On Sunday (June 28), BET presented their 20th annual awards show in a virtual format, eschewing an audience in place of remote celebrity appearances and creative, outsourced artist performances. In addition to the regular winners, Beyoncé was also presented with BET’s Humanitarian Award in recognition of her BeyGOOD Foundation.
Most recently, the organization announced a new initiative to combat the Coronavirus pandemic, including a partnership with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s Start Small fund to provide 6 million to local community-based entities and larger outlets like UCLA in various cities around the country.
The award was presented to Beyoncé by Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, who herself continues to push for change within the Black community. Having been active in the media, she was also a guest during the Roots Picnic that took place over the weekend, which also happened virtually. During her appearance, Obama made sure to stress the need for voting in this year’s election:
“These past few months have been pretty heavy for just about everyone, and the truth is we still have our work cut out for us in the weeks and months ahead… So before we dive into the Picnic, I want to remind everybody that we’ve got an election coming up, and it couldn’t be more important that everyone makes their voice heard this time around. We may not all sound like SZA or Kirk Franklin, but we all deserve to have our voices heard at the ballot box come November.”
During Beyoncé’s acceptance speech, she also added to Obama’s aforementioned statement in regards to getting to the polls:
“I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard, and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain. Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote. I’m encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system. We have to continue to do this together, continue to fight for each other and lift each other up.”