MADAMENOIRE had a front-row seat at the 2022 Soul Train Music Awards and the entire ceremony was jammed packed from start to finish.
On Nov. 13, the biggest stars across music and entertainment gathered together at the stunning Orleans Arena in Las Vegas to celebrate the rich musical history of Soul and R&B.
On the red carpet with Inayah and more
On the red carpet, celebs brought out their best couture in honor of the big occasion. Rising R&B crooner Inayah was a stand-out. The singer showed up dressed to impress in a custom Neki Bosch suit paired with a glistening crystal embroidered statement necklace and earrings.
In 2018, the Houston native skyrocketed to fame after her remake of Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up” took social media by storm. Now, Inayah is garnering praise for her new EP Insecure, a project that details her difficult journey through postpartum.
“It was tough making it through that while trying to put out an album during COVID,” the singer said of the buzzing project. “It’s the story of me not being okay during that journey.”
Initially, Inayah was hesitant to share the pain she endured during her stressful postpartum experience, but the busy mother of two gained courage from some of her idols like Xscape, who were honored with the legendary Lady of Soul Award during the ceremony.
“I always say that the key to timeless music is telling stories and those ladies do that oh so well,” she added.
Grammy-award-winning producer Jermaine Dupri also showered the iconic girl group with praise. While speaking with MADAMENOIRE on the red carpet, the So So Def CEO gushed about the group’s longevity in the industry.
“Watch Xscape. It’s their 30th year and they’re getting the Lady of Soul award tonight. Their talent outweighs anything,” Dupri shared. “They can sing as well as they did when I first signed them.”
Comprised of Kandi Burruss, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, LaTocha Scott, and Tamika Scott, Dupri signed Xscape in the early ’90s shortly after they performed a song at his birthday party. The rest was history.
In 1993, the group released their debut album Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha, which spawned two of their biggest hits “Just Kickin’ It” and “Understanding.” The album went certified platinum and sold more than seven million copies worldwide. Two years later, Xscape churned out more classics on their second album Off the Hook. The lead single “Feels So Good” and “Who Can I Run To” went certified gold after they flooded the airwaves.
Before taking off, the decorated music exec shared a word of advice to aspiring R&B artists.
“Put your talent first and God will do the rest.”
Right before the ceremony started, rising R&B songstress Queen Naija spoke to MN about the excitement of receiving her first Soul Train Award nomination. The “Medicine” hitmaker was nominated under the Best Collaboration category for her sultry smash “Hate Our Love,” alongside Big Sean.
“Being that I dropped “Hate Our Love” at the beginning of this year, I’m just happy that it got recognition and I don’t feel like it’s in vain,” the 27-year-old star shared as she shined in a custom pink couture gown and a gold clutch shaped like a phone.
“I was feeling really bad that I only dropped one song this year because I was trying to work on my album but I’m grateful. I’m happy,” she added.
Highlights from the ceremony
Rising R&B star and songwriter Muni Long opened up the show with a bang. The star gave a drama-filled performance of her hit song “Hrs and Hrs” shortly before transitioning to her heartbreak anthem “Plot Twist.”
Later on in the night, Long won The Ashford & Simpson Songwriters Award. Before launching her solo career, the 34-year-old Florida native penned hits for some of the biggest names in the industry like Mary J. Blige, Ariana Grande and K. Michelle.
“I’ve been writing songs since I was 8 years old and I always say, if you can write something that inserts itself into the fabric of culture, then you really did it,” she said during her emotional acceptance speech. “Your dreams are valid. Chase them and don’t let anybody tell you can’t do it.”
After the performance, Ari Lennox graced the stage for “Waste My Time” shortly before Xscape accepted their Lady of Soul Award. The dynamic quartette stormed the stage in matching gold ensembles as they performed a medley of their classic hits.
Xscape Urged Fans To Embrace Love
While the ladies have had their issues in the past, the group put their differences aside and gave a stellar performance. During their acceptance speech, Kandi thanked Jermaine Dupri for taking a chance on them years ago.
“He had a vision that alot of people didn’t and for that, we are forever grateful to be able to still be on this stage because you opened the door,” the singer-turned-reality TV star said.
Tamika Scott urged fans to keep shining their light fearlessly.
“And when you’re shining your light, bring somebody else up,” she added. “Don’t do it to dim their light. Embrace love.”
Morris Day & The Time ended the exciting award ceremony with an energetic performance. The R&B and Soul icons were honored with the Legend Award for their extensive contributions across Soul and R&B–40 years to be exact. The group closed out the show by making the audience move and groove to some of their hit classics like “Cool,” “777-9311,” “Jungle Love,” and “The Bird.”
Check out the full list of winners from the 2022 Soul Train Music Awards below.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
BEYONCÉ – RENAISSANCE
SONG OF THE YEAR
BEYONCÉ – “BREAK MY SOUL”
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
BRUNO MARS, ANDERSON.PAAK, SILK SONIC – “SMOKIN OUT THE WINDOW”
BEST NEW ARTIST
BEST R&B/SOUL FEMALE ARTIST
BEST R&B/SOUL MALE ARTIST
RONALD ISLEY & THE ISLEY BROTHERS FEAT. BEYONCÉ – “MAKE ME SAY IT AGAIN, GIRL”
CERTIFIED SOUL AWARD
MARY J. BLIGE
THE ASHFORD AND SIMPSON SONGWRITER’S AWARD
MUNI LONG – “HRS & HRS”
BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE
LIZZO – “ABOUT DAMN TIME”
BEST GOSPEL/INSPIRATIONAL AWARD
MAVERICK CITY MUSIC X KIRK FRANKLIN
LADY OF SOUL AWARD