Maxwell accepted the Legend Award at the 2021 Soul Train Awards, which aired Sunday night on BET. R&B star Jazmine Sullivan presented Maxwell with the award.
In his emotional acceptance speech, Maxwell recounted how he connected with music as a child.
“We had food stamps. We had low-income housing. But we had a radio and the radio was the window to my dreams,” he said. “To be able to stand here before all of you and to be part of the community of R&B and soul music is truly the award that I’ve always wished for, but this literally is blowing my entire mind.”
He added, “I want to express my lasting gratitude, my longtime collaborations with Hod David and Stuart Matthewman, to my best friend and my business partner John D., and to Don Cornelius.
I want to shout out Haiti and I want to shout out Puerto Rico. I want to shout out the fact that as a Caribbean child, who was born in Brooklyn, to be able to be included in the experience of the civil rights southern movement, not just the Caribbean movement, for it to catch up, and for us to finally be included as Caribbean Black people in the story. This is what this means to me.”
Maxwell returned to the stage after his touching speech to perform a medley of some of his greatest hits. He opened his 10-minute set with his debut single “…Til the Cops Come Knockin’,” from Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. He went on to perform other classics such as “Bad Habits,” “Sumthin’ Sumthin’,” “Lifetime” and “Ascension.”
On March 2, 2022, Maxwell will kick off his headlining Night Tour with special guests Anthony Hamilton and Joe. The three R&B gents will play at arenas in major U.S. cities, including New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.
Watch Maxwell’s performance at the 2021 Soul Train Awards below.