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Stars Align: BET Awards honors the past, present

(AP) | 7/3/2017, 1:07 p.m.
The 2017 BET Awards hit a nostalgic note Sunday night as it featured two `90s era groups with extended performances ...
In foreground, New Edition – winners of the lifetime achievement award – performs with the cast of The New Edition Story at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles, June 25. Matt Sayles of Invision

(AP) – The 2017 BET Awards hit a nostalgic note Sunday night as it featured two `90s era groups with extended performances of soulful, harmony-laced R&B.

A lifetime achievement tribute to New Edition came in a three-part performance with help from the actors from the BET biopic about the band. It started with the child actors singing Candy Girl, later followed by the older actors for some of the band’s hits apart from the group, including BBD’s Poison and Ralph Tresvant’s Sensitivity.

Finally the real group, clad all in white suits, hit the stage to sing together again. The group performed Mr. Telephone Man and Can You Stand the Rain. All of the singers and actors came together for the group finale, If It Isn’t Love.

The all-female quartet Xscape, featuring LaTocha and Tamika Scott, Kandi Burruss and Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, also reunited at the award show with a medley of their hits including Just Kickin’ It, Understanding and Who Can I Run To?

On another note, the group also took time to acknowledge the talent of its youth, presenting 17-year-old Yara Shahidi with the YoungStars award. Shahidi is best known for her work on Black-ish.

During the evening, some of the artists reflected on police violence against Blacks, which came just days after a police officer in Minnesota was acquitted in the shooting death of Philando Castile.

Shahidi noted in her acceptance speech that the night was also the birthday of Tamir Rice, who was 12 when he was shot in Cleveland in 2014.

“So in the midst of this celebration, I’d love to honor his life,” Shahidi said.

Solange, who won the Centric award for Cranes In the Sky, offered a moment of silence for “the lives of our brothers and sisters that we have lost due to brutality and violence,” during a presentation to honor activist Tamika Mallory.

Actors from the upcoming film Detroit also listed names of Black men and women killed by police and others, including Castile.