The historic Warner Theater was filled with an abundance of black excellence during last night's (Monday, March 14) airing of the 2016 BET Honors, which was originally taped on March 5. The ceremony celebrated the achievements and lives of five African-American visionaries in the areas of music, business, theater, technology and art. Usher paid tribute to his mentor and honoree, L.A. Reid, with a touching speech and a performance of some of his greatest hits.
Epic Records CEO and Chairman, L.A. Reid, was honored with the Business of Entertainment Award for his notable legacy in the music business and his ability to transform unknown talent into chart-topping artists. The three-time Grammy Award winner is responsible for launching the careers of some of the industry's biggest musicians and superstars like Usher, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Demi Lovato, TLC, Future, OutKast, Rihanna, Kanye West and many more.
What better way to showcase the many accomplishments of one's career than by acknowledging the person who discovered you? Although Usher was filled with appreciation and admiration for Reid before introducing him on stage, Usher believed he could express his gratitude better through song. The 37-year-old southern crooner laced the audiences with a medley of songs written and/or produced by Reid.
"L.A. Reid discovered a young Usher at the tender age of fourteen, and noticed that he had a serious work ethic and passion to be one of the greatest entertainers that the world has ever seen," according to BET.com. "Reid saw that star-power early and developed a young Usher into the 17 Billboard Music Award, nine ASCAP award, eight Soul Train Music Award and eight Grammy Award-winning artist he is today."
Usher kicked off his tribute by performing Bobby Brown's "Rock Wit'cha" and "Roni," two songs co-written by Babyface and produced by Reid. He explained how those songs not only inspired him, but ultimately propelled him to sign with LaFace Face Records. Usher, who was honored with the Musical Arts Award in 2015, revealed his burning desire to get a record with the dynamic duo, but that day never came.
Although showing a little sadness and disappointment for never collaborating with Reid and Babyface on a song, Usher went on to release a lengthy list of hit singles, multi-platinum selling albums, and awards under their guidance at the record label. Usher continued to entertain the crowd with radio favorites of his own, like "U Don't Have to Call" from his third studio album 8701 and "You Make Me Wanna" from his second studio album My Way.
The instant feel of nostalgia filled the room as members of the audience began standing up one-by-one to dance to the tracks. The 59-year-old record label maven couldn't help but sing along with Usher as he relieved his impressive journey toward music success.
Earlier this year, L.A. Reid released Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next. The memoir explores his past 25 years in the industry and the lasting impressions he's left with artists and music.
Watch his acceptance speech below: