Last night, The BET Awards reminded everyone that most mainstream entertainment award shows don't adequately feature the energy, talent, and perseverance of inspiring black artists.
The show was personal, political, entertaining, fun, inspiring, and moving. The abundant talent on display reminded audiences how overlooked these incredible artists have been (and continue to be) by mainstream culture
Regina Hall's Opening Number
Host Regina Hall & Sugar Bear Perform "Do You Know What Time It Is?," "Da Butt" & “Run Joe"! www.youtube.com
Regina Hall got to live out her Homecoming fantasy by recreating Beyonce's epic performance as a DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) Go-Go routine. The Washington, DC native used her host position to shed light on the #DontMuteDC movement. Ronald Moten, a D.C. native and Go-Go promoter, sparked the #DontMuteDC movement when a record store that played the DMV's music was pressured by new residents in a nearby condo to stop. The #DontMuteDC movement demonstrates one of the many effects of gentrification across the country.
Sugar Bear, a member of the DMV-based Go-Go band E.U., performed his 80s' go-go hits, "Do You Know What Time It Is," "Da Butt," and "Run Joe," while Hall and Taraji P. Henson shook their booties to the bops.
Marsai Martin Created A Meme
The youngest producer in Hollywood won the Young Stars Award (to no one's surprise but her own). Her reaction was hysterical and memed by many. .
Doja Cat's Red Carpet Look
Doja Cat brought camp to the BET Awards. The 23-year-old wore an outfit worthy of her name, rocking an all-pink dress made of yarn, a cat feather headpiece, and futuristic shades that said, "Meow meow."
The Icon, The Legend: Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige Performs “My Life," Real Love," & More In ICONIC Performance! | BET Awards 2019 www.youtube.com
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul brought the house down. After being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, Blige took the stage herself to honor her own work. The audience jammed out to the singer's iconic discography. Even Lil' Kim popped in to remind everyone she's still got it, rapping her verse on "I Can Love You." The smooth Method Man also made an appearance to rap the intro of "You're All I Need."
Lizzo Performs "Truth Hurts"
Lizzo Proves She's 100% That B***h In “Truth Hurts" Performance! | BET Awards 2019 www.youtube.com
The breakout performance of the evening had to be Lizzo's rendition of "Truth Hurts." The 31-year-old singer owned the stage, even whipping out a flute for a head-bopping solo.
Mama Burna's Speech
Burna Boy's mother accepted the Best International Act award on behalf of her son. She took a moment in her speech to spread the message, "Every black person, please remember that you were Africans before you became anything else."
Exonerated 5 Receive a Standing Ovation
The Exonerated Five Are Honored For Their Truth & Resilience | BET Awards 2019 www.youtube.com
Last night, the BET Awards took a moment to highlight the injustices black people still face in our country.
Regina King renamed the Central Park Five—Raymond Santana Jr., Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Korey Wise, and Kevin Richardson—the Exonerated Five. The men are finally receiving proper recognition after they were wrongly accused of raping a jogger in NYC when they were teenagers. The men received a standing ovation.
Tyler Perry's Powerful Speech
Tyler Perry Gives Powerful Speech Of Motivation As He Accepts Ultimate Icon Award | BET Awards 2019 www.youtube.com
Tyler Perry accepted the Ultimate Icon Award with grace, recounting his upbringing and how that informed his desire to be an inspiration rather than an icon. Perry reminded his peers that instead of trying to get a seat at the table, he built his own table in Atlanta.
He candidly expressed that every successful black American should try to bring other black people into their success, like he did, explaining, "When I started hiring Taraji, Viola Davis, and Idris Elba, they couldn't get jobs in this town, but God blessed me to be in a position to be able to hire them."
He concluded by noting that the land he owns in Atlanta (for his studio) is in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. He then proudly proclaimed, "There were Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million negroes enslaved. Now, that land is owned by one negro."
Nipsey Hussle is Honored
YG, DJ Khaled & Marsha Ambrosius & John Legend Perform Tribute to Nipsey Hussle | BET Awards 2019 www.youtube.com
Nipsey Hussle, who posthumously received the Humanitarian Award, was honored with a tribute performance by Marsha Ambrosious, Y.G., DJ Khaled, and John Legend.
Marsha Ambrosious began by singing a heartfelt rendition of "The Marathon Continues." Hussle's close friend, Y.G., performed "Last Time I Checc'd" shouting out, "Nip Hussle I love you, bro." Finally, DJ Khaled and John Legend closed out the evening on a high-note with their choir rendition of Hussle's "Higher."
The performance concluded with the audience raising a finger to the sky to remind everyone, again, "The Marathon Continues."