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The BET Honors gala was not an official, pre-Inauguration event but honorees at the event last Saturday in DC were excited about Barack Obama taking over as President.

Mary J. Blige thanked Obama for “helping us to look at ourselves and lifting us higher.”

NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who was honored for developing businesses in the inner-city, said, “We have to do better now.”

Tyler Perry told the audience that Obama’s election means, “The days of excuses are over. This is a time for people who are going to be strong … There is so much more to us than we have shown this world.”

That opinion was echoed by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (Democratic Congressman from South Carolina) who said that with Obama in the White House “every child has lost every excuse.” But Clyburn also warned that racism is still alive in America. This idea that we’re in a post-racial age is nonsense. You can never take race out of the equation,” Clyburn said.

The BET Honors featured performances by Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Joss Stone, Yolanda Adams and Anthony Hamilton. Whitney Houston did not perform but she was in the house as a presenter. Whitney got a standing ovation when she entered the stage.

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