Minnesota native Prince was honored at the BET Music Awards in Los Angeles last night.
The multi-platinum singer, songwriter and musician received the network's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his long musical career, dating back to his first album in 1978.
After an all-female musical tribute, Prince spoke briefly to the crowd.
"I was pretty wild in my younger days and you don't have to do what I did. You don't have to make the mistakes I made. The future's in your hands now. And the world really is yours. There's a change going on in America that's going on right now and everybody can feel it. And we're going to be the beacon to the rest of the world," Prince told the crowd.
Prince, who wore a tunic with his own image on it, said he was thankful "to be a part of this world of music."
Previous winners include James Brown, Al Green and Whitney Houston.