Beyoncé, Roddy Ricch and others highlight Black Lives Matter at BET Awards
DaBaby, Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion honoured
Twelve-year-old singer Keedron Bryant opened Sunday night’s BET awards with a song carrying a powerful message:
“I just wanna live.”
Keedron — who received a lot of online attention this month for his passionate performance about being a young Black man in today's world — set the tone for a night dedicated to both Black achievement and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The annual awards show, which was filmed virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, celebrated 20 years of honouring Black excellence with a host of highly produced, pretaped performances.
One of the standouts included rapper DaBaby, who performed his hit song Rockstar (the Black Lives Matter remix) from the ground while an actor playing a police officer pressed his knee on the rapper’s neck.
After a poignant performance, rapper DaBaby took home the award for best male hip-hop artist of the year. (BET via The Associated Press)
The performance was a reenactment of George Floyd’s final moments, whose death sparked global protests when he was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last month.
Rappers Nas, Black Thought, and Rapsody also made powerful statements performing a version of Public Enemy's 1989 anthem Fight the Power alongside original group members Flavor Flav and Chuck D.
They added new lyrics to the song, naming victims of anti-Black racism, including Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police in March.
Michelle Obama presented Beyoncé with the humanitarian award, highlighting her ongoing commitment to the Black community.
Along with her humanitarian award, Beyoncé also won the BET HER award for Brown Skin Girl, shared with her daughter Blue Ivy Carter as well as Wizkid and Saint JHN. (BET via The Associated Press)
"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,” said the former first lady.
Beyoncé dedicated the award to Black protesters and urged the Black community to vote in the upcoming U.S. election.
“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” she said.
Alicia Keys, Anderson Paak, Jay Rock, and Brothers SiR and D Smoke, who performed with their mother, Jackie Gouche, also got political during their performances.
Along with a host of powerful performances, the night also featured some big wins.
Nipsey Hussle, who was killed in a shooting last year, won video of the year for his hit song Higher, a clip he filmed with DJ Khaled and John Legend shortly before he died.
"This is for Nipsey Hussle and hip-hop," Khaled said in a taped video.
Megan Thee Stallion performed in a desert scene inspired by the Mad Max franchise alongside her dancers, who wore masks to stay safe from COVID-19. (CREDIT????)
Megan Thee Stallion performed her No. 1 hit Savage, and won the best female hip-hop artist award, beating out Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.
Lizzo also took home a big win, beating Beyoncé for best female R&B/pop artist of the year.
Roddy Ricch, who wore a Black Lives Matter shirt during his performance, took home album of the year for his debut album Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial.
With files from Mesfin Fekadu/The Associated Press.