If one thing is for sure, our culture can’t be canceled.
During this year’s BET Awards, the voice of the people can be heard loud and clear. For the first time in 20 years the popular award ceremony was also broadcasted simultaneously on CBS. The Black Lives Matter movement was on full display. Most artists used their platforms to combat racial injustice and stand up for civil rights which seems to be hard for black folks to gain in this country. The show was a virtual event/experience because of the coronavirus pandemic. It featured pre-taped performances which actually turned out to be a pretty cool experiment. The show began with 12-year-old social media sensation Keedron Bryant performing an a capella version of his song, “I Just Wanna Live,” followed by Public Enemy‘s 1989 anthem “Fight the Power,” featuring Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody and YG.
The show was hosted by comedian, actress and TV personality Amanda Seales, who starred in several different skits, one specifically about the privileged white women who the streets are referring to as “Karen.” She disguised herself as a white woman on a video chat with three other white women speaking about how they do not see or pretty much understand the injustices we face as black people in America. Different artists decided to make statements during their performances such as Compton based rapper Roddy Ricch wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt during his performance or Charlotte based rapper DaBaby having his face pressed against the ground as an officer’s knee crippled his neck – reenacting the last moments of George Floyd‘s life. Anderson Paak. and Jay Rock performed a powerful version of their song, “Lockdown.” Other additional powerful performances were included by Alicia Keys, John Legend, as well as brothers SiR and D Smoke, who performed with their mother Jackie Gouché. Lil’ Wayne paid tribute to NBA Legend Kobe Bryant who passed away tragically with his daughter GiGi Bryant in January with a performance of his 2009 song “Kobe Bryant,” also adding new lyrics. Wayne Brady also paid tribute to Little Richard in a shiny suit dazzling at the piano with a medley of his classic songs.
Michelle Obama gave a heartfelt tribute to Beyoncé highlighting her commitment to the black community as she received her 2020 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.” Beyoncé also went on to use her platform to encourage everyone to get out and vote in this year’s election in November. “Like our life depends on it,” she stated. Winners from the night included Megan Thee Stallion winning the Best Female Hip-Hop category. “I used to watch the BET Awards all the time thinking, ‘One day that’s going to be me going up there accepting my award’ – and now it is.” Congrats to her. Roddy Ricch won Album Of The Year for his debut “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial.”- Lizzo was named best female R&B/pop artist; and Burna Boy won best international act. Chris Brown, Beyoncé and Ricch were the night’s big winners, taking home two honors each. Overall we understand the circumstances that happened to this year’s show, but we look forward to it returning to Los Angeles next June.
Sports & Culture Editor for SWGRUS.