Prince and Stevie Wonder joined forces at Tuesday's Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards in Los Angeles to perform with lifetime achievement winner Chaka Khan.
Chaka Khan said she was "honoured to be honoured by my own people". The 53-year-old star added: "This means everything to me."
Pop couple Jay-Z and Beyonce teamed up to perform at the Shrine Auditorium, where the BET Awards took place.
Beyonce's former Destiny's Child bandmate Kelly Rowland was also at the awards, which honour African Americans in the fields of music, acting and sport.
Mary J Blige was named best female R&B star. She also shared the award for best video with Jamie Foxx and Kanye West.
Missy Elliott collected the prize for best female hip-hop artist, while rapper TI won the male equivalent.
Veteran singer Harry Belafonte was honoured for his humanitarian work to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Prince, who scored his first US number one album for 17 years this March, said his award for best male R&B singer was "unexpected".