lee-daniels*Lee Daniels may have been celebrated at the 2016 BET Honors, but in his eyes, the real honor for his sobriety goes to Patti Labelle.

USA Today reports the “Empire” co-creator had nothing but love and props to give to the music icon as he highlighted their friendship and how influential she was in bringing him into a drug-free mind state.

“La, that I’m even here with you tonight, when you were responsible for me getting off drugs, I love you,” Daniels said Saturday (Mar. 5) while accepting the BET Honors’ television and film award during the ceremony’s taping at the Warner Theatre.

“I called her up one night at three o’clock in the morning,” he went on to explain. “(I was) babbling, babbling, babbling. I was high as a kite (and) she said, ‘Lee, you know Jesus?’”

Daniels’ comments about LaBelle were among the things said about the singer, who was also recognized at the BET Honors. LaBelle, who was acknowledged for musical arts, joined fellow honorees Epic Records CEO and chairman L.A. Reid (the business of entertainment), President of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson (corporate citizen) and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (public service)).

“At the age of 71, to still be honored, that’s a blessing period — just for people to say Patti LaBelle is still relevant,” LaBelle told USA Today on the red carpet prior to the BET Honors.

patti labelle lee daniels la reid

Patti LaBelle, Lee Daniels, LA Reid

In addition to this year’s honorees, the show took time to highlight late singer Natalie Cole and late Earth, Wind & Fire founder, Maurice White. Performers included Toni Braxton, Jussie Smollett, Usher, Eddie Levert, Ledisi, Fantasia, Jazmine Sullivan and Raheem Devaughn. In addition, the event featured the reunion of Reid’s group The Deele after 28 years.

“We do this so that our young people see that there are different ways to fame and success,” BET CEO Debra Lee told USA Today regarding the motivation behind the BET Honors after-party.

Lee went on to applaud April Reign‘s #OscarsSoWhite hashtag while touching on the snubbing of entertainers of color at other awards shows, as well as Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs for working to diversify The Academy.

“I think what Cheryl Boone Isaacs is doing is very important,” Lee said while pointing out BET’s commitment to honoring black talent. “And it makes me feel very proud of what BET does year in and year out, not only with our programming but also with awards shows like tonight where we honor our own. I mean, we’re not sitting around waiting around for The Academy or the Emmys or the Grammys to recognize black artists. We’re doing it ourselves, so I think that’s very important.”

The BET Honors is set to air March 14 at 8 p.m. ET on BET.