She initially thought the HBCU theme would be “confusing” for the audience.
“She brought our culture and tradition to the world stage,” Harris tweeted.
The music icon is the first woman to receive a special citation honor.
Announcement comes a week before the festival gets underway.
The R&B singer topped the charts with hits including “Here I Go Again.”
Cardi B and Travis Scott will headline the two-day event.
BET will broadcast the ceremony on Easter Sunday, April 21.
“Call Lifetime… I’m ready to talk,” the singer told his Instagram followers.
The residency will celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Rhythm Nation.”
“I’m going to need us to start Black History Month over again,” someone tweeted.
R&B diva said she wanted to “be a bridge” in a divided country after 2016 election.
The singer faces widespread sexual abuse allegations.