Beyoncé urged viewers to ‘dismantle a racist and unequal system’ as she received the Humanitarian of the Year Award on Sunday during the 2020 BET Awards that was produced remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I want to dedicate the award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there, inspiring me and marching and fighting for change,’ the 38-year-old singer said. ‘Your voices are being heard, and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.’
During BET’s three-hour telecast, which marked the 20th anniversary of its awards, Roddy Ricch, 21, won Album of the Year for Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, while Lizzo, 32, won Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, and Chris Brown earned Best Male R&B/Pop Artist.
Actress and comedian Amanda Seales, 38, adroitly hosted the show with a green screen at her house as she went to pre-taped performances and acceptance speeches pre-recorded by the winners.
Top honor: Beyoncé urged viewers to ‘dismantle a racist and unequal system’ as she received the Humanitarian of the Year Award on Sunday during the 2020 BET Awards
Megan Thee Stallion, 25, was named Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, while DaBaby scored Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, and Migos won for Best Group.
Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy, eight, won the BET HER Award—her first—for Brown Skin Girl, joined by her mother, WizKid and Saint Jhn.
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, artists performed alone at home or in isolated studios and warehouses, presenting awards without nomination cards and accepting them via taped speech.
Special performance: Alicia Keys performed a touching piece during the three-hour show
Police brutality: The Grammy-winning singer performed a touching song about the victims of police brutality
The host: Amanda Seales hosted the awards show broadcast on CBS without a live audience with the help of a green screen at her house
Powerful performance: Jennifer Hudson also delivered a powerful performance during the awards ceremony in a gorgeous Reem Acra gown
Desert performance: Megan Thee Stallion performed two of her songs in a desert music video
Center stage: The Houston rapper took center stage during a performance of Savage
Road warrior: Megan was the leader of a biker gang in the video that paid homage to the Mad Max films
Beyoncé’s award was a tribute to her BeyGood non-profit, which supports youth centers, low-income housing, crisis relief and COVID-19 testing for communities disproportionately affected by the virus, along with funding mental health, scholarship and fellowship initiatives.
But she was far from the only artist who issued a call to change on the show, which highlighted the need for individual activism amid longstanding police brutality, social inequity, and racism.
The show opened with 12-year-old gospel singer Keedron Bryant movingly singing I Just Wanna Live, followed by a revamp of Public Enemy’s hit anthem Fight The Power, with Chuck D, 59, and Flavor Flav, 61, plus Nas, 46, Rapsody, 37, YG, 30, and The Roots’ Questlove, 49, and Black Thought, 48.
TV star: Tracee Ellis Ross was among the stars who made remote appearances on the show
Strong start: The show opened with 12-year-old gospel singer Keedron Bryant movingly singing I Just Wanna Live, followed by a revamp of Public Enemy’s hit anthem Fight The Power
Winning attitude: Lizzo, 32, won Best Female R&B/Pop Artist and talked about always feeling like a winner
As the Best New Artist winner, Roddy pulled double duty Sunday, performing his own songs, High Fashion and The Box, before joining DaBaby, 28, on a powerful version of Rockstar (BLM Remix).
DaBaby spent the first verse of the song pinned under the knee of a man dressed as a police officer, while the chorus featured people wearing T-shirts with the names of Black victims of violence, and protesters bearing signs.
It ended with audio of a young girl, Zianna Oliphant, who at age nine gave a tearful speech about being treated differently because she was Black to the city council of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Award winner: As the Best New Artist winner, Roddy Ricch pulled double duty, performing his own songs, High Fashion and The Box
Knee restraint: DaBaby spent the first verse of the song pinned under the knee of a man dressed as a police officer
‘We are Black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this,’ she’d said. ‘We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to. It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed, and we can’t even see them anymore.’
‘In loving memory of all the lives lost to racism and police brutality,’ an end credit read.
Introducing the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist category, Black-ish star Marsai Martin, 15, urged quarantined viewers to start ‘learning a new language! And then using that language to call the Kentucky D.A.’s office… Or taking a nice walk. While on a call with the Kentucky D.A.’s office.’
New language: Introducing the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist category, Black-ish star Marsai Martin, 15, urged quarantined viewers to start ‘learning a new language! And then using that language to call the Kentucky D.A.’s office… Or taking a nice walk. While on a call with the Kentucky D.A.’s office.
Megan, who then won the Hip-Hop award, said she’d recorded her video 10 times, adding, ‘It feels so crazy doing this from my house… I used to watch the BET Awards all the time thinking, ”One day, that’s gonna be me going up there accepting my award.” And now it is.’
Her incredible musical set, shot in the desert with a Mad Max-like theme, included her songs Girls In The Hood, and Savage, and also featured Black Lives Matter signage.
When Lizzo won for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, she thanked the other women in the category, singling out Beyoncé for ‘everything that you have done for black culture.’
