Patti LaBelle was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 BET Awards on Sunday night at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Calif.

Labelle, 67, was introduced by Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige and Gladys Knight, who all had nothing but praise for the singer. "Music is forever indebted to you for following your calling,” Knight said. Beyonce told the audience, “When anyone asks me who I want to be like, I always say Patti LaBelle,” while Blige called Labelle’s voice “the most powerful thing on earth."

But the highlight of the night was Cee Lo Green, who feted Labelle by dressing like her in a big wig (which he kept spritzing with hair spray on stage) and a sparkling jacket, while performing ‘Somebody Loves You Baby.’ The Voice mentor was joined on stage by Marsha Ambrosius and Shirley Caesar, both of who performed musical tributes, and Labelle herself, who treated the audience to "Love, Need and Want You" and "Lady Marmalade."


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Labelle was clearly pleased and overwhelmed at receiving the award. "I would like to thank everybody for everything you've done for me," she said. "I plan to hold myself higher because I have gotten this wonderful award." Labelle has joined a distinguished list of honorees, including Knight, Diana Ross and Prince.

Labelle’s voice became cemented in American music history with disco and pop hits like "New Attitude," "Stir It Up" (which were used in Beverly Hills Cop), and "Lady Marmalade." Labelle, whose real name is Patricia Louise Holt Edwards, has not let age or illness (she was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992) slow her down. She is still on tour, and will next appear in Chicago on July 18, according to her website. LaBelle was with Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles for 16 years before going solo in 1977.

While Labelle may have won the highest honor, the night’s biggest winner was Chris Brown. He collected three prizes, including Best Male R&B star, Best Collaboration and Video of the Year for "Look at Me Now," featuring Lil’ Wayne and Busta Rhymes. He also performed a medley of his hits.

In honor of the musical talents who passed away this year, Warren G performed a saxophone salute to Clarence Clemons, Snoop Dogg and others sang Nate Dogg’s “Regulate,” Cali Swag District and Doug E. Fresh remembered M Bone and Queen Latifah recited Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

Watch Green's performance here:


  • Sydney Ramsden
    Sydney Ramsden on

    Leave it to Cee Lo to bring comedy to a performance while also being very talented.

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