Soul Train Music Awards

Last updated
Soul Train Music Awards
Ambox current red.svg 2018 Soul Train Music Awards
Awarded forOutstanding achievements in:
Soul Music, R&B, Gospel, Jazz and Hip Hop
Country United States
First awardedMarch 23, 1987;32 years ago (1987-03-23)
Website BET: Soul Train Awards
Television/radio coverage
Network WGN America (1987–2007)

First Run Syndication (1987–2007)

BET (2009–present)
Centric/BET Her (2009–present)

The Soul Train Music Awards is an annual award show which previously aired in national television syndication, and honors the best in black music and entertainment. It is produced by the makers of Soul Train , the program from which it takes its name, and features musical performances by various R&B and soul recording artists interspersed throughout the ceremonies. The special traditionally used to air in either February, March or April, but now airs the last weekend of November (in most years, Thanksgiving weekend).

<i>Soul Train</i> American music show

Soul Train is an American music-dance television program which aired in syndication from October 2, 1971, to March 27, 2006. In its 35-year history, the show primarily featured performances by R&B, soul, dance/pop, and hip hop artists, although funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artists also appeared. The series was created by Don Cornelius, who also served as its first host and executive producer.

Contemporary R&B is a music genre that combines elements of rhythm and blues, pop, soul, funk, hip hop and electronic music.

Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.


The Soul Train Music Awards voting body includes active professionals in the fields of radio programming and music retail and management and recording artists with records that have charted in designated music trade publications in the year prior to proceedings. Past hosts for the show include such R&B luminaries as Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, Will Smith, Vanessa Williams, Taraji P. Henson, and Gladys Knight. [1]

Luther Vandross American singer, songwriter, and record producer

Luther Ronzoni Vandross Jr. was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Throughout his career, Vandross was an in-demand background vocalist for several different artists including Todd Rundgren, Judy Collins, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Ben E. King, and Donna Summer. He later became a lead singer of the group Change, which released its gold-certified debut album, The Glow of Love, in 1980 on Warner/RFC Records. After Vandross left the group, he was signed to Epic Records as a solo artist and released his debut solo album, Never Too Much, in 1981.

Dionne Warwick American singer, actress and TV show host

Marie Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress, and television show host who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization and a United States Ambassador of Health.

Patti LaBelle American singer-songwriter and actress

Patti LaBelle is an American singer, actress, and entrepreneur. LaBelle began her career in the early 1960s as lead singer and front woman of the vocal group, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. Following the group's name change to Labelle in the early 1970s, they released the iconic disco song "Lady Marmalade" and the group later became the first African-American vocal group to land the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

The Soul Train Music Award trophy has featured an African ceremonial mask since its 1987 introduction. A new trophy was designed by Tristan Eaton of Thunderdog Studios in 2009 and is manufactured by New York firm Society Awards. From 1995 to 2005 a separate award show named Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards was held, honoring female artists. [2]

Trophy reward for a specific achievement

A trophy is a tangible, durable reminder of a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit. Trophies are often awarded for sporting events, from youth sports to professional level athletics. In many sports medals are often given out either as the trophy or along with more traditional trophies.

Tristan Eaton is a graffiti artist, street art muralist, illustrator and toy designer.

Society Awards is an American company best known for its custom design and manufacturing of high-profile entertainment industry awards, including the Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award, and GLAAD Media Award, among others.

Most recent Soul Train Music Awards winners
  2017 17 November 2018 2019 
  H.E.R. 2017.jpg Ella Mai 2019 by Glenn Francis.jpg
Award Album of the Year Song of the Year
Winner H.E.R.
Ella Mai
"Boo'd Up"
  BrunoMars24KMagicWorldTourLive (cropped).jpg Daniel Caesar 2017.jpg
Award Video of the Year Best New Artist
Winner Bruno Mars
Daniel Caesar


The 2008 ceremonies were not held due to several factors, including the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, the ill health of Don Cornelius at the time, and Soul Train distributor Tribune Entertainment terminating operations in the wake of the sale of Tribune Company to Sam Zell. With the rights to Soul Train acquired by MadVision Entertainment, the Soul Train Music Awards were presented on November 24, 2009 on Centric. MadVision now holds the rerun rights to Soul Train.

Don Cornelius American television show host

Donald Cortez Cornelius was an American television show host and producer who was best known as the creator of the nationally syndicated dance and music show Soul Train, which he hosted from 1971 until 1993. Cornelius sold the show to MadVision Entertainment in 2008.

Tribune Entertainment was a television production and syndication company owned and operated by Tribune Broadcasting. The company was started in the mid-1980s. Many programs offered from Tribune Entertainment have been broadcast on the company's television stations.

Samuel Zell is an American billionaire businessman, the founder and chairman of Equity International, a private investment firm focused on building real estate-related businesses in emerging markets that he founded in 1969. He also maintains substantial interests in, and is the chairman of, several public companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange: Equity Residential (EQR), Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), Equity Commonwealth (EQC), Covanta Holding Corp. (CVA), and Anixter.

