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Eddie Levert

Eddie Levert

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The late singer's influence imbues the hastily revised BET awards.Cheers greeted Janet Jackson when she appeared on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium on Sunday at the end of the BET Awards, but her face was etched with pain.

For several moments, her mouth quivered, and it looked as if she might not be able to speak."My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful, so they elected me to speak for all of us," she finally said.It's been only four days since her brother Michael Jackson died suddenly, shocking the world.

The award ceremony, which had previously been scheduled to honor athletes, musicians and actors, was transformed to a hastily organized celebration of Jackson and his music.

The ceremony was largely joyous and celebratory, but the mood changed when Janet Jackson came on stage."To you, Michael is an icon, but to us Michael is family, and he will forever live in all of our hearts.

On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all of your love, and thank you for all of your support.

We miss him so much.

Thank you so much."The event, the first large-scale entertainment industry gathering since Jackson's death, took on such a high profile that CNN broadcast live from the red carpet before the show.When the show finally began, host Jamie Foxx wasted no time in kicking off the Jackson-flavored festivities."There's no need to be sad," Foxx shouted, appearing in a red leather jacket similar to the one Jackson wore in his famous "Beat It" video and a single glove.

He re-created several of the entertainer's vintage leg kicks and shuffles.He yelled out, "You should be standing up!" and the overflow audience appeared electrified as the pounding thumps of the song followed by another Jackson classic, "Rock With You," filled the auditorium.Foxx, who was almost as adept in channeling Jackson as he was in portraying Ray Charles in his Oscar-winning performance in "Ray," tried to moonwalk across the Shrine stage.Rapper Lil Wayne, who accepted the award for male hip-hop artist, said, "None of us would be in this room without Michael Jackson."Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James praised the music of Jackson and his family.

Eddie Levert, leader of the O'Jays, who accepted the show's lifetime achievement award, told anecdotes of Jackson as a young artist, laced with a profanity.

And Ne-Yo, who has often been compared to Jackson, sang a poignant version of Jackson's ballad "The Lady in My Life." Watching from the audience was Jackson's father, Joe, who sat in the front row next to the Rev.

Al Sharpton.

The elder Jackson, who was wearing a black suit, sunglasses and a black hat, ignited a frenzy when he appeared near the red carpet just minutes before the live broadcast, as numerous media outlets rushed him for an interview."The family and I are doing OK, about as well as we can at this point," he said at one point.,0,1247426.story
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