The BET Awards yielded plenty of surprises last night, but none more exciting than a guest appearance from Rihanna. On hand to present music legend Mary J. Blige with a lifetime achievement award for groundbreaking career, Rihanna stepped on stage in head-to-toe Fenty. In a custom jacket, pants, and coordinating fanny pack, she channeled both the spirit of Blige’s personal style—no one pulls of head-to-toe leather like the queen of hip hop soul—and the sleek look of her label’s latest drop. Accessorized with layers of Neil Lane necklaces, a diamond studded cross pendant from Loree Rodkin, and Manolo Blahnik sandals, the look delivered glamour with a cool edge.
Blige has served as more than a fashion inspiration for Rihanna. It’s hard to imagine the bad gal swagger existing without Blige’s streetwise persona proceeding it. The work she and her contemporaries did in the ’90s laid the groundwork for many of today’s stars and Rihanna praised her for opening doors for women in the music industry. “On behalf of all the women who came after you like myself, thank you for being you,” she said. “So we could feel comfortable with being ourselves.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue