, a moving tribute to the late, great Amy Winehouse was performed by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. The group was introduced by Nas, who called Winehouse his "homegirl."
The special airs Monday, Dec. 19 at 9pm/8c on VH1.
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