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Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye West, Chris Brown Win Big at BET Awards

Cissy Houston leads tribute to late daughter Whitney

Cissy Houston performs during the 2012 BET Awards in Los Angeles.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images For BET
July 2, 2012 10:20 AM ET

At last night's BET Awards, Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Jay-Z and Kanye West were among those taking home top honors, with Beyoncé named best female R&B artist. Brown won best male artist, while Jay-Z and Kanye West earned best group for their collaborative album Watch the Throne. Jay-Z and Kanye also won video of the year for "Otis," while Nicki Minaj was named best female hip-hop artist. Comedian Kevin Hart took best actor and rapper Big Sean earned best new artist.

Honoring the late Whitney Houston, the awards show featured a touching tribute to the singer with performances by Monica, Brandy, Chaka Khan, Whitney's brother Gary and mother Cissy Houston, who earned a standing ovation for her performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The awards also honored the late Donna Summer, Dick Clark and Don Cornelius, and singer D'Angelo made his first televised performance in 12 years.

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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