Toni Braxton was one of the most successful female R&B singers of the ’90s, thanks to her versatility and resilience. Her music was soulful and smooth enough for the grown and sexy but also sultry and sassy enough for younger audiences as well. It also helped that she’s a triple threat with phenomenal beauty and a killer since of style and stage presence.
Turning heads on read carpets was her forte as a result of bold wardrobe choices, and her performances became water cooler chatter for days. Even when the chips are down, Toni Braxton knows how to keep herself relevant. Now, on the brink of her new reality TV show, Braxton Family Values (which premieres April 12 on WE), we take a look back at Toni Braxton’s best 9 performances and reminisce the magic she made while anticipating what’s to come.
1. Toni Braxton and Trey Songz Perform “Yesterday” at 2009 Soul Train Music Awards
Toni Braxton is known for surprises but no one expected her to kiss Trey Songz at the 2009 Soul Train Music Awards. The 43-year-old MILF-turned-cougar, and the 25-year-old R&B crooner engaged in a steamy lip lock as they wrapped their performance of their smash duet, “Yesterday.” For those who didn’t get the memo, Toni is still giving the young girls a run for their money.
2. “Unbreak My Heart” at Arista’s 25th Anniversary Celebration (1999)
Toni Braxton teamed up with producer David Foster and performed “Unbreak My Heart” at Arista’s 25th Anniversary celebration. Foster played the Spanish guitar, plucking the song’s signature riffs while Miss Braxton showcased her signature contralto voice on the classic Billboard all-time favorite.
3. Medley at the NBA’s 56th All Star Game (2007)
Toni Braxton appropriately performed a Vegas-style medley of some of her most popular songs at the 2007 NBA All Star Game, which took place in, of course, Sin City. Her name was up in lights and she first wore a flaminco style dress but stripped down to a saucy, skimpy stringy mini dress and sashayed across the stage. Enough said.
4. BET 20th Anniversary (2000)
When BET turned 20, Toni Braxton was front and center stage, and performed “He Wasn’t Man Enough.” She first appeared in a vinyl trench coat but before the song was over she removed the jacket and revealed a short stringy metallic dress. Her show was capped off the show with a steamy dance routine.
5. Stevie Wonder Tribute on BET (2006)
Stevie Wonder paved the way for several artists in the game so it was only right that Toni Braxton, an icon in her own right, serenaded the genius with his classic ballad, “Overjoyed.” Braxton is usually known for dramatics but this time she appropriately kept it simple and classy by sitting on a stool and belting her heart out. She looked stunning in a lime green satin dress.
6. The George Lopez Show (2010)
Toni Braxton made yet another come back on The George Lopez Show last year. The veteran diva performed the sultry “Hands Tied” while sporting an edgy honey blonde short hair cut and a form fitting dress. Think of that performance as a warning shot to let all the young divas know who did it first.
7. Aida (2003)
Transitioning to Broadway for most R&B singers is no easy fete but Toni Braxton tackled it with ease. However, that doesn’t hold true for Toni Braxton. She showed that she was a triple threat a few years earlier when she made her Broadway debut as Bell in Beauty and the Beast but by the time Aida came around, she staked her claim as a force to be reckoned with in all aspects of theater and performing arts by belting out difficult ballads beautifully.
8. Tribute to Elvis – Sounds and Visions (On Fox, 1997)
The R&B songstress once again showed her versatility in a tribute to Elvis, which aired on Fox. Her version of “Love Me Tender” was sweet and soulful but even Elvis supporters couldn’t hate.
9. Regis & Kelly (2005)
Toni Braxton performed “Please” on a 2005 episode of Live With Regis & Kelly, proving that she was the queen of resilience. At that time, she was in the midst of another triumphant comeback.
By Starrene Rhett