Artists like Beyonce, Wyclef Jean and Ne-Yo are scrambling to change their performances for the Black Entertainment TV Awards Sunday to honor Michael Jackson.
The awards show, hosted by Jamie Foxx from the Shrine Auditorium, will be dedicated to Jackson because of his influence on music and pop culture, said Stephen Hill, an executive producer for the awards. Jackson died Thursday afternoon at UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at Los Angeles home.
Artists who have worked on their performances for weeks are changing them last-minute to honor Jackson, Hill said.
"To change it up in three days is something that's not easy but they're all willing and looking forward to it," he said Friday. "There's a direct line from Ne-Yo to Michael Jackson. There's a direct line from Beyonce to Michael Jackson. There's a direct line from Jay-Z to Michael Jackson. I think they'll want to pay tribute in their own way."
Hill said he expects acceptance speeches to be dedicated to Jackson's memory and the influence he had on the artists.
"This is going to be the first gathering of people who really cared for and were influenced by him since his death," Hill said. "It's a tall order for us but we have every intention of paying respect to Michael Jackson."
Hill said seeing the Jackson 5 perform in 1971 inspired him to go into the entertainment business. He still keeps a poster of the group in his office, he said.
"I don't think that this first public outpouring could be left in better hands," Hill said. "I'm caring, responsible and passionate about the Michael Jackson legacy. I'm glad to be able to take this challenge."
"There will be another awards show, so if this one changes, that's fine," he said. "There will not be another Michael Jackson."