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BET 25 Strong: BET Silver Anniversary Celebration

Traditionally, we mark 25 year anniversaries with silver. But for Black Entertainment Television (BET), the ground-breaking African-American cable network, celebrating a quarter of a century of remarkable on-air presence could not be confined to the traditional. POWER was on hand as BET hosted a star-studded event Oct. 26 at the Shrine Auditorium. The celebration also served as a farewell to retiring BET Founder and Chairman Robert L. Johnson, who will be succeeded by President and CEO Debra Lee.

Referred to as “the little station that could” by hip-hop artist DJ Quick, BET pulled out all the great stops to put on a grand show. The celebration began with Earth, Wind, and Fire’s electrifying performance of "Let’s Groove Tonight."

The remainder of the emotional, surprising show was divided into five-year segments. Hosted by Queen Latifah (1980 – 1985); Arsenio Hall (1985 – 1990); Usher (1990 – 1995); Diddy (1995 – 2000); and Bow Wow (2000 – 2005), each segment featured exciting performances from LL Cool J, New Edition, R. Kelly, Nelly, Mary J. Blige, and Method Man, as well as memorable clips and insightful interviews with leading black figures in business and entertainment.

BET also paid touching tributes to late African-American icons Luther Vandross (singer) and Rosa Parks (Civil Rights activist).

An uplifting gospel performance by Yolanda Adams, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and BET’s own Dr. Bobby Jones closed the show. Their inspirational performance left a golden impression of what is to be expected from BET in the next 25 years.

Celebrities Quentin Tarantino, Michael Keaton, Nick Cannon, Tisha Campbell Martin, Laila Ali, LisaRaye, R Kelly, Usher, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Mike Tyson, Tyrese, Kenya Moore and Bill Duke, among others, attended.

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