Mother’s Day is still over a week away, but a festive celebration for the holiday came early in Los Angeles Thursday evening, as H.E.R., La La Anthony, Anthony Anderson and more came together to celebrate their moms and moms everywhere during VH1’s annual “Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Mom” tribute.
Ahead of the live taping at the Theater at the Ace Hotel, they hit the carpet with their moms in tow, and shared the advice their mothers have given them that has helped them the most along the way.
“This is the third year that I’ve hosted this, and it’s such a great night honoring moms…so many great performances,” Anthony told Variety as her proud mom Carmen Surillo beamed beside her. “It’s just a night that’s about them and I just love to be a part of that.” As for the best advice her mom gave her, the “Power” star said, “As a mom, there’s no handbook. You just have to know your child and do what you think is best. That’s what I do with Kiyan. You have to trust your gut and go with the flow.”
Anthony’s co-host, Anderson, who hit the carpet in a custom hot pink blazer with his mother, Doris Hancox, brought on the funnies per usual with a simple answer. “Don’t drink that,” he said when asked about the best advice his mother gave him. “I don’t know where we were but she said don’t drink that and I didn’t,” he continued with a laugh. “I was like 13.”
Ciara, meanwhile, hit the carpet with her mom, Jackie Harris, and her grandmother, Gladys Stewart, for the fete, making a dramatic entrance in a billowy ivory top that came complete with a train. “The best piece of advice was [about] motherhood,” Ciara said with a big smile when asked about the best advice her mother gave her.
“When I was going to enter mommyhood she was like, ‘Don’t worry. Everything will fall in place.’ That was really comforting to know because you’re so curious about this thing that you’ve never experienced before. It’s very foreign to your mind and your body and with motherhood that is true, it just falls into place. You don’t need to worry about the process.”
The “Level Up” songstress was on hand on behalf of #SeeHer, which honors deserving moms for the strides they’ve made to increase accurate representation of women and girls in advertising and media. One of those moms was CNN correspondent April Ryan, who brought both of her daughters to the event and celebrated her mom, who died last year.
As the event kicked off in a ballroom lined with white tables topped with red roses and a stunning display of lights, Anderson took the stage in a white suit to pay tribute to his wife, Alvina Stewart, who couldn’t make it to the event. He brought down the lights and sang Babyface’s “Whip Appeal,” the first of many throwback performances during the evening.
Following Anthony’s performance, Monica, Ashanti and T.I. hit the stage, with Monica singing “Angel of Mine,” Ashanti crooning “Foolish” and T.I. paying tribute to his wife Tameka “Tiny” Cottle with a video of two of their sons discussing why she’s a great mom. The rapper also awarded a $25,000 scholarship to a single mother in the room in honor of his late sister, Precious Harris, who died earlier this year.
But it was H.E.R. who had the room transfixed in silence as she sat at a white baby grand piano and sang Donny Hathaway’s “Song for You.” It was a tribute to her mom, and a song she used to sing to her mother when she was only 8 years old.
Shai and SWV wrapped up the night, bringing the audience to their feet with performances of “Brown Eyes” and “So Into You” respectively, and all of the performers hit the stage to sing “Happy Birthday” to H.E.R.’s mom, who the songstress said with a smile “doesn’t look a day over 25.”
“Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Mom” premieres Monday, May 6th at 10 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.