Breathless and honored, Anita Baker watched in awe as Jamie Foxx, Marsha Ambrosius, Ledisi and Yolanda Adams honored her as BET’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award winner during the 2018 BET Awards.

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Fans watched tears come to Baker’s eyes as Foxx hummed over the sounds of his piano. As the camera panned, Ambrosius entered a separate side of the stage and sang some of Baker’s greatest hits. Ledisi and gospel Grammy winner Yolanda Adams joined in as they all partook in singing songs like “You Bring Me Joy,” “Rapture” and “Sweet Love.”


After her tribute was done, Baker made her way to the stage and stepped to the mic to deliver a powerful acceptance speech.

“The young ones are coming and they’re here…all I ask is that the music be allowed to play, singers be allowed to sing, rappers are allowed to rap and poets are allowed to rhyme.”

Baker continued, saying, “And I ask that the powers that be in the music industry and more of the [big artists] in the music industry…would bring more of what we see here tonight. When I came up in the business, I had people in radio that supported me as a young artist. The singers that are veterans here, tap the young ones on the shoulder. They need you. Young ones, now that you’re here tonight, look around the room. Tap a veteran on the shoulder. We need each other.”

Baker’s words come six days after the murder of 20-year-old rapper XXXTentacion, who was killed while shopping for a motorcycle in broad daylight.