Wayne Brady Pays Tribute to Little Richard at BET Awards with a Medley of Late Star's Biggest Hits
The BET Awards — held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic — are airing Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS
Nearly two months after Little Richard died of bone cancer, Wayne Brady paid tribute to the late rock and roll trailblazer at the BET Awards on Sunday night.
Channeling the icon with a flashy gold tuxedo, Brady, 48 — who previously portrayed the musician on an episode of American Soul — performed a medley of Little Richard's biggest hits, including "Lucy," "Good Golly, Miss Molly" and "Tutti Frutti."
Born Richard Wayne Penniman, Little Richard, who was 87 when he died, rose to fame in the 1950s and quickly became a prominent figure in the rock and roll scene for his energized performances behind the piano.
With major hits including "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly," his raspy voice, signature six-inch coif, mascara mustache and manic behavior earned him the title of one of the most influential musicians in history.
"Little Richard passed away this morning from bone cancer in Nashville. He was living with his brother in Nashville," his longtime agent confirmed to PEOPLE on May 9. "He was battling for a good while, many years. I last spoke to him about two or three weeks ago. I knew he wasn’t well but he never really got into it, he just would say 'I’m not well.' He’s been suffering for many years with various aches and pains. He just wouldn’t talk about it much.”
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"Little Richard didn't just sing a song. As the architect of rock and roll ... he created this art form that was born out of a frenetic energy," he said, adding that he had already filmed the tribute.
"When people see it, I think they'll see ... I was just lecturing my daughter on being an entertainer, being a showman, which is a little different than if you're being an actor. In a venue like this, you are being a performer and a showman," he said. "I wanted to treat this performance ... Little Richard was an innovator and Little Richard was extra. I wanted to put together a show in my house that showed [that] this is a tribute to him and all that he was in his grandiosity."