The 2023 Soul Train Awards unfolded on Sunday night with Keke Palmer leading the way as the host. Setting the vibe with three rules – “Act like you all got sense,” “Treat my furniture like it’s your own,” and “When you’re at a Keke party, get up when the spirit moves you!” – Palmer brought humor and energy to the event. Notably, the top honors went to SZA, Usher, and Victoria Monét.
The ceremony featured memorable performances from artists like Coco Jones, Fridayy, Janelle Monáe, Muni Long, and more. Monáe, honored with the Spirit of Soul Award, kicked off the night with a medley from her Grammy-nominated album, The Age Of Pleasure. Muni Long, collaborating with Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox on “Made for Me,” delivered a soulful performance backed by captivating vocals.
The Soul Cypher segment showcased freestyles over Usher’s 2001 hit “U Got It Bad,” featuring Nicci Gilbert, Arin Ray, Eric Bellinger, and Marsha Ambrosius. In the awards category, Coco Jones secured Best New Artist and graced the stage with performances of “Double Back” and a collaboration with SWV on “Rain.” Later, she joined BJ the Chicago Kid for “Spend the Night,” a melodic pairing described by Palmer as “the musical harmony we didn’t know we needed.”
In her interview with VIBE back in May, Jones delved into the significance of the standout single from her recent project, What I Didn’t Tell You. Expressing her intent, she shared, “I wanted to pay homage to the Black women who inspired me in film and music during my upbringing. The goal was to showcase different facets of myself and my sonic contributions to the world. ‘Double Back’ felt like a fitting follow-up, allowing me to highlight my versatility.”
Moreover, Palmer took the stage to perform “Ungorgeous,” a track featured on the deluxe edition of her Big Boss LP released in October.
Earlier this month, Connie Orlando, EVP of specials, music programming, and music strategy at BET, spoke about Palmer’s role as the host, stating, “Keke Palmer is a globally recognized multi-talented force who exudes confidence and positivity. She is one of the most captivating and endearing personalities in entertainment today.”