BET Awards: Nipsey Hussle Tribute Features John Legend, DJ Khaled
The late rapper's family members also took the stage, delivering emotional speeches and accepting the honor on his behalf.
Nipsey Hussle was posthumously honored with the Humanitarian Award at the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday, with the help of some of his former collaborators, like John Legend and Marsha Ambrosius.
T.I. introduced the award, describing Hussle as "more than a rapper, a teacher, an activist and a philanthropist."
"He was a revolutionary," T.I. said. "His emphasis on the power of equity and ownership of our art led the charge of independence and created the blueprint of up-and-coming artists today to follow."
He continued, "It's been nearly three months since we lost Nip, and many are still discovering how legendary he really was. That's because Nip wasn't a clout chaser or a social media activist. He was a real one, a true king — simply concerned with promoting human welfare [and] uplifting those around him."
Snoop Dogg, Ava DuVernay and more discussed the late rapper's legacy in a video before his family members and Lauren London took the stage to accept the award. Both Hussle's mother and father delivered emotional speeches.
A slew of performances followed. Legend was joined by DJ Khaled and a full gospel choir for "Higher," while YG delivered "Last Time That I Checc'd."
Hussle was shot and killed in March outside of his Marathon clothing store in Los Angeles. BET executive vp and head of programming Connie Orlando said it's "an immense honor" to recognize him with this year's Humanitarian Award.
"As a prolific artist and leader, Nipsey Hussle was zealous about driving change for the betterment of his community, empowering and employing those in need and being an influential and highly respected leader," Orlando said. "His passing was a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry and to the culture. We will continue to remember his advocacy and be inspired by the groundwork he set forth and his dire commitment to social change. We are forever grateful, humbled and honored to have experienced his presence and we are invested in doing our part to ensure that the marathon will indeed continue."
The honor was particularly meaningful as the BET Awards took place in Hussle's hometown of L.A.
Regina Hall hosted the 19th annual ceremony from Microsoft Theater.