The BET awards (Black Entertainment Television) took place yesterday, June 28, at 5:00 PM. Though the show is an awards show meant to celebrate the careers of black celebrities, this year’s show had a distinct overriding theme that set it apart; one of a cry for racial justice.
The show, which was completely virtual due to the pandemic, had many moments that referred directly to the ongoing issue of racial inequality around the world, which was recently spotlighted following George Floyd’s death. As a result, many of the performances paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The show kicked off with black artists rapping and singing anthems about the black experience and equal rights.
Next, DaBaby performed an updated Black Lives Matter remix of his song “Rock Star” with his face pressed against the ground as an officer’s knee pressed against his neck. This was a tribute to the final moments of George Floyd’s life.
12 year old social media sensation Keedron Bryant followed up with his performance of “I Just Wanna Live” a song with lyrics that discuss what it’s like being a young black man in today’s world.
Next came an all star performance of Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’ featuring Nas, black Thought, Rapsody and YG. Last night’s version featured additional lyrics that paid tribute to the many individuals who died due to racial injustice.
Michelle Obama made an appearance to present Beyonce with the channel’s humanitarian award. "You can see it in everything she does, from her music that gives voice to black joy and black pain, to her activism that demands justice for black lives,” the former first lady said of the singer.
Beyonce then graciously accepted the award with a strong message to viewers to “vote like our life depends on it.” "I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard and you're proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain. Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote," she said. "There are people banking on us staying at home during local elections and primaries happening in states across the country. We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” the singer said in her speech.
Other artists that were political in their performances include Roddy Rich who wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt during his rap, as well as Alicia Keyes, Anderson Paak, Jay Rock and SiR and D Smoke.
Lil Wayne paid tribute to Kobe Bryant during by singing his song which is named after the NBA icon.
In addition to making an important political statement, the show, which marked the 20th awards show and the 40th anniversary of the station itself, also awarded many of today’s stars. Here is a list of the winners.
Roddy Ricch - Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Chris Brown [Ft. Drake] - “No Guidance”
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Megan Thee Stallion
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Video of the Year
DJ Khaled [Ft. Nipsey Hussle, John Legend] - “Higher”
Video Director of the Year
Teyana “Spike Tee” Taylor
Best New Artist
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
Kirk Franklin - “Just for Me”
Best International Act
Best New International Act
Michael B. Jordan
Young Stars Award
Queen & Slim
Sportswoman of the Year
Sportsman of the Year
2020 Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
Megan Thee Stallion [Ft. Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign] - “Hot Girl Summer”
BET Her Award
Beyonce [Ft. Blue Ivy Carter, Wizkid and Saint Jhn] - “Brown Skin Girl”