This year, the BET Awards will be changing their format due to the still-ongoing Coronavirus pandemic — viewers will be seeing a virtual show instead of its usual audience-heavy format. With that said, BET will still deliver a show just as action packed and full of talent as their previous efforts, even sans audience. BET president Scott Mills made this much crystal clear to Billboard:
“[Calling this show simply virtual is a] complete mischaracterization of what the show is… We actually never have described it as virtual. We said that we’re proceeding with the awards show and not doing it in front of a live audience. We were absolutely committed to not doing a couch performance show.”
The 2020 BET Awards will see actress/emcee/overall entertainer Amanda Seales as the designated host with appearances from a slew of performers, including Alicia Keys, “Rhythm & Flow” winner D Smoke, Megan Thee Stallion, Nas, Roddy Ricch, Summer Walker, Usher, YG, and loads more. Beyoncé and the late Kobe Bryant have been confirmed as honorees for their contributions to the culture. It should also be noted that this awards show would be BET’s 20th thus far, as the network is celebrating its 40th anniversary on air.
Currently, the country (and much of the world) is still at war against their respective governments fighting oppression, police brutality, and racism as a whole following the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black men and women. Mills also spoke to Billboard on the event’s very critical role in continuing to push the message that change is required for the Black community. He even hinted at a powerful opening that should set the tone for what is to come during the entire broadcast:
“With what’s happening in this country — particularly what’s happening in the context of African Americans and the wrenching focus on racial inequities — artists are really [being] moved to use their voices to bring further focus and attention to these issues. We also know that artists at their core are all creative human beings. … The opening of the show is going to be so powerful, speaking to the moment that we find ourselves in as the African-American community. It’s going to be absolutely and profoundly current and moving. It’s also going to be evidence of how the issues that we’re fighting against today are what we’ve been fighting against for so long. It’s a really powerful opening that I think is going to set the tone.”
Make sure to tune in to the 2020 BET Awards tonight at 5pm PT/7pm CT/8pm ET. Viewers that don’t have BET or its subsidiaries via cable can stream via the service Philo, as will as CBS, who will be broadcasting the BET Awards for the first time. For those not in the know, you can check out important past moments below.