LOS ANGELES (AP) – Beyoncé used his platform on Sunday while accepting the BET humanitarian prize to transmit a direct appeal to the spectators: go to vote.
“Your voices are being heard and you are proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” said the superstar singer at the BET Awards, who celebrated her 20 years of highlighting excellence in black-led entertainment. But the ceremony, filmed virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, has kept much of its focus on issues such as systematic racism and equal rights.
Beyoncé was honored for her philanthropic work and relief efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. He said voting in the next election was the way to end a “racist and unequal system” in America.
“I am encouraging you to act,” he said following an introduction by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The singer dedicated her prize to the Black Lives Matter movement and encouraged activists to continue pushing forward.
“We have to vote how our lives depend on it because it does,” he said.
Here are some highlights of the three-hour broadcast aired on CBS, BET and BET Her:
MESSAGE FROM DABABY
Rapper DaBaby lay on the sidewalk while an actor playing a police officer pressed his knee to the rapper’s neck.
The commemoration at the beginning of the multi-platinum rapper’s performance offered a glimpse into the last moments of the life of George Floyd, killed by Minneapolis police last month. DaBaby rapped a verse from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit song “Rockstar” with Roddy Ricch at the awards.
Holding a baseball bat in his hand, DaBaby then stood on a stage behind a group of people who had their fists raised high, while others had the “Black Lives Matter” sign.
His performance also featured images of protests, a reflection of the current world in the wake of Floyd’s death and the death of others, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
WEEZY HONORS KOBE
On a virtual stage, Lil Wayne paid tribute to the Black Mamba.
The rapper honored the late Kobe Bryant with a performance of his song “Kobe Bryant”, highlighting the most important moments of the NBA icon. He paid tribute to Bryant who died in a helicopter crash in January that killed eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Wayne intertwined with new texts when Bryant n. 8 and 24 flashed behind him. His performance showed video clips of the Los Angeles Lakers star diving into Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, hitting winning streaks and highlights of his 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
“I call him King Bryant,” knocked Wayne. “Now let the crown show.”
SMALL RICHARD BOP
Wayne Brady has transformed from his normal actor-comic self into the gaudy character of the late Little Richard.
Wearing a gold glittering tuxedo, Brady made his best emulation during a tribute to Richard, who died of bone cancer in May. He rolled to the top of a floor while singing Richard’s medley hits, considered one of the leading rock ‘n’ roll architects.
“Shut up!” Brady blurted out in the same way as Richard. Some of Wayne’s Richard hits included “Lucy”, “Good Golly”, “Miss Molly” and “Tutti Frutti”.
Megan Thee Stallion led to the desert in a themed performance after the “Mad Max” movies.
Sporting a feathered crop top, she danced and played with her dancers who wore masks and kept social distance in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He played his Beyoncé-assisted hit “Savage Remix” and “Girls in the Hood”, a renewal of 1987’s Easy E song “Boyz-N-The Hood”.
In the post-apocalyptic setting, she and her dancers rode through the desert landscape on dusty ATVs. The rapper ended his performance after jumping into a silver-tipped vehicle.
Megan Thee Stallion’s performance came after she won the best female hip-hop artist.
OPENING TO IRON
It did not take long for Amanda Seales, a guest, to touch equal rights for African Americans.
In an exciting monologue, Seales said she was chosen to host the show because she “told all of the racists about it.” He touched on several topics including Breonna Taylor’s death, racial equality and took a hit on actor Terry Crews who faced the recent backlash for his comment on “black supremacy”.
Seales joked that he would prefer to talk about issues other than race, but “racism always beats me.”
His monologue came after a stellar performance of the 1989 Public Enemy anthem “Fight the Power”. The performance was attended by members of the group Chuck D and Flavor Flav along with Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody and YG – who added the lyrics of the song and the name Taylor.
During the show, footage was shown of national protests over the death of unarmed blacks, including Floyd, Arbery and Taylor.
The 12 year old feeling Keedron Bryant also played in a chapel “I Just Wanna Live”, a song about being a young black man who earned him a record deal.
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