NEW YORK – The BET Awards served as an extension of the voices of black people protesting on the streets about the inequalities that black people face on a daily basis, as artists used their performances to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement, the rights civilians and the lives of those lost to police officers, including George Floyd.
DaBaby, his face pressed to the ground as an officer’s knee paralyzed his neck – depicting the last moments of Floyd’s life – struck a line from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit song “Rockstar”. His performance also included images of protests, a reflection of the world today following the death of Floyd and the deaths of others, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
Sunday’s show, a virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic, featured a number of highly produced, well-designed and prerecorded performances. The BET Awards started with black artists rapping and singing hymns about the experience of black people and fighting for equal rights.
The 12-year-old sensation Keedron Bryant, who turned heads on social media with his passionate performance of being a young black man in today’s world, started the show with an a cappella performance of his poignant song “I Just Wanna Live”, which earned him a record. This was followed by an all-star performance from Public Enemy’s 1989 anthem “Fight the Power”, with Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody and YG adding new lyrics to the song, even named Taylor and others.
Michelle Obama highlighted Beyoncé’s commitment to the black community before presenting her with the humanitarian award, saying, “You can see it in everything she does, from her music that gives voice to joy and to black pain, to his activism which demands justice for blacks. lives. “
Beyoncé used her speech to encourage viewers to vote “as if our lives depend on it” in the next election.
“I want to dedicate this award to all my brothers there, to all my sisters who inspire me, walk and fight for change. Your voices are heard and you prove to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain. Now we have another thing we have to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote, “she said. There are people who count on us to stay at home during local elections and primaries in the states of the country. We have to vote as if our lives depend on it, because it is. ”
The Sunday show celebrated the 20th BET award and the 40th anniversary of BET as a network. The three-hour event, which aired on CBS for the first time, was hosted by actress, actress and television personality Amanda Seales, who starred in several skits, including one about women who identify with themselves. like “Karen”, a common stereotype and term for racist and privileged white women.
Other artists were political during their performances, including Roddy Ricch, who wore a Black Lives Matter shirt while rapping, Alicia Keys, Anderson Paak and Jay Rock, as well as the brothers SiR and D Smoke, who played with their mother Jackie Gouché.
Lil Wayne paid tribute to NBA icon Kobe Bryant, who died in January, with a performance of his 2009 song “Kobe Bryant”, weaving new lyrics. Wayne Brady, in a scintillating costume, rolled over the top of a piano, singing a mix of Little Richard’s hits.
Nipsey Hussle, who was named best male hip-hop artist and won the humanitarian award at last year’s BET Awards, won the video of the year for “Higher”, a clip he shot with DJ Khaled and John Legend shortly before his death.
“It’s for Nipsey Hussle and hip-hop,” said Khaled in a recorded video. “Nipsey Hussle, thank you for working with me on this” superior “record. I like you. Nipsey’s family, we love you. ”
The BET Awards, one of the first awards to be broadcast virtually, showcased clean performances with artistic production, giving extra life to the songs played. It was a welcome break from the “living room” and home-made performances that hundreds of artists have shared on social media since the March pandemic.
Chloe x Halle, who successfully performed on various television shows and events during the pandemic while promoting their new album, gave an epic performance of their songs “Do It” and “Forgive Me”. R&B star Summer Walker, who played guitar and sang, was also impressive in her performance, which starred Usher.
Megan Thee Stallion went into the desert with long distance dancers while twerking and hitting her No. 1 hit “Savage”. She won the prize for the best female hip-hop artist, beating Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.
“Oh my God, I probably recorded this video like 10 times. It’s so crazy to do this from home, ”she said. “I used to watch the BET Awards all the time thinking,” Someday I’ll be the one going up there to accept my award “- and now it is. “
Although the BET Awards are technically devoted to the awarding of trophies, the awards were an afterthought. Ricch won the album of the year for his debut album, “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial”; Lizzo was named best female R & B / pop artist; and Burna Boy won the best international number.
The BET Awards are an annual celebration of black entertainment and culture, and this year’s ceremony is the first major awards ceremony since Floyd’s May 25 death at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked protests. efforts to reform police actions and remove statues and symbols considered racist in public places.