Given the current state of affairs and the fact that many other events have been cancelled in the wake of the still very present Coronavirus pandemic, BET knew that they had to raise their level of creativity for this year’s awards, which was done virtually. Hosted by Amanda Seales, the awards show saw appearances from a slew of your favorite celebrities from BET and beyond, along with some of the dopest performances created for such an event. In addition, there were some skits and notable honorees, including BET co-founder Robert L. Johnson. All-in-all, BET Awards 2020 proved to be successful despite the current setbacks, which is most important because of the networks need to push the Black Lives Matter message that we’ve all been seeing in cities around the country and the world.
Here are the most notable moments that took place:
1. The Public Enemy-led opener
The BET Awards opened with a beautiful-yet-powerful acapella solo from a young man before launching into a supercut remix of Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power,” which saw Chuck D & Co. joined by Nas, Questlove, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG, and more. The collaborators’ in-studio performances were interspersed with footage of the many protests that have taken place throughout the country in the wake of Black deaths at the hands of law enforcement.
2. Amanda Seales handling hosting duties
“I’ve been telling y’all everybody racist.” A pointed quote from a straight-to-the-point individual, Amanda Seales made sure to keep the current controversies on front street, especially in regards to systematic racism, Breonna Taylor, Juneteenth, and pro-Blackness over all. She also sent a shot in Terry Crews direction and made a point about Summer Walker’s use of vulgar language in her music — ultimately, no one was safe if they’re adverse to the movement.
3. The high-level performances
Roddy Ricch performed “High Fashion” in front of a blue background, playing piano while delivering his melodic lyrics. He then switched to “The Box,” his biggest hit thus far, rocking a Black Lives Matter shirt with different shots of California and fans floating in the background. Megan Thee Stallion definitely took things up another notch, delivering a Mad Max-style rendition of “Savage (Remix)” and her new single “Girls In The Hood.”
DaBaby used his performance of “Rock Star” to reenact the now infamous arrest of George Floyd with a cop kneeling on his neck, all actions that eventually led to his tragic passing. Additional performances came courtesy of John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, D Smoke and his brother SiR, and more, all providing some of the most creative performances seen on any award show.
4. The skits/callbacks to classic BET shows
While arguably hit or miss, Amanda Seales definitely kept the viewers entertained with creative skits throughout the show, many of which were designed to introduce the performances. Viewers saw her doing parodies of classic BET shows like “ComicView,” “Rap City Tha Basement,” “Teen Summit,” and more. One particular standout was the skit titled “Karen Support Group,” which saw Seales “infiltrating” a group of white “Karens” complaining about Black people during a video phone call.
5. Burna Boy’s acceptance speech
“I’d like to use this opportunity to say, that sometime around 1835, there was a mission to turn Africa — the nation of Africa — into a dominated nation. Now is the time to overturn that and go back to the royalty that we were, because in order for Black lives to matter, Africa must matter.”
6. Michelle Obama’s award presentation to Beyoncé
Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama presented BET’s Humanitarian Award to Beyoncé, who has been providing assistance for the Black community through scholarships, supplies, donations, and much more as part of her BeyGOOD Foundation. She was also and continues to be active in the fight against COVID-19. Beyoncé made sure to use her acceptance speech to push the need for voting in this year’s presidential election (“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does”), followed by the trailer for her forthcoming film Black Is King.