Chris Brown stole the 2010 BET Awards spotlight at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday with his moving performance of a Michael Jackson tribute that also served as the embattled singer’s comeback after pleading guilty to beating up last year her then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown, who has stayed low profile since the beating incident went public in February 2009, first performed “Billie Jean,” mimicking Jackson’s dance steps, including the moonwalk. Then, in what can be construed as either a sincere or sympathy-getting performance, Brown broke down as he began to sing “Man in the Mirror,” a song that talks about changing one’s ways for the better.
In his acceptance speech for the Fandemonium Award later in the night, Brown vowed not to make the same mistake he did in the past. “I let you all down before, but I won’t do it again. I promise you.”
There were other comebacks at the tenth edition of the BET Awards, which honor minority and African-American achievers in music, acting, and sports, among other categories. Kanye West made his first TV performance since cutting off Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards last year. T.I. also performed for the first time on television since serving out his one-year sentence on weapons charges.
Meanwhile, Prince was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Lady Gaga and Beyonce won video of the year for “Video Phone.”
Watch the Chris Brown Michael Jackson tribute here.