“With the brilliance and success of their albums this past year, all three of these nominated artists took their career to a new level. But tragically, the bright promise of one is gone far too soon,” said singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle, co-presenting the Favorite Soul/R&B Album award at Tuesday’s American Music Awards.
The nominees were Khalid’s American Teen, SZA’s Ctrl, and 17, the full-length debut by controversial rapper XXXTentacion (real name: Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy), who was shot to death at age 20 in June.
17, which went to No. 2 on the Billboard album chart in September 2017, won the honor, and accepting the award on XXXTentacion’s behalf was the slain hip-hop star’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard. She seemed visibly moved, even fighting back tears, as she approached the podium.
“I’m so nervous, you guys,” Bernard said. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of my son. I would like to thank the AMAs, his fans, and to everyone who made this possible. Thank you guys so much. I appreciate it.”
This was actually Bernard’s second time accepting a posthumous award for her son this week. XXXTentacion also won Best New Hip-Hop Artist at the 2018 BET Hip-Hop Awards, which were pre-taped Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater. That ceremony will air on BET Oct. 16. The 2018 American Music Awards took place Oct. 9 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.