Mother’s Day is two weeks away, but VH1 started early by celebrating mothers across the world, taping its special, Dear Mama: An Event to Honor Moms at the beautiful Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens grounds in San Marina, Calif., Saturday night (May 8).
The event, hosted by Emmy-nominated actor Anthony Anderson and author, entrepreneur and actress La La Anthony, featured special guests like Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, Robin Thicke, Kelly Rowland, Ludacris and Halle Berry all paying tribute to the special mothers in their life.
Robin Thicke paid tribute to his mother, Gloria Loring, by singing popular TV show theme songs “Different Strokes” and “Facts of Life,” songs she wrote and sang with her late husband, Alan Thicke. He closed his performance with a rendition of her duet with Carl Anderson, 1986’s “Friends and Lovers.”
Ludacris spoke kind and poignant words of his mother, saying, “I believe my success is due to the fact that the first influential woman of my life would not let me believe in the odds.” He added, “She wouldn’t let me believe in negativity and failure.” He also went on to praise her work with his Ludacris Foundation, for which she’s the president.
Halle Berry spoke about her work with the domestic violence organization Jenesse Center and introduced one of the survivors who is a part of the center, Yezica Mendoza, who spoke highly of Berry’s contributions to the center and the impact she’s had on her life.
La La Anthony introduced Kelly Rowland, who then turned the attention to La La, praising her for being a good mother to her son, Kiyan. She mentioned the advice La La gave to her when she gave birth to her own son, Titan, saying. “We have to raise our men and not let the world raise them.”
Chris Paul and his brother and personal manager, C.J., played a special video interview with their mother, Robin Paul, where they talked about their childhood days of her coaching his team. In the clip, she talks about the early sacrifices she made to take care of her sons, noting, “I would go to work early in order to get off early. So that meant I would have to get them up at 5 in the morning, take them to work with me.” She adds, “Some of my old co-workers talk about that. They would come in and lay on the floor by my desk until I could take them to school. That was my life then. That’s what I had to do.”
Other heartwarming moments in the show included DJ Khaled’s tribute to his finance, Nicole Tuck, whom he spoke off script to by repeatedly telling her “I love you” and thanking her for taking care of him and his infant son, Asad. He also surprised her with a performance of Jodeci. Not the only one with a trick up his sleeve, Mary J. Blige also gave her mom a treat when she introduced Gladys Knight, who sang “Midnight Train to Georgia,” one of her mother’s favorite songs.
Closing out the night was singer Maxwell, who performed his 1999 hit “Fortunate,” dedicating the performance to his grandmother.
Catch VH1’s Dear Mama when it airs on Monday, May 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.