By: Kira Demund, contributing intern (@kiracarinaa)

The beauty of music is that it brings people from all walks of life together. BMI honored that significance at the 2016 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards – held at Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center’s Symphony Hall – on Thursday evening (Sept. 1). Songwriters, producers, and singers alike shared the red carpet and were honored for their behind-the-scenes work. DJ Khaled, Kandi Burruss, Rae Sremmund, and the Braxton family were just some of the influential names in the music industry who attended the ceremony.

For over 70 years, BMI has valued the artists and the technicians who create the music we know and love. CEO of BMI, Michael O’Neill, described the significance of having the award show:

“We honor the top R&B and Hip-Hop songs in the country and tonight we are honoring the top 35 songs that are on the air. In addition to that, we honor the producer of the year, song of the year, and publisher of the year…all very big things. And then the icing on the cake, is to give the President’s Award to Toni Braxton who has been unbelievable in her philanthropy, in her entertainment career, and just her impact on culture.”

Producer Drumma Boy, who was honored at the BMI Urban Showcase earlier in April returned and had this to say about the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards:

“The BMI Awards is always like a family reunion. It’s a blessing to be here seeing our fellow songwriters, our fellow producers, guys who we are in the studio with everyday throughout the year. To see us getting awards, you know, we work hard throughout the year and the awards show is what we do it for. It’s like the Emmy’s or like anything else. We appreciate it to be recognized. It’s a blessing”.

The star of the night, Toni Braxton, took home the BMI President’s Award which is the highest honor presented on special occasions to acknowledge artists and their profound work. Not for nothing, the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter has left her impact on R&B with acclaimed hits “Breath Again,” “How Many Ways,” and “Seven Whole Days”. Aside from her musical career, Toni is well-known for her charitable work and an activist for those with lupus, a chronic disease that the songstress struggles with.

Yesterday’s ceremony also showed that the Braxton sisters are always there to support each other.

“I am so excited for Toni. Everytime she gets an award, she always brings along her entire family and it’s such an honor. It’s just an honor to be able to say she’s my sister,” Towanda Braxton stated.

Following the red carpet included performances by Rich Homie Quan, Rae Sremmund, and Kent Jones. During the ceremony, the Braxton sisters sang “Breath Again” in Toni’s honor before she was presented with her award.

Check out a few photos from the event:

Photo Credit: Ariel Hairston, for STACKS Magazine

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