updated 07/02/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/02/2012 AT 8:45 AM ET
Nearly five months after Whitney Houston’s death in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the singer’s mother honored her Sunday with a rousing rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the BET Awards across town at the Shrine Auditorium.
The tribute was the emotional highlight of the evening, and started with some heartfelt words from Mariah Carey.
“I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice and laughter, but we’ll always have the music,” Carey said. “We’ll always have that voice we all fell in love with. She inspired us all.”
Monica, Brandy and Whitney’s brother Gary then all sang for the crowd, followed by Cissy, whose performance of the Simon & Garfunkel song brought tears to the eyes of those assembled – a group that included Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
The tribute wrapped with Chaka Khan singing her 1978 song “I’m Every Woman,” which Whitney covered with great success in 1993.
West, Jay-Z and Beyoncé took home the night’s biggest awards. West and Jay-Z were named best group for their collaboration as The Throne, and also won video of the year for “Otis.” Beyoncé was named best female R&B artist. Chris Brown was named best male R&B artist.
Drake and Nicki Minaj were honored as the best hip-hop artists.