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BET's 10th Annual WALK OF FAME Salutes Luminary Smokey Robinson With an Unforgettable Evening of Honors; Host of Superstar Performers Collaborate to Pay Tribute to 'The Man Behind The Music'.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Adored Motown alum Smokey Robinson was inducted as the tenth honoree to be enshrined along BET's prestigious WALK OF FAME during a sophisticated night of elegance on Saturday at the network's Washington, D.C. corporate headquarters. In recognition of Robinson's lauded career, BET packed the house with Washington D.C.'s movers and shakers, bestowing the "man behind the music" with a star-studded evening of tributes and performances by distinguished friends, contemporaries, and mentors. Joining in on the celebration of Robinson's amazing career were past WALK OF FAME honorees Stevie Wonder and Boyz II Men, along with artists India.Arie, Floetry, Christina Milian, New Edition, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Levert, and Brian McKnight. Newcomers Ricky Fante and John Legend rounded out the performance slate during a spectacular night punctuated with special video tributes from Usher, Gladys Knight and R. Kelly. Hosted by award-winning radio personality and BET legend Donnie Simpson, viewers will have a front row seat to all the excitement when the 10TH ANNUAL BET WALK OF FAME premieres on Tuesday, October 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20041020/DCSMOKEY )

The highly-anticipated event paid homage to one of the most prolific producers, songwriters and recording artists of the Motown era, as well as raised awareness and financial support for worthy causes. This year, proceeds will be shared between United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the BET Foundation, which executes the Healthy BET obesity-awareness campaign and other pro-social causes. The annual charitable black-tie affair has generated over $2.5 million dollars since 1995. "To recognize history you must recognize the future," stressed Bob Johnson, BET's Founder and CEO, at the event. "BET is proud to be an annual contributor to UNCF through our WALK OF FAME gala and telecast," stated Johnson to the sold-out VIP audience.

The night was threaded with fanfare and serenades to the famed falsetto, including concert-style rotations of his groundbreaking hits redone by a host of longtime followers and newfound devotees. Arranged by acclaimed musical director Patrice Rushen, performances featured reflective renditions by respected Grammy Award-winners Stevie Wonder and Boyz II Men who crooned "Tears of A Clown," and "Shop Around" respectively, a sensual "Ooo Baby Baby" by Gerald Levert heated things up a notch, and a fitting Temptations-style medley of "The Way You Do The Things You Do," "Get Ready," and "My Girl" by New Edition brought the audience to their feet. Additional highlights included Christina Milian's sultry performance of "My Guy," India.Arie's soulful version of "Tracks of My Tears," Floetry's mesmerizing rendering of "Who's Loving Who," and a flirtatious duet of "Ebony Eyes" belted out by Marsha Ambrosius (Floetry) and Gerald Levert. BET teamed again with Cossette Productions, famed producers of the GRAMMY Awards (R) and the past four record-setting BET AWARDS shows, to handle production of the two-hour telecast.

Smokey Robinson joins an illustrious group of past WALK OF FAME honorees, including Michael Jackson (1995), Whitney Houston (1996), Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (1997), Boyz II Men (1998), Diana Ross (1999), Luther Vandross (2000), Patti LaBelle (2001), Stevie Wonder (2002) and Aretha Franklin (2003).

"I don't know how to say thank you," enthused Smokey to the elite crowd after receiving his award from BET President and Chief Operating Officer Debra Lee. "This has been one of the best nights of my life," he reflected, speaking fondly of the activities leading up to the presenting moment. The show's conclusion was the pinnacle of the night as Smokey wowed the audience with a combination of blockbuster hits from his dynasty of sound, proving his status as an icon worthy of the occasion.

The Detroit-born star's ballads have brought listening pleasure to millions of enthusiasts nationally through a remarkable career with scores of chart-topping hits. His extensive body of work has earned him countless awards including a Grammy Award (R), NARAS Living Legend Award, American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers Award (ASCAP), the National Medal of Arts Award from the White House, as well as a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame to name a few. Robinson has helped to shape the landscape of R&B and can be credited for one of the most popular late-night radio genres, "Quiet Storm," a radio format dubbed for its likeness to Robinson's biggest solo album's title track, Quiet Storm. This year, Robinson independently released a Gospel album titled "Food For Thought," and also launched "Smokey Robinson's Soul In the Bowl Gumbo."

From the Motown era to present, Smokey's contributions are irrefutable -- for over three decades he has graced the music industry with timeless tunes that spotlight his songwriting expertise, sophisticated vocal ability and superior musical talent.

ABOUT BET

BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; VIA.B), is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 79 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African- Americans; BET Digital Networks - BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip-Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation's leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque Books label, and publisher of new imprints Sepia and New Spirit.

ABOUT COSSETTE PRODUCTIONS

Cossette Productions is Hollywood's most unique and comprehensive production company, with more than 35 years of experience offering diverse and creative consultation, direction and execution of entertainment production. To its credit, Cossette Productions has produced 32 years of the Grammy Awards telecast; eight weekly television series totaling more than 500 episodes; numerous award-winning Broadway theatrical plays and musicals; 50 major performance specials, award shows and celebrity tributes; corporate events for the nation's largest companies; and countless made-for-television motion pictures and mini-series.

CONTACT: Tosha Whitten-Griggs, +1-818-655-6712, tosha.whitten-griggs@bet.net, or Chae Carriere, +1-202-608-2042, chandra.carriere@bet.net, both of BET

Web site: http://www.bet.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 22, 2004
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