BET AWARDS: Show Makes a Statement

Written by on June 29, 2020

Sunday night’s 2020 BET Awards kicked off with a new remix of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” featuring NasRapsody, and Black Thought that incorporated footage of protests around the country 

The show went out to a wider audience than ever, airing on BET, BET HER and CBS. While a lot of the comedy, including host Amanda Seales’ opening monologue and the skits throughout, fell a little flat without an audience, the performances were a definite highlight. 

Artists got extra creative in their presentation, with green screens, socially distanced renditions and unique environments. Megan Thee Stallion stole the show with a Mad Max inspired performance of her new single, “Girls in the Hood.” John Legend played piano and sang in the middle of a dingy warehouse, with a socially distanced chorus surrounding him. 

This year’s show marked the 20th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the network. Throughout the night, host Amanda Seales paid tribute to shows such as 106 & Park, Comicview, Teen Summit and Rap City. Even the ads were unique this year, with many brands making spots designed to speak directly to Black audiences. 

Highlights included: 

  • Masego performed “Queen Tings” in a living room filled with floral arrangements. 
  • Roddy Ricch performed “The Box.”
  • DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch  doing “Rockstar” 
  • Jennifer Hudson performed a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “(To Be) Young, Gifted & Black” leading into a preview of the upcoming Aretha Franklin bio-pic, Respect.
  • Anderson Paak and Jay Rock played a new track called “Lockdown” for the first time.
  • Wayne Brady paid tribute to Little Richard with a medley of the late legend’s hits. 
  • Lil Wayne honored Kobe Bryant with a performance, featuring a new song intercut with highlights from Black Mamba’s career. 
  • Alicia Keys performed outdoors under the night sky, surrounded by a number of empty black pianos, and the names of Black men and women killed by police written on the ground in chalk. 
  • Summer Walker and Usher performed “Come Thru.”
  • Chloe and Halle performed “Forgive Me” and “Do It.”
  • The “Forever First Lady” Michelle Obama showed love to Beyonce whospoke directly to the people in her acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award, encouraging viewers to vote before showing the world a preview of her next “visual album,” Black Is King.

Winners on telecast:

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist: Megan Thee Stallion
Sportswoman of the Year: Simone Biles
Sportsman of the Year: LeBron James 
Video of the Year: DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend “Higher”
Best International Artist: Burna Boy (Nigeria) 
Best Female R&B Pop Vocalist: Lizzo 
Album of the Year: Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial by Roddy Ricch
BET Her Award: Beyoncé ft. Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn, “Brown Skin Girl” 
Humanitarian Award: Beyonce

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