Kanye West Makes Surprise Appearance at 2022 BET Awards, Presents Diddy With Lifetime Achievement Award
By Mekishana Pierre and Leah Sarnoff
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The BET Awards gave Sean "Diddy" Combs his flowers on Sunday night. None other than Kanye "Ye" West took the stage to help present Diddy with the award alongside Babyface. Kanye talked about his history in the music industry with Diddy, looking up to him as an artist and even managed to crack a few jokes!
"How do we crown our kings? How do we appreciate our kings? To think how far we could just make it off of inspiration," Kanye said starting off his speech. "This is my favorite artist. You see what I'm saying? Favorite artist. Everything. Not specifically production, the drip. You know back then it was so many rules to hip hop. He broke all of them. Broke down all the doors."
Next, Diddy came onstage to receive the night's Lifetime Achievement Award. "First of all, I want to thank God. God, thank you so much. Never leaving my side, keeping me in my purpose, keeping me godly, lifting me up off the ground," Diddy began.
Diddy then went on to thank his mother, who was sitting in the crowd. Giving thanks to his peers in the industry and his fans, Diddy said, "Every artist, every producer, every writer, and every executive I had a chance to work, thank you to all of my fans who have been with me for over 25 years. I love y'all. I love y'all."
Diddy again paid tribute to Kim, who died in 2018. The two first started dating in 1994 and were together on and off for 13 years, before eventually calling it off for good in 2007. They shared three children together-- twin daughters Jessie James and D'Lila and son Christian.
“I just miss Kim, y’all. You know what I’m saying?" he shared. "I know we all go through grief and stuff like that and it’s like, you know, stay connected to God and he’ll bring you out. We don’t control this. I miss Kim so much and I just want to say thank you to Kim."
"I was in a dark place for a few years," he said. "I have to give a special shout-out, thank you, love, to the people that was really there for me. And also Cassie, for holding me down in the dark times, love."
At the end of his speech, Diddy announced he was donating $1 million to Howard University, and another $1 million to Jackson State University.
"I mean, it means everything," the City Girls rapper said about being there to support him, also agreeing that the honor was long overdue. "I am just excited to be here. Shout-out to Diddy. It's about him tonight, period, and he's getting the Lifetime Achievement Award."
Diddy's sons, Christian "King" Combs and Quincy Brown, also talked to ET backstage about what it meant to see their dad being honored.
"Pops been waiting for this moment for such a long time and for him to finally get his flowers and be up there on the big stage doing what he gotta do? I was just proud and he went crazy though," King said.
Quincy added, "It's an emblematic moment, you know? Because, like, we at the house with it, you know? So, we get to celebrate at home, but to celebrate with everybody, you know, that just meant a lot. I mean, I was crying up there just from being proud."
Diddy's moment was one host Taraji P. Henson previously told ET she was looking forward to, citing Diddy's impact on the Black culture as a media mogul.
"Diddy means so much to the culture -- I mean, you can't talk about hip hop, you can't talk about fashion, you can't even talk about alcohol without his name coming up," she noted. "[He's an] iconic, legendary star to so many careers and he should be celebrated. We should give him his flowers while he's still alive to receive them. It's about time."
The award honors industry giants who have not only significantly shaped culture through their extensive careers, but who have also been transformative leaders that consistently inspire generations by setting a true standard of excellence. Past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include industry legends such as Whitney Houston, Prince, Queen Latifah, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, Samuel L. Jackson, Lionel Richie and New Edition.
Meanwhile, after years of working in fashion, liquor and television, the Bad Boy Entertainment founder recently announced that he was making his grand return to music by starting an R&B-focused music label, Love Records, with the backing of the classic label Motown.
Diddy, who is managed by SAL&CO, where he is represented by Wassim "Sal" Slaiby, also signed a one-time album deal with Motown Records. The album will be released under the Love Records imprint and drop in the summer.
"Music has always been my first love, Love Records is the next chapter, is about getting back to the love and making the best music of my life," the prolific producer said in a statement. "For the label, I'm focused on creating timeless R&B music with the next generation of artists and producers. Motown is the perfect partner for my album and I’m excited to add to its legacy."