'BET Honors' 2012: Who Stole the Show?

Hollywood played second fiddle to Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou and the Tuskegee Airmen.

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Performances by Rowland, Common, Anthony Hamilton, Jennifer Hudson and Wonder punctuated the announcements.

The effusive praise and celebratory tributes of the event were tempered only by a sense of urgency about the upcoming presidential election. BET's T.J. Holmes warned the audience about new voting restrictions. "Barriers are going back up ... just in time for our president to face re-election. A coincidence, I'm sure," he said sarcastically, adding, "I want you to get ready, I want you to stay ready, and I want you to vote like your life depended on it."

Kearney got huge cheers for her comments about re-electing Barack Obama when she said, "We have to exercise our God-given right to greatness, and we have to exercise our constitutional right to vote. There's a man out there with an amazing vision, and he intends to finish what he started."

Two days before the annual observation of Martin Luther King's birthday, Wonder assessed the evening's tribute of black legends: "This would have made him proud."

The BET Honors is set to air on Monday, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m. EST on BET.

Jenée Desmond-Harris is a contributing editor at The Root.

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