The 2023 Soul Train Awards took the unconventional route as they turned the standard award show format into a “soulful house party” in the Hollywood Hills. The event would’ve been intimate and cozy, but the brisk chill and high winds didn’t make for the best environment for outdoor hosting, but BET powered through anyway.
The red carpet was moved indoors with press and still photography being split between, and the show proceeded as normal. Keke Palmer did a masterful job of hosting this year’s affair, complete with head-to-toe outfit changes and a performance of her own. The doting mother, dressed in a white lace mini dress and floor-length robe, did a live rendition of “Ungorgeous” off her latest album, Big Boss (Deluxe).
Only one award was announced on-air—Coco Jones‘ win for Best New Artist, and the new Grammy nominee took the stage twice that evening. She first performed her single, “Double Back,” with SWV because the record samples the group’s classic, “Rain.” Jones later returned to the stage to perform her and BJ The Chicago Kid‘s duet, “Spend The Night.” However, SZA, Victoria Monét, and Usher all took home multiple wins.
The SOS star took home Album of the Year, Song of the Year for “Snooze,” the Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award, and was named Best R&B/Soul Female Artist. Monét scored with Video of the Year and Best Dance Performance with “On My Mama” as Usher earned the Certified Soul Award, along with Best R&B/Soul Male Artist, and Best Collaboration with “Good Good” featuring 21 Savage and Summer Walker.
The honorees of the night were Janelle Monáe and T-Pain, who took home the Spirit of Soul Award and Legend Award, respectively. Monáe kicked off the show with an enthralling performance of “Float” and “Champagne S**t” while T-Pain closed out the show with a medley of his best hits and most memorable features.
From the red carpet, VIBE scored some exclusives from Sean Bankhead and Ray J, and later relived some of the top performances of the night from Muni Long, Fridayy, and the Soul Cypher participants: Arin Ray, Eric Bellinger, Nicci Gilbert, and Marsha Ambrosius, as the Soul Train Awards aired on Sunday (Nov. 26).
Check out our full highlight reel below.