Emotional Usher accepts lifetime achievement award

Usher delivered an emotional speech as he accepted a lifetime achievement prize at the BET Awards on Sunday.

The singer-songwriter told the audience as he accepted the award that “getting here has definitely not been easy, but it has been worth it”.

The 45-year-old is best known for hits including Yeah! and You Make Me Wanna.

Usher also picked up the award for best R&B and hip-hop artist at the ceremony.

He opened his 15-minute-long acceptance speech by saying: “This life achievement award, I don’t know, man, is it too early to receive it? Cause I’m still runnin’ and gunnin’ like I did when I was eight years old.”

The singer went on to speak about his dad leaving his family when he was a child.

“I was trying to make sense of this name a man gave me that didn’t stick around because he didn’t love me,” he said.

“You have to have a forgiving heart to understand the true pitfalls and hardships of a black man in America and my father, he was a product of that.”

He also reflected on what it means to now be a father himself.

“This is the year of the father. Stand up for your daughters and sons and lead,” he told the audience at the Peacock Theatre in Los Angeles.

“It’s important to understand that fatherhood is so important.

“For all the fathers tonight at home or in the audience I would like for y’all to stand up just for two seconds for me.

As several men in the audience got on their feet, Usher said: “We don’t get a chance to say enough, ‘Dad I did it’, so this one is for all of the men out there being generals to their sons, and motivation for our future black leaders – young men.”

‘Willing to forgive’

Usher also said he was “turning over a new leaf” and addressed the topic of forgiveness.

He said: “We’ve got to be willing to forgive, we’ve got to be willing to be open.

“I’m telling you, you’re standing before a man who had to forgive a man who never showed up ever. And look what I made with it. Look what I was able to ‘usher’ in. But that’s what’s real, that’s what makes us human, that’s what makes us women and men.”

The award was presented to him by producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

After a montage of career highlights, including clips from his teenage years and his recent Super Bowl performance, there was an all-star tribute to the singer.

Childish Gambino, Keke Palmer and Summer Walker were among the artists to each perform one of Usher’s songs.

The recognition for Usher comes just a few months after he played the prestigious half-time show at the Super Bowl.

Other highlights from the event included Will Smith debuting a new single – You Can Make It.

“I don’t know who needs to hear this right now, but whatever’s going on in your life right now, I’m here to tell you, you can make it,” he told the audience ahead of his performance.

The Black Entertainment Television awards have been running since 2001 and celebrate black talent across a variety of industries.

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