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Patti LaBelle was among the honorees at the BET Honors ceremony on Saturday night. Credit Paul Morigi/Getty Images

“Black excellence,” the running theme of the BET Honors, was on full display Saturday evening at the Warner Theater here, where the network filmed its annual homage to African-American luminaries in art, music, theater, technology and business.

The singer Fantasia Barrino threatened to kick off her shoes during a soulful tribute to Patti LaBelle, one of the night’s honorees for her musical work; the crowd roared with applause after Melissa Harris-Perry, the former MSNBC weekend morning host, presented the public service award to Eric H. Holder Jr., the first black attorney general, who was selected by the first black president; and more than $100,000 in ticket proceeds was raised for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative started by President Obama that aims to help disadvantaged boys and young men of color.

“Ultimately, BET is home for us,” Kyemah McEntyre, a teenage fashion designer whose Instagram post of her African-themed prom dress went viral last year, said in an interview. She was one of this year’s “Next in Class” — a group BET highlights as representing the next generation of “black excellence.” “It’s amazing to be able to go to a place specifically for you, and where you get to see some positivity,” she said.

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BET Honors Pays Tribute To Patti LaBelle, Lee Daniels, Eric Holder And Others of Black Excellence  was originally published on