Beyoncé, who received an honorary award from (albeit virtually) Michelle Obama, was today the main protagonist of the 20th edition of the BET Awards, which this year were marked from start to finish by the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The BET Awards are the most important African American entertainment gala, so it was clear that this time they were going to echo the numerous and powerful anti-racist protests that in recent weeks have traveled the United States after the death at the hands of the Police of George Floyd.
The ceremony also served as a test for the entertainment industry in its search for alternatives for the coronavirus crisis: it was a virtual gala presented by Amanda Seales, without an audience and with prerecorded performances.
Beyoncé applauds the protests
Although his award was already known before the gala, the BET Awards reserved his place of honor for Beyoncé with the last recognition of the night by handing the distinction to the philanthropist of the year. “I want to dedicate this award to all my brothers and sisters out there who have inspired me by protesting and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard. And you are showing our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain, “said Beyoncé.
“We have one more thing we need to do to break through with our true power: voting. I encourage you to continue taking action, to continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system.. (…) There are people who expect us to stay home during local elections and primaries (…). We have to vote as if our life depended on it because it depends on it, “he added.
Beyoncé, that Saturday announced the July 31 release of the ‘visual album’ with Disney ‘Black is King’, today had a luxury presenter: the former first lady of the USA Michelle Obama. “I’m here to talk about ‘The Queen’, you know who,” he said.
“Ever since she was a little girl in Houston (USA), Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has been lighting the stage and honoring the world with her talent, her generosity of spirit and her love for the community,” she added.
«You can see it in everything he does, from his music that gives voice to the joy and pain of blacks to his activism that demands justice for black lives (…). I just want to tell you that you inspire me, that you inspire us all », he closed.
Anti-racism and tributes
The BET Awards usually have a very eloquent anti-racist and protest component, but this year the demands of Black Lives Matter permeated practically every second of the gala.
The first performance was quite a declaration of intent: Public Enemy furiously tackled an updated version of the hymn ‘Fight the Power’ to the new times from the hand of guests such as YG, Nas or Questlove.
And also Alicia Keys recalled in her emotional performance the deaths by police brutality of African Americans such as George Floyd or Breonna Taylor.
Usher, Jennifer Hudson and John Legend were other featured artists who participated in an event who also paid a very special tribute to two African-American legends who died this year: rock and roll hero Little Richard, with a tribute by Wayne Brady; and NBA myth Kobe Bryant, with a segment signed by Lil Wayne.
Roddy Ricchi triumphs in the honors
Rapper Roddy Ricch was the winner of the night by taking two of the main awards: album of the year (‘Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial’) and best new artist.
Lizzo was chosen as the best female R&B and pop artist while Chris Brown prevailed in the male section of that category.
Additionally, Megan Thee Stallion was named best rapper and DaBaby was chosen as best rapper. Migos won the distinction for the best group. The BET Awards also recognize other fields such as acting: Issa Rae won the best actress award and Michael B. Jordan achieved the best actor distinction.
And Simone Biles and LeBron James took the distinctions for best male and female athlete, respectively.