Soul Train Music Awards

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Soul Train Music Awards
Current: 2022 Soul Train Music Awards
Awarded forOutstanding achievements in:
Soul music, Contemporary R&B, Gospel, Jazz, Reggae and Hip Hop
CountryUnited States
First awardedMarch 23, 1987; 35 years ago (1987-03-23)
WebsiteBET: Soul Train Awards
Television/radio coverage
NetworkWGN America (1987–2007)
First Run Syndication (1987–2007)
BET (2009–present)
Centric/BET Her (2009–present)

The Soul Train Music Awards is an annual music awards show which previously aired in national broadcast syndication, and honors the best in African-American culture, 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 contemporary R&B and soul music 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).

The Soul Train Music Awards voting body[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

Most recent Soul Train Music Awards winners
← 2020 November 28, 2021 2022 →
  Jazmine Sullivan 2015.jpg Silk Sonic.jpg
Award Album of the Year Song of the Year
Winner Jazmine Sullivan
Heaux Tales
Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak, Silk Sonic
"Leave the Door Open"
  Silk Sonic.jpg Yung Bleu in 2021.png
Award Video of the Year Best New Artist
Winner Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak, Silk Sonic
"Leave the Door Open"
Yung Bleu


The 2008 ceremonies were not held due to several factors, including the 2007–08 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 Media 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 BET Her. MadVision now holds the rerun rights to Soul Train.

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 Greater Los Angeles. The 2010 awards was held on November 10 just outside Atlanta at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, and aired November 28.[4] The 2011 show was once again held in Atlanta and aired November 27.[5] The 2012 ceremony was held live on November 25 at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas in Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. As of 2019, Beyoncé is the most-awarded artist at the Soul Train Music Awards with 16 awards.


# Date Host Venue
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 Rashad 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 Convention Center, Pasadena, California
18 2004 Alicia Keys and Babyface International Cultural Center Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
19 2005 Brian McKnight, Fantasia, Nick Cannon and Nicole Richie Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, California
20 2006 Vivica A. Fox and Tyrese Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, California
21 2007 LeToya Luckett and Omarion
22 2009 Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta
23 2010 Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta
24 2011 Cedric the Entertainer
25 2012 Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip
26 2013 Anthony Anderson Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
27 2014 Wendy Williams
28 2015 Erykah Badu
29 2016
30 2017
31 2018 Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold
32 2019
33 2020 Held Virtually
34 2021 Apollo Theater, New York City[6]
35 2022 Deon Cole Las Vegas

Soul Cypher[edit]

In 2015, host Erykah Badu added a new tradition to the award show, the Soul Cypher. Similar to a Hip-Hop cypher, it features a quartet of R&B/Soul/Gospel singers coming together to perform a freestyle. Accompanied by an instrumental beat and a live band, the artists deliver a freestyle arrangement by incorporating lyrics, hooks and/or titles from their popular hits.[7] A UK version of the Soul Cypher was introduced during the 2020 broadcast.

Year Artists Instrumental Beat
2015 Lalah Hathaway, Eddie Levert, Chrisette Michele & K-Ci Mobb Deep - Shook Ones Pt. 1
2016 Gladys Knight, Ne-Yo, Angie Stone & Tyrese Bryson Tiller - Don't
2017 Bilal, Faith Evans, Fantasia & Mali Music The Isley Brothers - Footsteps in the Dark (Part 1 & 2)
2018 BJ the Chicago Kid, Luke James, Queen Naija & Kelly Price Patti LaBelle - If Only You Knew
2019 Keyshia Cole, Anthony Hamilton, Le'Andria Johnson & Carl Thomas Robert Glasper - Impromptu Medley
2020 Chanté Moore, PJ Morton, Shanice & Stokley Erykah Badu - Love of My Life
2021 Tone Stith, Koryn Hawthorne, Jac Ross, Elle Varner, & Musiq Soulchild Aaliyah - Rock the Boat

UK Soul Cypher[edit]

