On Sunday, BET kicked off its 19th annual BET Awards, complete with live performances, jokes, and tributes to D.C., Mary J. Blige, Tyler Perry, and the late, great, Nipsey Hussle.
To kick off the Hussle tribute, the network swapped out its traditional Red Carpet for bright blue fabric in honor of the L.A. native.
During the show, T.I presented the humanitarian award to the rapper’s family, honoring him for his extraordinary works in his community, and to wrap the star-studded event, DJ Khaled and John Legend performed Hussle’s final collaboration, “Higher.”
But, prior to the show, Legend opened up about working with Hussle and shared his eagerness to continue the rapper’s philanthropic legacy.
“I really learned a lot more about him when he passed away,” Legend told ET, as he revealed the nature of their relationship. “This is the first time we ever collaborated together, and we shot the video together a few days before he was taken from us.”
“What I saw from him was that he was proud of where he was from,” Legend added. “We were on top of this high rise parking structure, we were shooting up there, and he was showing me where he grew up. [He was] showing me how much he cared about his neighborhood and he showed that through his actions, not just words, and I think that’s the most impressive thing about him.”
“I feel bad I didn’t know much about him until he passed away, but what a legacy he’s left,” Legend said. “Even though we want to celebrate his life, it’s just a terrible, heartbreaking tragedy that we lost him and there’s no real silver lining to that.”