From home: Megan, who then won the Hip-Hop award, said she’d recorded her video 10 times, adding, ‘It feels so crazy doing this from my house… I used to watch the BET Awards all the time thinking, ”One day, that’s gonna be me going up there accepting my award.” And now it is’
She said that she’d never won a BET Award before, but had always felt like a winner, ‘because as long as you’re winning in life, that’s the only trophy you need. So we’re all winners ladies, so let’s keep bigging up the culture.’
In one striking moment, Alicia Keys, 39, sang her harrowing new song about police brutality, Perfect Way To Die, surrounded by pianos in an empty street. As the camera pulled back at the end, it revealed dozens of names of those killed by police, written in chalk.
D Smoke, 34, and Sir, 33, performed their moving song Let Go in front of a burnt-out car and green palm trees, opening with a dancer twisting his limbs before four police in riot gear.
Striking moment: Alicia at the end of her song provided a striking moment as the camera puled back and revealed dozens of names of those killed by police, written in chalk
Winning for Best Video of the Year on his song Higher, featuring John Legend, 41, and the late Nipsey Hussle, who was fatally shot in March 2019, DJ Khaled, 44, told Nipsey’s family how much they were loved, adding, ‘Black is beautiful, black is excellent, black lives matter.’
Nigeria’s Burna Boy, 28, who won Best International Act after being introduced by model Naomi Campbell, 50, pointed out the need for intercontinental activism.
‘Sometime around 1835, there was a mission to turn Africa into a dominated nation,’ he said. ‘Now is the time to overturn that and go back to the royalty that we were. In order for black lives to matter, Africa must matter.’
International act: Nigeria’s Burna Boy, 28, who won Best International Act after being introduced by model Naomi Campbell, 50, pointed out the need for intercontinental activism
Model presenter: Naomi Campbell introduced Burna Boy during a remote appearance
In her speech, Beyoncé acknowledged that people needed to vote when they had the chance, saying, ‘there are people banking on us staying home during local elections and primaries happening across the country. We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does.’
The Lemonade artist was introduced by former first lady Michelle Obama, 56, who called her ‘the queen’ and praised her for her work in ‘calling out racism and sexism,’ laying the foundation for emerging female artists and producing music ‘that gives voice to black joy and black pain.’
‘She’s always turning up, looking out, and making us all look a little bit better, a little more fierce,’ Michelle said. ‘And she’s doing it all while staying devoted to her children and the loved ones she holds dear. So to my girl, I just want to say, ”You inspire me. You inspire all of us”.’
First lady: The Lemonade artist was introduced by former first lady Michelle Obama, 56, who called her ‘the queen’ and praised her for her work in ‘calling out racism and sexism’
Voting message: In her speech, Beyoncé acknowledged that people needed to vote when they had the chance, saying, ‘there are people banking on us staying home during local elections and primaries happening across the country. We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does’
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Actor and musician Wayne Brady, 48, sang a spirited tribute to the late Little Richard, who died at age 87 in May, covering hits like Tutti Frutti and Good Golly Miss Molly.
After a segment featuring Black cultural figures who died over the last year, rapper Lil Wayne, 37, updated his 2009 hit Kobe Bryant in a heartbreaking tribute to the basketball player, a longtime friend and inspiration. As video of Kobe playing with the Los Angeles Lakers was shown, the rapper referenced COVID-19, Kobe’s family, BET, Black Lives Matter, and Kobe’s last game.
Shine A Light Awards went to DJ D-Nice, 50, who’d been hosting his celeb-friendly virtual party, Club Quarantine, throughout the epidemic, and producers Swiss Beatz, 41, and Timbaland, 48, whose hit Instagram show Verzuz TV found musicians delving into their back catalogs.
Spirited tribute: Actor and musician Wayne Brady, 48, sang a spirited tribute to the late Little Richard, who died at age 87 in May, covering hits like Tutti Frutti and Good Golly Miss Molly.
Fun performance: The entertainer gave it his all during the tribute to Little Richard
Anderson .Paak, 34, performed his new single, Lockdown, featuring Jay Rock, 35, as a Molotov cocktail was shown being thrown at a burning globe.
To lighten the mood during the show, host Amanda did stand-up about dating in the middle of a revolution.
In another segment, she disguised herself to join three white women in an online meeting of the Karen Support Group, keeping quiet as they said things like ‘I don’t even see color!’ and claimed activist Van Jones, 51, as their ‘hall pass’ before whipping off her wig to their shock.
‘You’re all Karens!’ she cried. ‘And you need to stop torturing black folks with your fragility!’
Funny lady: To lighten the mood during the show, host Amanda did stand-up about dating in the middle of a revolution
Black-ish actor and comedian Deon Cole, 48, jokingly implored viewers to go with the flow of change and ‘stop talkin’ white at work,’ urging them to avoid saying things like, ”Hey Kathy, anymore hummus?’ or ‘Hey Chad, did you see Ozark last night?”
Other artists involved in the show included All Of Me singer John, 41, who performed Never Break with a socially distanced choir; Masego, 27, who crooned Queen Tings in a plant-filled studio, and sisters Chloe and Halley Bailey, 21 and 20, of Chloe x Halle, who did Forgive Me and Do It.
