Janet Jackson made an unexpected appearance on stage near the close of last night’s 2009 BET Awards show to honor her brother and thank fans for their support following his death on Thursday.
“My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful,” a visibly emotional but composed Jackson told the audience. “To you, Michael is an icon; to us, Michael is family and he will forever live in all of our hearts.”
Joe Jackson, Janet and Michael’s father, was seated near the front of the audience but did not participate in the ceremony. After Jackson left the stage, the show ended with a performance of the Jackson 5 hit “I’ll Be There” by show host Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo, who was named Best Male R&B Artist earlier in the night.
The full list of winners:
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist Lil Wayne
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist M.I.A.
Best Collaboration Jamie Foxx and T-Pain, “Blame It”
Best Group Day 26
Best Male R&B Artist Ne-Yo
Best Female R&B Artist Beyonce
Best New Artist Keri Hilson
Best Gospel Artist Mary Mary
Video of the Year Beyonce, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”
Video Director of the Year Benny Boom
Best Actor Will Smith
Best Actress Taraji P. Henson
Best Male Athlete LeBron James
Best Female Athlete Serena Williams
Viewers’ Choice T.I. featuring Rihanna, “LIve Your LIfe”
Centric Award Jazmine Sullivan
More on the 2009 BET Awards:
Live blog hosted by EW’s Chad Schlegel and Essence.com’s Emil Wilbekin