The 20th annual BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards saw a number of artists honoring the Black Lives Matter movement in their performances as well as acceptance speeches.
Held on Sunday (June 28), the 2020 BET Awards saw celebrities attending the event virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The show was hosted by “Insecure” star Amanda Seales. Many used the platform to call for an end to racial discrimination and injustice.
Alicia Keys used her performance of “Perfect Way to Die,” her new single written in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, to honor the victims of police brutality.
Her performance took place in the middle of an empty city street. During her act, a portrait of Sandra Bland, a victim of alleged police brutality, was displayed in a billboard behind her. The Grammy winner concluded her number by kneeling in the middle of the street to show her solidarity with the movement.
Shortly after her performance, Keys took to social media to share how the song has affected her.
“There’s so much on our minds and in our hearts!” she tweeted. “My favorite thing about music is how it reminds us that we’re not alone. This performance for the #BETAwards touched me deeply. What did u feel?”
Beyoncé, who was presented with the Humanitarian Award, dedicated it to the Black Lives Matter protesters.
“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” she said in her acceptance speech.
Others who addressed racial injustice include DaBaby and Roddy Ricch. Their performance of “Rockstar” opened with DaBaby with his face against the pavement and a police officer’s knee on his neck. This was in reference to the killing of George Floyd in May.
The night also saw Lil Wayne paying tribute to Kobe Bryant and Wayne Brady honoring Little Richard. Both the NBA player and the singer died this year.
This year, there were a number of first-time winners in several key categories. Lizzo beat Beyoncé to be named the best female R&B/pop artist, while Megan Thee Stallion won best female hip-hop artist, beating Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.
Blue Ivy Carter, the 8-year-old daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, became the youngest winner in BET history, sharing the BET HER award for “Brown Skin Girl” with her mother, Wizkid and Saint Jhn.
The final act of the night was by gospel star Kierra Sheard, who took the stage with her mother Karen Clark-Sheard. The duo performed “Something Has to Break,” the lyrics of which urge God for relief during troubled times.
See the list of winners of this year’s BET Awards below:
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Lizzo
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: Chris Brown
Best Group: Migos
Best Collaboration: Chris Brown Ft. Drake, “No Guidance”
Best Male Hip Hop Artist: DaBaby
Best Female Hip Hop Artist: Megan Thee Stallion
Video of the Year: DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher”
Video Director of the Year: Teyana “Spike Tee” Taylor
Best New Artist: Roddy Ricch
Album of the Year: Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, Roddy Ricch
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational: Kirk Franklin, “Just for Me”
Best Actress: Issa Rae
Best Actor: Michael B. Jordan
Young Stars Award: Marsai Martin
Best Movie: Queen & Slim
Sportswoman of the Year: Simone Biles
Sportsman of the Year: LeBron James
BET HER Award: Beyoncé ft. Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn, “Brown Skin Girl”
Viewers Choice Award: Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj, “Hot Girl Summer”
Best International Act: Burna Boy (Nigeria)
Viewers Choice: Best New International Act: SHA SHA