Patti LaBelle Saluted as Icon at BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BMI
BMI Executive Director, Writer/Publisher Relations Wardell Malloy, BMI President and CEO Mike O'Neill, BMI Icon Recipient Patti Labelle, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Catherine Brewton attend the 2017 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Woodruff Arts Center on Aug. 31, 2017 in Atlanta.  

Metro Boomin was named producer of the year while Future, DJ Khaled and Rihanna tied for songwriter of the year at R&B/hip-hop awards ceremony

The venerable Patti LaBelle was presented with the BMI Icon Award during the performing rights organization’s annual R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta last evening (Aug. 31). Held at The Woodruff Arts Center’s Symphony Hall, the ceremony also saluted the songwriters, producers and publishers of the year’s 35 most-performed R&B/hip-hop songs in the U.S.

For the second consecutive year, Metro Boomin was named producer of the year. Song of the year went to “Me, Myself & I,” written by Tom Barnes, Lauren Christy, Michael Keenan and Bebe Rexha. Future, DJ Khaled and Rihanna tied for songwriter of the year, while Universal Music Publishing Group took home the publisher of the year award.

Big Boi of OutKast kicked off the first half of the evening, performing a medley of two of the act’s classics, “B.O.B.” and “GhettoMusick.” Rick Ross ran through a hits medley of his own, including “Hustlin,’” “Trap, Trap, Trap” and “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast).” Hip-hop brother duo Ayo and Teo (“Rolex”) and emerging R&B singer Jacquees (“B.E.D.”) also performed.

The second half of the evening was devoted to a musical tribute celebrating LaBelle’s five-decade career. Toasting the multiple Grammy Award winner were BeBe Winans (who sang “On My Own,” LaBelle’s Hot 100 No. 1 duet with Michael McDonald), Avery Sunshine (“Love, Need and Want You”), Kierra Sheard (“When You’ve Been Blessed”), Tasha Cobbs-Leonard (“You Are My Friend”) and Ledisi (“Lady Marmalade”). After being called to the stage by Ledisi, LaBelle surprised the audience with an impromptu performance of “Over the Rainbow.”

Previous BMI Icon Award honorees include Nile Rodgers, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, James Brown and Snoop Dogg. The event, hosted by BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI VP, writer/publisher relations Catherine Brewton, was sponsored by the Swisher Sweets Artist Project. The organization is dedicated to increasing awareness and exposure for emerging musical talent. 

For a complete list of 2017 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards winners, visit