On 29th June 2020 the BET Awards became the voice of the black people protesting in the streets about the police brutality and the racial profiling of the black people in America. The entire movement triggered after the murder of George Floyd by the police forces was brought to the massive stage by artists using their platform to become the voice of the public.
WHAT IS BET
The BET Awards is an American Award show which is meant to celebrate the African Americans and other American minorities in the every field like music, sports, films and other branches of entertainment. Established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network, the awards are presented annually including performance by artists and awards in the popular entertainment world broadcasted on live TV.
For the first time ever the ceremony was held as a virtual event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The show hosted by actor Amanda Seales was filled with powerful performances, important moments, touching tributes and had the overall focus on topics like systematic racism and equal rights voiced by the big names of the industry and using this huge platform to bring light on some subjects.
Apart from Amanda’s spectacular hosting with the “Insecure” actor taking jabs at the racism faced everyday and taking a satirical approach towards the haters, “Everyone is posting black squares. Y’all’s feeds went from OnlyFans to only fists in like 24 hours. Now folks always say: ‘All Amanda ever does is talk about race.’ Well listen, I would love to talk about regular, everyday things, but racism always beats me to it.”
Personally, I loved her section to bits, you go queen. The ceremony also had powerful moments:
A ROCKSTAR PERFORMANCE
Prior to the awards, rapper DaBaby released his song Rockstar in collaboration with fellow rapper Roddy Ricch. On the day of the ceremony Baby released a remix to his song paying tribute to George Floyd and protests against the police system.
They pushin’ negative narratives, I’m ready though
Cops wanna pull me over, embarrass me
Abusin’ power, you never knew me, thought I was arrogant
As a juvenile, police pulled their guns like they scared of me
And we’re used to how crackers treat us, now that’s the scary thing
Want anything we good at and we cherish it
Now we all fed up and niggas comin’ back for everything
Rockstars, nigga, just watch the news, they burnin’ cop cars, nigga
Kill another nigga, break the law, then call us outlaws, niggaDaBaby
The video began with DaBaby on the ground with the knee of a white police officer sitting on his neck. Pictures of Black Lives Matter protests were featured throughout the video. DaBaby is later surrounded by protesters and rapping in front of a burning police car. Roddy Ricch is also joined by protesters when he joins the song and is performing from the top of a police car.
WEEZY’S TRIBUTE TO THE BLACK MAMBA
Being a mamba forever, this performance hit me straight in the heart. Rapper Lil Wayne gave a touching tribute to the basketball legend Kobe Bryant who accidentally passed away in a helicopter crash in January along with his 13 year old daughter Gianna Bryant and 8 others.
Wayne had already released a song back in 2009 on the Lakers legend inspired by Kobe’s 2009 conference finals performance against Denver. Wayne performed the song in BET but with a new verse dedicated to Kobe’s daughter Gianna. Kobe’s no.8 and no.24 flashed behind Wayne, the video also showing some of Kobe’s greatest moments out of the millions. I was a bundle of tears and goose bumps by the end of this, trust me.
Black Mamba, attack, conquer
The basketball beast, the rap monster
The crossover good, the turnaround jumper
Or just drive the lane and dunk on dunkers
You know where it’s goin’, it’s goin’ down, yo
This is the Lakeshow, but don’t drown, though
I call him King Bryant, now let the crown show
Two fingers for the Mambacita, I’m screamin’ Black Mamba matters, uh
Heart goes out to Vanessa and the whole Black Mamba family, BMFLil Wayne
Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant also shared the video on her Instagram page
BEYONCE HUMANITARIAN AWARD
To condense this moment in a few words will be an epic challenge considering the magnitude of the female power involved in this. Beyonce was honoured by the 2020 Humanitarian Award for her philanthropy and passion for social justice, which the singer has openly spoken about throughout her career by none another than Michelle Obama, yeah that’s right, you see what I’m talking about?
Obama heavily acknowledged and appreciated Beyonce’s efforts and in playing a pivotal role in the fight against racism. While giving her acceptance speech the 24 time Grammy award winner urged her listeners to speak out against the injustice happening all around us and dedicated her win to “the brothers and sisters” marching on with the Black Lives Matter movement and asked everyone to vote as if their lives depended on it.
MEGAN THEE STALLION GOES MAD MAX
Megan Thee Stallion went to the desert, yes you read it right, to the desert for her BET performance. The artist performed her hit Savage Remix and her own version of the Easy E song Boys in the hood called Girls in the hood.
Two watches, yeah, call me two-timin’ (Two-timin’)
Skin like gold and my teeth like diamonds (Yeah, yeah, like diamonds)
Hot Girl chain, Elliot got me shinin’ (Yeah)
They tried to knock me off, but a bitch still grindin
Cause the girls in the hood are always hard
Ever since sixteen, I been havin’ a job
Knowin’ nothin’ in life, but I gotta get rich
You could check the throwback pics, I been that bitch (Uh)Megan Thee Stallion
The artist twerked and danced in the desert along with her dancers donning masks in a post apocalyptic, Mad Max-ish world, riding ATVs throughout the sandy landscape, geez talk about going all out.
The BET Awards was opened by hip hop music and by the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy by bringing out their 1989 classic Fight the Power. But that’s not it, the song got a fresh look to it, let me correct myself, the song got an EPIC look to it with bars from hip-hop legends Nas and Black Thought in honour of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
They say, “Suicide,” when dead bodies are swingin’
Cowards are huntin’ black men, that’s what I’m seein’
How many toasters have been burnt down?
And once Central Park was a thrivin’ black town
Yo, Chuck, I’m fightin’ the power right now
Thank you, Flav and P-E, puttin’ it down
Puttin’ your life on the line so I could rap now
The next generation still singin’, “Fight the Power”Nas
The song was opened by the legend, Chuck D and then moved to Nas rapping while sitting in a wicked chair. We also saw Flavor Flav joining the performance and Black Thought blessing the mic with image of protests in the backdrop.
This year’s BET had a very deep and profound meaning behind it. With the award ceremony meant to celebrate the achievements of African Americans, all the artists featured took this opportunity to raise their voices and taking a stand against the widely seen racism faced by their brothers and sisters in their daily lives. As a very big hip-hop head this year’s ceremony hit me just a little bit more, seeing the modern crop like Baby, Roddy, Megan and the GOATs like Nas and Public Enemy giving thrilling performances and using their skills and talent to convey the deep messages just gave me shivers.
Now I know there were a lot many epic performances by the likes of Alicia Keys, Usher, John Legend, Wayne Brady and others with Lebron James also winning the award for sportsman of the year. I am not discrediting any single artist’s efforts, they also used their opportunity to pay tributes and raise their voices but these were the ones which were stuck with me. It’s safe to say despite not having a venue with a large crowd, BET successfully delivered a grand ceremony which will be fondly remembered in the future.