Year Artists Instrumental Beat
2020 Hamzaa, Jvck James, Sinéad Harnett & Shae Universe D'Angelo - Lady
2021 Nao, Ray BLK, SIPHO., Pip Millett, Jamilah Barry & Mnelia Aaliyah - Rock the Boat


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[edit]

Main awards[edit]

Special awards[edit]

Defunct award categories[edit]

Most Awarded Artists[edit]

Artist(s) No. of wins[8]
Beyonce[9] 22
Chris Brown 14
Bruno Mars 13
Janet Jackson 13
R. Kelly 11
Babyface 11
Michael Jackson 10
Usher 9
Alicia Keys 9
Whitney Houston 8
Anita Baker 7
John Legend 7
Kirk Franklin 7
Mariah Carey[10] 6
Erykah Badu 6
Mary J. Blige 6
Maxwell 6
Boys II Men 5
Lauryn Hill 5
Ciara[10] 5
H.E.R.[11] 5
Cardi B[9] 5
Toni Braxton 4
Lil Wayne 4
Jay Z[10] 4
Destiny's Child 4
Pharrell Williams 4
The Isley Brothers 4
Jamie Foxx 4
Drake[9] 4
Tyga 3
Jill Scott 3
Kanye West 3
Rihanna 3
Natalie Cole 3
Barry White 3
Nelly 3
En Vogue 3
Najee 3
Ella Mai 3
LL Cool J 3
Luther Vandross 3
Musiq Soulchild 3
Missy Elliott 3
New Edition 3
The Winans 3
Miguel 3
Soul II Soul 3
D'Angelo 3
Mary Mary 3
B2K 3
OutKast 3
Brandy[11][10] 3
Prince 2
Dr. Dre 2
Lizzo[11] 2
Faith Evans 2
Ledisi 2
Trey Songz 2
SZA[12] 2
Keri Hilson 2
BeBe & CeCe Winans 2
Gladys Knight 2
Tamar Braxton 2
The Notorious B.I.G. 2
Jagged Edge 2
Donnie McClurkin 2
Ashanti 2
Daniel Caesar 2
Dru Hill 2
Robin Thicke 2
T.I. 2
The Weeknd 2
2Pac 2
Lecrae[12] 2
Yolanda Adams 2
Sean Paul 2
Janelle Monae 2
Kelly Rowland 2
Mark Ronson 2
Quincy Jones 2
Johnny Gill 2
Gregory Abbott 2
Cameo 2
Run–D.M.C. 2
Fat Joe 2
Remy Ma 2
Jodeci 2
Kenny G 2
French Montana 2
Barry White 2
LeVert 2
Puff Daddy 2
Wizkid 2


  1. ^ Cochrane, Naima (November 17, 2019). "Music Sermon: The Soul Train Awards Been Lit, We're Just Late To The Party".
  2. ^ "Erykah Badu Returns to Host the 2016 Soul Train Music Awards as Drake, Beyoncé Lead Nominations". Billboard. October 12, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  3. ^ "Jill Scott Nabs Trio Of Lady Of Soul Awards". 29 August 2001. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Soul Train Awards Returning to Atlanta, November 10th". July 14, 2010. Archived from the original on July 19, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ Grein, Paul (October 18, 2021). "2021 Soul Train Awards to Be Taped at New York's Apollo Theater". Billboard. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  7. ^ "Lalah Hathaway, Eddie Levert, Chrisette Michele & K-Ci Rock Over "Shook Ones" At Soul Train Awards Soul Cypher". Okayplayer. December 1, 2020.
  8. ^ As of 2021 award ceremony
  9. ^ a b c Castaneda, Tom (19 November 2019). "Cardi B Wins Song of the Year at the BET Soul Train Awards". Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d "Soul Train Awards (2005)". Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  11. ^ a b c Lisa Respers. "2019 BET Soul Train Awards: The winners list". Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Bruno Mars wins big at 2017 Soul Train Awards". Retrieved 18 November 2021.

External links[edit]