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BET Awards 2016: Dave Chappelle honors Prince

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Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images

Dave Chappelle was the first person to honor Prince during the 2016 BET Awards.

The comedian took the stage at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theatre, donning a purple pocket square, to remember the day the iconic musician died at 57.

“April 21, 2016 — a very difficult morning for many of us. We got that news that one of our heroes had left us, and literally, our hearts were broken,” Chappelle said. “That night, the night of April 21, spontaneously, all over the world, the monuments that everyone treasures were lit in a purple light. If it was the Eye of London, if it was the Eiffel Tower. The bridge in Minneapolis. Everyone felt the loss that we all feel tonight.”

Chappelle then touched on his personal connection to Prince while growing up.

“I was 11 years old when Purple Rain came out,” Chappelle recalled. “By the time I was 20, Prince had changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol. Demanded the media call him The Artist, which was a reference to contractual law: ‘They will say a person’s name, herein referred to as The Artist.’ We miss him dearly.”

Chappelle then introduced “his friends” — The Roots, Erykah Badu, and Bilal — to perform Prince songs “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” and “The Beautiful Ones.”

One of Chappelle’s most well-known skits from his old Comedy Central show Chappelle’s Show was one in which Chappelle portrayed a basketball-playing Prince. The Purple One appreciated the performance so much he put Chappelle’s impression on the cover of his 2013 single, “Breakfast Can Wait.”

See the full list of BET Award winners here.