Mary J. Blige’s Lifetime Achievement Award Shows How BET Beats Recording Academy in R&B Honors


The singer has yet to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy. That’s true of most BET lifetime honorees.

Mary J. Blige is the 19th recipient of BET's lifetime achievement award. She is slated to receive the honor at tonight's BET Awards, which will be held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Actress Regina Hall is hosting.

Like all but six of the previous BET lifetime achievement award honorees, Blige has yet to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy.

Just three BET lifetime achievement award recipients — James Brown, Al Green and Smokey Robinson — had received the equivalent honor from the Recording Academy before they got the BET award.

Three other BET lifetime honorees — Earth, Wind & Fire, the Isley Brothers and Diana Ross — subsequently received an Academy lifetime honor.

That means that 13 of the BET honorees have yet to receive that award from the Recording Academy. Some of them may surprise you — especially Prince, Whitney Houston and Lionel Richie.

Six of the 19 recipients of BET's lifetime achievement award have yet to win a competitive Grammy in any category. They are Ross (either solo or with the Supremes), the O'Jays, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Charlie Wilson (either solo or with the Gap Band), actor Samuel L. Jackson and New Edition. (Maze and Jackson were never even nominated for a Grammy, though that's not really surprising in the case of Jackson, the only actor to receive the BET lifetime achievement award.)

Here's a chronological list of all 19 BET lifetime achievement award recipients. Their names are followed by a notation on the six artists who have received lifetime achievement awards from the Recording Academy, followed by the number of Grammy wins and nominations they have received in regular competition.

2001: Whitney Houston

Six Grammy wins; 25 noms.

2002: Earth, Wind & Fire

Recording Academy honor in 2016. Six Grammy wins; 17 noms.

2003: James Brown

Recording Academy honor in 1992. Three Grammy wins; eight noms.

2004: The Isley Brothers

Recording Academy honor in 2014. One Grammy win; four noms.

2005: Gladys Knight

Seven Grammy wins; 22 noms.

2006: Chaka Khan

10 Grammy wins; 22 noms.

2007: Diana Ross

Recording Academy honor in 2012. No Grammy wins; 12 noms.

2008: Al Green

Recording Academy honor in 2002. 11 Grammy wins; 21 noms.

2009: The O'Jays

No Grammy wins; four noms.

2010: Prince

Seven Grammy wins; 38 noms.

2011: Patti LaBelle

Two Grammy wins; 13 noms.

2012: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

No Grammy wins; no noms.

2013: Charlie Wilson

No Grammy wins; 13 noms.

2014: Lionel Richie

Four Grammy wins; 32 noms.

2015: Smokey Robinson

Recording Academy honor in 1999. One Grammy win; five noms.

2016: Samuel L. Jackson

No Grammy wins; no noms.

2017: New Edition

No Grammy wins; one nom.

2018: Anita Baker

Eight Grammy wins; 18 noms.

2019: Mary J. Blige

Nine Grammy wins; 31 noms.