The 2020 BET Awards just set the bar real high for all award shows to come. No but seriously, about 11 minutes into Sunday night's ceremony our mind was made up, we never want award shows to go back to their usual pre-coronavirus ways of long acceptance speeches, awkward cuts to the audience, and forced teleprompter jokes. Instead of being held back by restrictions and limitations, this year's virtual version succeeded in spite of them.
The entire evening was truly a celebration of Black excellence, Black entertainment, and Black Lives. A display of undeniable creativity packed with amazing performances and messages of joy, tragedy, resilience and pride. Highlighting not just Black entertainers but Black figures in the community that have made strides to make this world a better place, both presenters and winners took the opportunity to speak their mind about the current state of the country. A-listers including Tracee Ellis Ross, and Michael B. Jordan also joined in reading the names of Black lives taken by state-sanctioned violence.
The revamp of The BET Awards was a prime example of how change is both a good thing and also very much needed. If you haven’t caught on yet, we clearly thought the the entire show was amazing, with that said, we did our best to select the top 5 unforgettable moments.
1. The Opening
Keedron Bryant opened the show with his chillingly, moving, and powerful song "I Just Wanna Live”, followed by a recreation of the Public Enemy classic “Fight the Power.” Reuniting Chuck D and Flavor Flav, with additional and timely verses from Nas, Rapsody, YG, Questlove and Black Thought from The Roots and Jahi from Public Enemy Radio.
The song featured lyrics about and accompanied by footage of the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing nationwide protests that have been occurring for weeks in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and countless other Black victims killed by police officers.
Cementing that while we knew the show would be different due to the coronavirus pandemic, the focus of the 2020 edition of The BET Awards was going to be on the other over 400 year-long pandemic — racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.
2. The Performances
Bare with us on this one, there were like a million performances and they were all lit AF. With this year’s award ceremony being virtual, we were able to immerse ourselves in the vision of every artist with each passing performance. From Roddy Ricch and John Legend to Masego, D Smoke and SiR, and of course we can’t forget Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby and more. They all blessed us with thought-provoking and visually-stimulating performances.
Meg, performed a mash up of her newly released hit “Girls in The Hood” and banger “Savage Remix.” She showed out, giving us Mad Max vibes that would have almost been a little too real right now, if it wasn’t so dang hot.
DaBaby and Roddy Ricch performed the BLM version of Baby’s number one song “ROCKSTAR,” depicting powerful imagery about the current climate, showing the brutal reality of the moment of racism and police brutality that sparked a global wake up call and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Jennifer Hudson's performance gave us a preview of what to expect when she portrays Aretha Franklin in Respect. LONR. let his ethereal voice do the talking, backed with a not-so-subliminal visual overlay. Lil Wayne paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, Chloe x Halle showed us they grown and have something to say, well sing (those voices tho), and Summer Walker and Usher got us all in our feels.
3. The Host
Amanda Seales, is truly the hostess with the most-ess. We can’t think of anyone more perfect to host The BET Awards, virtual or not. Amanda called out the media, black tile posting posers and all the Karen’s out there. She was both inspirational and hilarious and killed it with bits referencing throwback BET shows like 106th and Park, Comic View, Rap City, and Teen Summit.
4. The 2020 BET Humanitarian Of The Year Award
Michelle Obama presented the much-deserved Beyoncé with the 2020 BET Humanitarian Of The Year Award. Shouting out her music and her activism, especially during the coronavirus pandemic with the BEYGOOD initiative, she commended her constant mission of calling out racism and sexism, bringing up young artists, all while “sharing her shine” and being a wife, mother, daughter and friend.
Bey accepted her award, dedicating it to all of the brothers and sisters “out there inspiring” her. She urged those at home listening to go out and vote and to “fight for each other and lift each other up.” But she wasn’t done there, I mean what did you think, it’s freaking Beyoncé. She hit us with a surprise preview of her upcoming film Black Is King, which will celebrate Black resilience and culture, and will be premiering globally on Disney+ July 31.
5. The Winners
While not all winners were announced during the show, just as we thought, our favorite hottie Meg and newcomer Roddy Ricch came out on top.
BEST FEMALE HIP HOP ARTIST - Megan Thee Stallion
VIDEO OF THE YEAR - DJ Khalid featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend - “Higher”
BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT - Burna Boy (Nigeria)
BEST FEMALE R&B / POP ARTIST - Lizzo
VIEWERS CHOICE AWARD - Megan Thee Stallion Ft. Nicki Minaj - "Hot Girl Summer"
ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Roddy Ricch - Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
You can find the full list of winners from the 2020 BET Awards here.