On Sunday night (June 28), the 2020 BET Awards didn’t skip a beat, even after being forced to go the virtual route due to the global pandemic. With host Amanda Seales quarterbacking the three-hour festivities, a slew of Black celebrities punched in splashy performances and stirring speeches as if they were center stage at the Staples Center.
In case you weren’t able to tune in, see some of the moments you missed during Sunday’s star-studded event.
From Only Fans to Only Fists
Host Amanda Seales didn’t hold back, scolding America for their lack of action regarding the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and more. Her monologue also spoke to her fears of Americans whitewashing Juneteenth and transforming the Black holiday into a diminished day for wearing Frederick Douglass shirts while drinking at bars. In addition, she quipped about people quickly going from Only Fans enthusiasts to Civil Rights activists in seconds and hoping that their switch-up isn’t temporary and for everyone to keep that same energy throughout the fight for change.
“Now they talking about Juneteenth. That’s dope! But y’all don’t let them Cinco de Mayo our day,” she said. “If we ain’t watchful, every June 19th, folks going to be at the bar wearing Frederick Douglass wig hats, ordering ‘Harriettinis’ off the drink special.”
Rap Heroes Aim to Fight the Power
Following the death of George Floyd, Warner Records newly-signed hyphenate Keedron Bryant gained national acclaim after his chilling Instagram performance of his song “I Just Wanna Live.” To kick-off the 2020 BET Awards, Bryant provided a captivating rendition of his spirited anthem. Subsequently, lyrical heavyweights Nas, Black Thought, YG, Rapsody, and more joined Public Enemy for a modern flip on the group’s 1989 classic “Fight the Power” in light of the elevated racial injustice plaguing African Americans over the last few months.
Roddy Ricch Pulls a Double Shift
2020’s Rap MVP candidate Roddy Ricch was active Sunday night. Not only did he flex his piano skills while rapping “High Fashion,” but he also gave fans a nice serving of his Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping single “The Box,” while sporting a Black Lives Matter button-down shirt. Later, Roddy partnered up with DaBaby for his second performance when they dished out “Rockstar (Black Lives Matter Remix).”
D Smoke Keeps It All in the Family
Netflix’s Rhythm & Flow season one winner D Smoke and his brother, TDE crooner SiR rallied together to perform “Let Go,” a song recorded the same day cops mercilessly killed George Floyd in Minnesota. With police officers patrolling the Inglewood street-designed set, the musical tandem dazzled when delivering the empowering track. They even received a helping hand from their mother, singer Jackie Gouche, when transitioning into “Black Habits.”
Megan Thee Stallion Rides Dirty in the Desert
Two days after releasing her Eazy E-inspired record “Girls in the Hood,” Megan Thee Stallion ventured to the desert to perform her scorching new track. After riding dirty with her crew on ATVs, Meg went on a twerking binge when her “Savage (Remix)” commenced. Sans Beyonce, Megan did a masterful job, courtesy her army of dancers and high-octane energy.
DaBaby Takes a Stand Against Police Brutality
Always fearless in his approach, DaBaby kept his audacious streak for doing the unthinkable intact with his “Rockstar “(Black Lives Matter)” performance. Reenacting the gruesome death of George Floyd, Baby is found with a cop’s leg on his neck at the start of the clip. After his remix verse, Baby and Roddy jumped into protest-mode. Donning all-black attire with a group of Black protesters holding signs such as “Defund the police,” rap’s newly beloved duo went on a crushing run, rapping on top of cop cars.
Little Richard and Kobe Bryant Receive Special Tributes
Wayne Brady knitted together a rousing medley in honor of one of rock’s founding fathers, Little Richard. Brady captured the aura of Richard with his flamboyant garb and contagious energy, dancing through “Lucille,” “Good Golly Ms. Molly,” and “Tutti Frutti.” Afterward, Lil Wayne paid tribute to his fallen friend Kobe Bryant with his 2009 tribute song. Named after Bryant, Wayne added a new verse, where he offered his condolences to his family and spoke on the Lakers’ legend’s lefty accomplishments.
Two Queens, One Humanitarian Award
Former First Lady Michelle Obama effusively praised Beyonce when presenting her with the BET Humanitarian of the Year Award, citing her as an inspiration for calling out sexism and racism. Queen Bey’s past efforts date back to her contributions to Houston during Hurricane Harvey to providing free COVID-19 testing in her hometown.
“I wanna dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there and all of my sisters out there, inspiring me, marching, and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard,” said Beyonce during her acceptance speech. She also encouraged viewers to vote in this year’s upcoming election in hopes of dismantling “a racist and unequal system” in America.
“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” she opined.