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Tonight, BET HONORS 2015 salutes Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, Grammy Award-winning rapper Kanye West, multi-platinum recording star Usher and more. Watch a preview of Kanye’s speech, Wayne Brady’s intro and our exclusive red carpet interviews inside….

A few weeks ago attended the BET HONORS 2015 hosted by Wayne Brandy. Held at The Warner Theatre in Washington, DC, THE BET HONORS 2015 tonight at 9 PM ET/PT.

The 8th annual gala pays tribute to the contributions of legendary African Americans in the areas of education, theater, business and technology, music and innovation. The show honors Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad (Award for Theatrical Arts), Grammy Award-winning entrepreneur Kanye West (Award for Education), multi-platinum recording star Usher (Award for Musical Arts), Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole (Technology and Business Award) and CEO of privately held Virtual Instruments and the Chairman of Microsoft Corporation John W. Thompson (Award for Theatrical Arts).

The inspirational evening also featured wonderful performances from Ne-Yo, K. Michelle, Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, Patti LaBelle and Charlie Wilson.

And Keisha Knight Pulliam, Anthony Anderson, Damon Dash, Bobby Brown, Glynn Turman and Diahann Carroll were among the fabulous presenters.

We also witnessed Kanye’s acceptance speech. By the way….he’s now “humble.” He received The “Visionary” Award and Damon Dash was on hand to present it – and that was a controversy in itself. As we’ve told you previously, the two are back in each other’s good graces and are working on film projects together. Outside of Dame – Kanye’s speech was very “Kanye.” It went completely to the left and we’re interested in seeing how Debra Lee/Stephen Hill decide to “edit” that one. It got weird.

Watch a preview of Kanye West’s acceptance speech

UPDATE: Two days ago, Kanye’s wife Kim (who attended The BET Honors), their daughter North, and Kim’s sistes Khloe and Kylie were involved in a car accident in Bozeman, MT. Their SUV skidded on an ice-covered Montana road in a ditch. Luckily, no one was injured.

Watch a snippet of host Wayne Brady’s dance intro:

More from the red carpet… chatted it up with several celebs on the red carpet, including Ne-Yo, Keshia Knight Pulliam and BET CEO Debra Lee. And we had a hilarious exchange with Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, MD. She had a little crush on Usher Raymond – but her husband was standing nearby. It’s hilarious!
Check it out….

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Debra Lee, CEO of BET on was makes The BET Honors different:
“It’s different because we mix it up. It’s not just paying attention to entertainers, it’s also business people, educators, and visual artists. We want to tell those stories that aren’t always told.
John W. Thompson (Honoree – Chairman of Microsoft Corp) on being honored:
“I never would have expected it because I always thought of BET for entertainment…and I’m not that entertaining (joke). And what is says about BET is that they have a broad constituency base and they recognize not just those in the entertainment industry but those who’ve had an impact on society.
Ne-Yo on his music and refusing to be labeled:
“I want people to NOT consider genre when you think about Ne-Yo. Good or bad? And lord willing always good.”
Anthony Anderson on creating Black-ish:
“Me and my partner Kenya Barris – We sat down about a year and a half ago and looked at the landscape of television and saw what was missing for us in our community and telling our stories. Everything you see on the screen every week comes from our lives.”
Book Of Negroes star Aunjanue Ellis on The BET Honors:
“What makes it special is that this is the only show that shows Black people loving each other.
Keshia Knight Pulliam on leaving “Celebrity Apprentice”:
“I left with my integrity in tact. What more can you ask for…it’s very hard earned and easily lost.
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, MD crushing on Usher:
“I almost had an incident with Usher…but I kept my hands to myself (don’t get me start my husband is standing behind me).

The BET HONORS 2015 premieres Monday, February 23 at 9 PM ET/PT on BET. Previous honorees include Berry Gordy, Aretha Franklin, Kenneth I. Chenault, and Ice Cube.

Video correspondent Jennifer Osunbor/ videographer Shayla Racquel/BET press room

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