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Diddy reflected on his storied career while accepting the lifetime achievement award at Sunday’s BET Awards ceremony.
The segment began with a star-studded medley of hits on which the music superstar is credited. This included Jodeci’s “Come and Talk to Me,” Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Goin’ Down,” Puff Daddy’s “Victory,” Shyne’s “Bad Boyz,” Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins,” P. Diddy’s “I Need a Girl (Part Two),” Busta Rhymes’ “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II,” Diddy’s “Gotta Move On” and Puff Daddy and Faith Evans’ “I’ll Be Missing You.”
Among the performers who took the stage for the medley were Diddy, Lil’ Kim, Blige and many others. It also featured poignant footage of Kim Porter, Diddy’s former partner who died in 2018.
Before Diddy’s speech, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds gave an introduction that included a humorous anecdote about the star learning to ski. He concluded with, “Don’t sleep on Puffy. He’s a seriously great producer, y’all.”
Kanye “Ye” West, wearing a mask that covered his entire face, also gave a speech and recalled listening to “Benjamins” over and over. “This is my favorite artist — you see what I’m saying?” Ye said about the honored guest. “Back then, it was so many rules to hip-hop, and he broke all of them.”
Ye continued, “I go to him for advice to this day. He inspires so many of my life choices, my wife choices.” He later said he had been planning to take a yearlong hiatus from the public eye, but that Diddy convinced him to be involved with the awards show. “Any of us in the room, if Puff ever need us, we need to jump and be there,” Ye added.
Finally, Diddy exuberantly took to the stage to give his acceptance speech, where he thanked figures from his upbringing and earlier years, including his mom. He also remembered Porter: “Stay connected to God, and he will bring you out,” he said. “I miss Kim so much.”
He paid tribute to frequent collaborator the Notorious B.I.G., calling the late rapper “the greatest, period.”
Toward the end of the speech, Diddy said, “I’ve got this dream of Black people being free. I’ve got this dream of us controlling our own destiny. I’ve got this dream of us taking accountability and to stop killing each other. I’ve got this dream of us being rich and wealthy and living on the same block. I had this dream of us unifying, not just talk on the stages, but us — we know our community and our allies. If you are with us, don’t be silent. Put some money in the game.”
The star went on to say he was donating $1 million to Howard University, the school he once attended.
In a previously released statement, BET CEO Scott Mills praised Diddy for being “a pioneering force in our community, breaking barriers, achieving unprecedented heights, blazing new trails, and, in so doing, raising the bar for all of us.”
Previous recipients of the award include Blige, Prince, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah and Lionel Richie.
The BET Awards, hosted by Taraji P. Henson, aired live Sunday from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
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