One of the most memorable images from this past Sunday’s BET Awards didn’t happen on the stage. During the moving tribute to the late, great legend Whitney Houston, the camera panned to the audience—which was moved and filled with emotions—and for a few seconds, focused on Soulja Boy.

The 21-year-old MC had a stream of tears flowing down his face. It was a touching moment for all those tuning into the Awards ceremony on Sunday night (July 1). recently spoke to Soulja about being overcome with emotion by the tribute for the iconic singer.

“Yeah man,” Soulja—via phone from LA—began to recollect yesterday. “When I was standing there and they started to do the tribute, I started to think about Whitney Houston. When her mother came onstage, I thought about how a mother was singing about her daughter that was no longer here. A daughter that had died.

“That’s really tough,” he added. “Then I started thinking about my younger brother that recently passed. I got his name tatted on my arm. [His passing] feels like it happened yesterday. So those things are hard to watch.”

Soulja, who was only two-years-old when Whitney scored her chart topping 1992 single off the Bodyguard soundtrack, “I Will Always Love You,” says he was a huge fan of Houston.

“Whitney…this is a woman who you see in photographs with Michael Jackson,” he said. “This is a woman who was friends with Michael Jackson, she had so many hits of her own, she worked with other legends, she did a lot. It was touching moment at the BET Awards.

“Like I said, it was hard for me to watch her mama speak on her,” he continued. “The realization that [Whitney’s] not here. To have her mother come out there and sing like that, it was very appropriate. You have to give legends those huge, touching tributes.”

Houston, troubled for years with alcohol and drug problems, was found dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11th. The cause of her death was a lethal mix of drugs in her system.—Shaheem Reid (@ShaheemReid)