Jennifer Hudson, 38, sat at the piano in a long green Reem Acra gown for her lovely version of Young, Gifted And Black, the 1958 song made famous by Nina Simone, its co-writer.
Special rendition: Other artists involved in the show included All Of Me singer John, 41, who performed Never Break with a socially distanced choir
On a church set, gospel artist Jonathan McReynolds, 30, sang Make Room, while country artist Kane Brown, 26 played his tune Worldwide Beautiful.
NBA superstar and sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal, 48, also showed up in the guise of ‘DJ Diesel,’ his real-life DJ alter ego, mixing songs by Huey, Nelly, Jack Harlow and others.
Summer Walker, 24, created a steamy mood with her hits Session 32, and Come Thru, on which she was joined by Usher, 41, and threw in lines from his 2013 song You Make Me Wanna.
On piano: Jennifer wore a lovely green dress while playing on a white piano
Sweet performance: Summer Walker, left, and Usher performed together as the awards show celebrated its 20th anniversary
BET founder Robert Johnson, 74, was also celebrated by artists who spoke of his legacy.
‘BET is a voice, and culture needs a voice to speak for the diversity of a country,’ he said.
In between the awards, Procter & Gamble aired moving commercials about what it’s like to deal with racial bias, featuring ‘the talk’ that black parents have with their children about police, and ‘the look’ that black citizens have to deal with from people they encounter. It also spotlighted the need for white allies to take action and be actively anti-racist.
On the show itself, the company highlighted Nicholas Johnson, the first black valedictorian in Princeton University’s 274-year history, who noted his own school’s racist history.
Queen Latifah, 50, showed viewers a sneak peek of two films from female filmmakers of color that were supported by the Queen Collective program, her partnership with P&G.
Kobe tribute: Lil Wayne performed a heartfelt tribute to his friend and inspiration Kobe Bryant
Singing duo: Chloe Bailey, left, and Halle Bailey, of Chloe x Halle, also performed during the show
Country singer: Award-winning multi-platinum country artist Kane Brown performed from the Ryman Auditorium on June 22 in his pre-recorded segment
BET AWARDS 2020: Winner’s List
Album of the Year
‘Cuz I Love You,’ Lizzo
‘Fever,’ Megan Thee Stallion
‘Homecoming: The Live Album,’ Beyoncé
‘I Used to Know Her,’ H.E.R.
‘Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial,’ Roddy Ricch – WINNER
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Lizzo – WINNER
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Chris Brown – WINNER
Chloe x Halle
Migos – WINNER
Chris Brown Ft. Drake, ‘No Guidance’ – WINNER
DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, ‘Higher’
Future ft. Drake, ‘Life Is Good’
H.E.R. ft. YG, ‘Slide’
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign, ‘Hot Girl Summer’
Wale ft. Jeremih, ‘On Chill’
Best Male Hip Hop Artist
DaBaby – WINNER
Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Megan Thee Stallion – WINNER
Video of the Year
Chris Brown Ft. Drake, ‘No Guidance’
DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, ‘Higher’ - WINNER
Doja Cat, ‘Say So’
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign, ‘Hot Girl Summer’
Roddy Ricch, ‘The Box’
Video Director of the Year
Teyana ‘Spike Tee’ Taylor – WINNER
Best New Artist
Lil Nas X
Roddy Ricch - WINNER
Dr. Bobby Jones
Fred Hammond, ‘Alright’
John P. Kee ft. Zacardi Cortez, ‘I Made It Out’
Kanye West, ‘Follow God’
Kirk Franklin, ‘Just for Me’ - WINNER
PJ Morton ft. Le’Andria Johnson & Mary Mary, ‘All In His Pain’
The Clark Sisters, ‘Victory’
‘Bad Boys for Life’
‘Dolemite Is My Name’
‘Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé’
‘Queen & Slim’ - WINNER
Issa Rae - WINNER
Tracee Ellis Ross
Michael B. Jordan - WINNER
Young Stars Award
Jahi Di’Allo Winston
Marsai Martin - WINNER
Sportswoman of the Year
Simone Biles - WINNER
Sportsman of the Year
LeBron James - WINNER
Odell Beckham Jr.
Patrick Mahomes II
BET HER Award
Alicia Keys, ‘Underdog’
Beyoncé ft. Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn, ‘Brown Skin Girl’ - WINNER
Ciara ft. Lupita Nyong’o, Ester Dean, City Girls & La La, ‘Melanin’
Layton Greene, ‘I Choose’
Lizzo ft. Missy Elliott, ‘Tempo’
Rapsody ft. PJ Morgan, ‘Afeni’
Viewer’s Choice Award
Chris Brown Ft. Drake, ‘No Guidance’
Future ft. Drake, ‘Life Is Good’
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj, ‘Hot Girl Summer’ - WINNER
Roddy Ricch, ‘The Box’
The Weeknd, ‘Heartless’
Best International Act
Burna Boy (Nigeria) - WINNER
Sho Madjozi (South Africa)
S.Pri Noir (France)
Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act
SHA SHA (Zimbabwe) - WINNER
Young T & Bugsey (U.K.)
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