Police officers, Secret Service agents and special security were a fitting presence on an evening packed with star power. They blocked off Washington, D.C., streets and redirected traffic on Saturday, January 14, as a fire-engine red carpet was run down 13th Street for the taping of the fifth annual BET Honors celebration at the historic Warner Theater.
An impressive mix of stars from the worlds of music, sports, Hollywood and politics were represented on the red carpet, from TV’s Judge Hatchett, who wore a long gown to camouflage the cast on her foot; to two-thirds of Destiny’s Child, singers Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams; newsmen Wolf Blitzer of CNN and BET’s new anchor, TJ Holmes; and Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell.
Perhaps the biggest “ah!" moments on the carpet came as Red Tails actor Terrence Howard appeared with his daughter as his date, and when the baby of the Smith family, Willow Smith, showed up looking very shy in her long, yellow dress and short haircut. Her father, Will Smith, looked on from a short distance away, opting to skip the red carpet.
Being in D.C., the night’s biggest buzz was reserved for First Lady Michelle Obama, as word spread just days prior that she would take the stage as part of the tribute to the prolific poet, author and humanitarian, Maya Angelou.
We also got wind of Kelly Rowland joining the stage with Raekwon of The WuTang Clan for Mariah Carey’s tribute. We’re excited to see how Kelly vocally matches Mariah.
It seemed that Mariah and hubby Nick Cannon were running a tad behind schedule as the couple had to skip the red carpet. The new parents made it to the Warner Theater just in the nick of time, being seated just moments before the ceremony began.
Other notable red carpet appearances included honoree Stevie Wonder, Anthony Hamilton and Jill Scott, who rocked a beautiful fur coat and vibrant blue nail polish. The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and her ex-fiancé slipped past most of the media, but did pause to pose for photographers. It was indeed an evening filled with Black royalty.
—Marcus A. Williams and Sonya Eskridge
Reporting by Ericka Boston