The 2009 ceremony was held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, marking the first time in the show's 22-year history it was held outside of the Los Angeles area. The 2010 awards was held on November 10 just outside Atlanta at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, and aired November 28. [3] The 2011 show was once again held in Atlanta and aired November 27. [4] The 2012 ceremony was held live on November 25 at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. As of 2018, Beyoncé is the most-awarded artist at the Soul Train Music Awards with 15 awards.

Georgia World Congress Center Convention center in Altlanta

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) is a convention center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Enclosing some 3.9 million ft2 in exhibition space and hosting more than a million visitors each year, the GWCC is the third-largest convention center in the United States. Opened in 1976, the GWCC was the first state-owned convention center established in the United States. The center is operated on behalf of the state by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which was chartered in 1971 by Georgia General Assembly to develop an international trade and exhibition center in Atlanta. The authority later developed the Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which replaced the Georgia Dome. In 2017, the Georgia Dome was closed on March 5 and demolished by implosion on November 20 while Mercedes-Benz Stadium officially opened on August 26. While the GWCCA owns Mercedes-Benz Stadium, AMB Group, the parent organization for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United FC, is responsible for the stadium's operations.

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is a performing arts venue located in the Cumberland/Galleria edge city, in northwest Atlanta, Georgia. The $145 million facility celebrated its grand opening September 15, 2007, with a concert by Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder.

Las Vegas Valley Metropolitan area in Nevada

The Las Vegas Valley is a major metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The state's largest urban agglomeration, it is part of the Las Vegas MSA. The Valley is largely defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) basin area surrounded by mountains to the north, south, east and west of the metropolitan area. The Valley is home to the three largest incorporated cities in Nevada: Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas. Five unincorporated towns governed by the Clark County government are part of the Las Vegas Township and constitute the largest community in the state of Nevada.


01 1987 Dionne Warwick and Luther Vandross Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
02 1988 Dionne Warwick
03 1989 Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle and Ahmad Rashād Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
04 1990 Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle and Luther Vandross
05 1991 Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle and Luther Vandross
06 1992 Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross, Will Smith and Vanessa Williams
07 1993 Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross and Natalie Cole
08 1994 Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Johnny Gill
09 1995 Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker and Babyface
10 1996 Brandy, LL Cool J and Anita Baker
11 1997 Brandy, LL Cool J and Gladys Knight
12 1998 Patti LaBelle, Heavy D and Erykah Badu
13 1999 Tyra Banks, Monica and Brian McKnight
14 2000 Shemar Moore, Lisa "Left-Eye Lopes, Tamia and Eric Benét
15 2001 Shemar Moore, Mýa and Queen Latifah
16 2002 Shemar Moore, Arsenio Hall, Yolanda Adams and Faith Evans Los Angeles Memorial Sport Arena, Los Angeles, California
17 2003 Queen Latifah and Arsenio Hall Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, California
18 2004 Alicia Keys and Babyface International Cultural Center Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
19 2005 Brian McKnight, Fantasia, Nick Cannon and Nicole Ritchie Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, California
20 2006 Vivica A. Fox and Tyrese Pasadena Conference Center, Los Angeles, California
21 2007 LeToya Luckett and Omarion Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
22 2009 Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia
23 2010 Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia
24 2011 Cedric the Entertainer
25 2012 Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nevada
26 2013 Anthony Anderson Orleans Arena, Paradise, Nevada
27 2014 Wendy Williams Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
28 2015 Erykah Badu
29 2016
30 2017
31 2018 Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold


The original trophy is a bronze abstract sitting figure known as the Vanguard in 1987. However, the trophy is an African mask which is known as the Heritage Award. Its distinctive design created by an unknown sculptor, but its remains a visual trademark for Soul Train's representation of Black music.

From 1989 to 2007, the Heritage mask remained the trophy for Soul Train Music Awards until 2009 when BET and its sister channel Centric revived the awards. Thunderdog designed a brand new trophy based on the program's mascot, an actual train.

Award categories

Main awards

This page lists the winners and nominees for the Soul Train Music Award for Best Album of the Year. Originally entitled Best R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year, it was first awarded during the 1997 ceremony. It was renamed to its current title during the 2004 ceremony. During the years 2005 to 2008, the category was separated to award female, male and group albums separate awards.

This page lists the winners and nominees for the Soul Train Music Award for Video of the Year. Originally entitled Best Music Video, the award has been retitled a further two times before being retitled again to its current title in 2013. Janet Jackson has won this award a record six times and Beyoncé is the only artist with multiple nominations in one year.

This page lists the winners and nominees for the Soul Train Music Award for Best Song of the Year. The award was originally entitled Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Song of the Year and first awarded during the 1989 ceremony. It was later retitled to its current title in 1993, before being renamed again to R&B/Soul or Rap Song of the Year in 1995. The award was retired following the 1996 ceremony, seeing the separated categories for male, female and group artists returning in its place. The award returned in 2009, along with its current title.

Special awards

Defunct award categories

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  1. "Erykah Badu Returns to Host the 2016 Soul Train Music Awards as Drake, Beyoncé Lead Nominations". Billboard. October 12, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  2. "Jill Scott Nabs Trio Of Lady Of Soul Awards".
  3. "Soul Train Awards Returning to Atlanta, November 10th". July 14, 2010. Archived from the original on July 19, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
  4. "Sixth Annual BET Hip-Hop Awards and Soul Train Awards will Return to Atlanta". July 5, 2011. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2011.