WASHINGTON -- John Legend believes hip hop played its part in helping Barack Obama become president, and he's proud at how the genre has matured over the years.
"I think hip hop had a role in making sure we elected a black president in America because we made it so that black people were in people's homes ... through our music and through our culture," the R&B crooner said Sunday night at the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball.
"I think it made Barack Obama and more people like him possible, so I'm really thankful for hip hop and the role it plays in society," he continued.
Legend was awarded the humanitarian award at Sunday's event, and it was one of many honours handed out at the Harman Center for Arts.
Hip-hop pioneers MC Lyte and Doug E. Fresh were both given lifetime achievement awards. Fresh even hit the stage, beat boxing while comedian-actor-singer Wayne Brady cooed Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" At one point, Brady even busted out his own rhymes.
Actress Rosario Dawson won the vanguard award for her work as chairman of the Voto Latino organization.
"It's time to step out of the shadows. It's time to not just be talked about by other people, it's time to take the leadership ourselves and that first step of leadership is voting," Dawson said of the importance of the Latino vote.
-- The Associated Press