Los Angeles Sentinel
July 19, 1995 | James Bingham
It isn’t unusual to have an awards show, and perhaps we have more than we need, but when the awards show honors the best in human characteristics, there are never enough, because those people serving a higher purpose are numerous. VH-1 Honors honors, opposed to talent, although these celebrants have that to spare, and acting and music programs pervading the world view. But pervading throughout this program was hope. Hope that the older generation would responsibly make it easier for several different maladies common to our world.
For the second year, VH-1 has honored six remarkable artists who haven given to charities and their communities.
Before the show started, to two hosts, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Rudrow, got the audience relaxed with their funny and witty humor.
The show started with Smokey Robinson opening, singing one of his first recordings, “Shop Around.”
Then came Whitney Houston singing “My Guy.” Vince Gill was next with “My Girl,” which was followed immediately by the duet singing “The Way You do The Things You Do.”
The show continued when Wynona Judd and Smokey Robinson did the duet, “You Really Got A Hold On Me.” Smokey Robinson ended the medley of songs he wrote with “Get Ready,” which said it all. Get ready for the award presentations.
Forrest Whitaker gave Whitney Houston her VH-1 Award for her work with “The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, Inc.” Her mother Cissy Houston is president of the organization. After receiving the prestigious honor, she sang a duet with CeCe Winan, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with so much soul you could feel it in your toes. They received a standing ovation.
From the movie “Panther,” Kadeem Hardison gave Boyz II Men their award for their “Big Brother/Big Sister of America” charity in Philadelphia. They came on from back stage singing “And I thank You” a cappella.
Chris Isaac gave Annie Lennox her VH-1 Award for her work with “Rokpa, Trust Samye Ling Tibetan Center,” and with award in hand, she sang “Whiter Shade of Pale.”
James Garner introduced the governor of Oklahoma, who awarded Vince Gill his VH-1 Award for his work with “Oklahoma City Victims and Families Relief Fund.” He sang a duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter, “If I Had My Way.”
John Singleton gave Smokey his VH-1 Award for work with the United Negro College Fund. John remembered his father playing Smokey and the Miracles songs. Then Smokey sand “I Would Do Any Thing (Just To See You Again).” Then he sang a duet with Annie Lennox, “Tracks Of My Tears,” to a standing ovation.
Morgan Freeman gave The King of Pop Michael Jackson his VH-1 Special Award for his “Heal The World Foundation. Boyz II Men sang “We Are the World.” Michael came out of a round hole in the middle of the stage and sang the ending with them, also to a standing ovation.
Sandra Bernheart introduced The Red Hot Organization and LP which raised six million dollars. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Katlin Mataa sang from the “Red, Hot and Country” LP.
Herbie Hancock, “Wawa” Watson and Ron Carter played “Every Time We Say Goodbye” from “Red, Hot and Cool.”
Michael Rickerson (Kramer from “Seinfield”) gave a VH-1 Award to Bette Midler for the work with Manhattan Restoration Project. She sang “If I Could Be Your Angel.” Then she proceeded to duet with Wynona Judd on “Let It Be Me” to a standing ovation.
There was the appropriate songs by artists and a wide variety of cultures and creeds represented on this awards program.
There was even an invitation-only after-party held adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium with plenty of free drinks, food, fun and a host of celebrities and guests.
Charities help everyone. Almost all of us have been the beneficiary of them in one form or another or know somebody who has. We celebrate one of the most noble of awards shows, who don’t just honor one significant individual for humanitarian efforts, but this awards program offered an entire program to do this honoring, yet being entertaining as any one of the other awards show on grand or small scales.