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Janet Jackson, Jamie Foxx Lead Michael Jackson Tribute at BET Awards

janet-jacksonjamie-foxxRather than mourn Michael Jackson’s death, the celebrities who took to the stage at the 2009 BET awards celebrated the memory of the King of Pop with pumped-up performances, heartfelt words and a surprise appearance by the star’s own sister Janet Jackson.  The Shrine Auditorium ceremony kicked off with a tribute to young Michael, as ’80′s idols New Edition dressed up in funky ’70s-era clothes to sing the Jackson 5′s “ABC” and “The Love You Save.”  Host Jamie Foxx emerged wearing an outfit reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s famous “Beat It” gear: red leather jacket, cropped black pants, high white socks and black loafers. The Oscar winner then performed a dance sequence from Jackson’s video, moonwalking (and stumbling) across the stage to honor the pop superstar.  “We are here for the greatest. There’s no need to be sad,” said Foxx to a star-studded audience that included Diddy, Tyra Banks and Lil Wayne.  Other notable performances included Beyoncé’s costume-changing medley of “Ave Maria” and Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” Ciara’s take on Jackson’s “Heal the World” and Queen Latifah’s duet with Mary Mary on the gospel duo’s “God in Me.”  And in keeping with the night’s positive vibe, Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean both received humanitarian awards for their charitable works. Tributes to the late star continued throughout the night, and father Joe Jackson shed a tear in the audience after Ne-Yo’s performance of the King of Pop’s “Lady in My Life.”  (Jackson protégé Usher told  he had hoped to make the ceremony but couldn’t get back from overseas in time; I look forward to seeing the show and I plan to work on a tribute to Michael Jackson when I return,” he said.) As the awards came to an end, Janet Jackson surprised the crowd by taking the stage to give thanks to fans for their support in the wake of her brother’s death.  “My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful, so they elected me to be here,” Janet Jackson said.  “I’d just like to say, to you, Michael is an icon, to us, Michael is family. And he will forever live in all of our hearts. On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all of your love, thank you for all of your support. We miss him so much.”  After she left the stage, Foxx and Ne-Yo closed the show with the Jackson 5′s “I’ll Be There.”  Here’s the complete list of winners from the 2009 BET Awards:

Video of the Year: Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”
Male R&B Artis: Ne-Yo
Female R&B Artist: Beyoncé
Male Hip-Hop Artist: Lil Wayne
Female Hip-Hop Artist: M.I.A.
Gospel Artist: Mary Mary
New Artist: Keri Hilson
Group: Day 26
Collaboration: Jamie Foxx/T-Pain “Blame It”
Video Director: Benny Boom
Viewers’ Choice Award: T.I. (featuring Rihanna) “Live Your Life”
Actor: Will Smith
Actress: Taraji P. Henson
Female Athlete of the Year: Serena Williams
Male Athlete of the Year: LeBron James
Centric Award: Jazmine Sullivan

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