NEW YORK (AP) – The BET Awards were an extension of the voices of black people protesting in the street about the inequalities black people face on a daily basis, as artists used their performances to promote the Black Lives Matter movement, civil rights and the lives of who were lost to police officers, including George Floyd.
DaBaby, face down while an officer’s knee crippled his neck – a replay of the final moments in Floyd’s life – ripped a verse from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit “Rockstar.” His performance also included footage of protests, reflecting the current world after Floyd’s death and the deaths of others, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
A virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sunday’s show featured a number of highly produced, well-crafted and pre-recorded performances. The BET Awards kicked off with black artists gossiping and singing songs about the black experience and fighting for equal rights.
12-year-old sensation Keedron Bryant, who drew attention to social media with his passionate performance about being a young black man in today’s world, kicked off the show with an a capella performance of his poignant song ‘I Just Wanna Live ‘, which earned him a recording contract. That was followed by an all-star performance of Public Enemy’s 1989 anthem ‘Fight the Power’, in which Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody and YG added new lyrics to the song, even with the name Taylor and others.
Michelle Obama emphasized Beyoncé’s commitment to the black community before handing her the Humanitarian Prize, saying, ‘You can see it in everything she does, from her music that gives voice to black joy and black pain, to her activism that does justice. demands for black to live. ‘
Beyoncé used her speech to encourage viewers to vote “as if our lives depended on it” in the upcoming election.
“I want to dedicate this prize to all my brothers out there, all my sisters out there inspire me, march and fight for change. Your voices are heard and you prove to our ancestors that their struggle was not in vain. Now there is one more thing we need to do to harness our true power, and that is to vote, “she said.” There are those who count on us to stay at home during local elections and primaries in states across the country. We have to vote as if our lives depend on it because it does. ‘
Sunday’s show celebrated BET’s 20th awards show and BET’s 40th year as a network. The three-hour event, which first aired on CBS, was hosted by comedian, actress and TV personality Amanda Seales, who starred in several skits, including one about women identifying as ‘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 performed 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,” which incorporated new lyrics. Wayne Brady, in a glitter suit, rolled around on a piano singing a medley of Little Richard hits.
Nipsey Hussle, voted best male hip hop artist and last year’s humanitarian award at the BET Awards, won the video of the year for “Higher,” a clip he filmed shortly before his death with DJ Khaled and John Legend.
“This is for Nipsey Hussle and hip hop,” Khaled said in a recorded video. “Nipsey Hussle, thank you for working with me on this” higher “record. I appreciate you. Nipsey’s family, we love you. ‘
The BET Awards, one of the first awards to be broadcast virtually, featured performances that were sharp with artistic stage production, bringing extra life to the songs performed. It was a welcome break from the ‘living room’ and home facing performances that hundreds of artists have shared on social media since the March pandemic.
Chloe x Halle, who successfully performed for several TV shows and events during the pandemic promoting their new album, gave an epic performance of their songs “Do It” and “Forgive Me”. R&B star Summer Walker, who played the guitar and sang, was also impressive during her performance with Usher.
Megan Thee Stallion went to the desert with background dancers while twerking and tapping her No. 1 hit “Savage.” She won best female hip hop artist by beating Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.
“Oh my god, I probably shot this video 10 times. It feels so crazy doing this from my house, ”she said. “I always watched the BET Awards and thought, ‘One day I’m going there to accept my prize’ – and now it is.”
While the BET Awards are technically about handing out trophies, the awards were a side issue. During the live broadcast, Richh won the album of the year for his debut “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial”; Lizzo was voted best female R&B / pop artist; and Burna Boy won the best international act. Overall, Chris Brown, Beyoncé and Ricch were the big winners of the evening, each taking home two awards Beyoncé won the BET HER award for “Brown Skin Girl” shared with daughter Blue Ivy Carter, as well as Wizkid and Saint JHN. The song also won Beyoncé and Blue Ivy a Soul Train Music Award last year.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.