Political performances by Public Enemy, DaBaby, Alicia Keys and John Legend, civic speeches by Michelle Obama and Beyoncé, and persistent tributes to George Floyd and Breonna taylor Sunday directed a virtual version, mainly socially distanced and on the theme of social justice, of the BET Awards, the first major awards ceremony of the pandemic era.
The host, Amanda Seales, actress, actress and activist, cited “Covid and the cops and Karens in delirium” as the reason for an atypical event, but insisted in her opening monologue: “We had to make the awards . We deserve a break. And when I say we, I mean all black people. “
Almost all acts, apparitions, acceptance speeches and even advertisements that followed have referred to the wave of protests against police brutality that spread worldwide after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Remembrance Day , again drawing attention to many other cases of black people who have suffered at the hands of law enforcement or racist violence.
The awards show, which consisted of recorded performances and speeches caused by the virus, was broadcast for the first time on CBS, in addition to BET, after the merger of broadcast giant and Viacom last year, BET’s parent company. And rather than lo-fi performance at home of sofas and kitchens which became standard TV shows during the Covid-19 crisis, BET provided budgets for his distant talents to produce distant segments that often sounded more like mini music videos than generally live rewards raw and sometimes glitchy.
Megan Thee Stallion, who won the prize for the best female hip-hop artist, interpreted her hit tube “Savage” – without Beyoncé, who appears on the remix – in a desert landscape of “Mad Max” style, with a background of black fist. , while Legend was joined by a choir in an abandoned warehouse for an interpretation of his last jerky, “We Will Never Break”.
The show – celebrating its 20th year, as well as 40 years of BET as a network – started and ended with gospel music, starring Keedron Bryant, a 12 year old internet sensation whose song “I Just Wanna Live” begins, “I am a young black man / I do everything I can.” In a final issue, the mother-daughter combination of Kierra Sheard and Karen Clark Sheard (originally from the Clark Sisters) sang “Something Has to Break”.
Earlier, in fiery segments, Public Enemy was joined by Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Questlove, YG and others for an updated version of the classic hip-hop “Fight the Power”; Lil Wayne directed a rapped tribute to Kobe Bryant; and North Carolina rapper DaBaby opened his remix of Billboard No. 1 single “Rockstar” pressed against the asphalt, a policeman’s knee buried in his neck in an unmistakable reference to the video of Floyd’s death . Later in the song, DaBaby appeared on top of a police car, smashing the windshield while surrounded by T-shirt protesters reading “I Am George Floyd” and “I Am Breonna Taylor”.
Next epilogue His performance read: “In memory of all the lives lost due to racism and police violence.”
Anderson .Paak and Keys also centered their segments around the lost black lives, with Keys singing “Perfect Way to Die” on an empty street corner surrounded by the names of the victims written in chalk. Roddy Ricch performed “High Fashion” and “The Box” in a Black Lives Matter shirt.
Other tributes include Wayne Brady performing in honor of Little Richard, died in Mayand Jennifer Hudson commenting on Aretha Franklin’s gospel version of “Young, Gifted and Black”, originally by Nina Simone.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama presented the BET Humanitarian Award to Beyoncé (“To my daughter, I just want to say: you inspire me, you inspire us all,” she said), while the singer – including the new “Lion King” – inspired musical film, “Black Is King”, will be premiere at Disney Plus on July 31 – used his acceptance speech to thank the demonstrators and encourage them to vote.
“We have to vote as if our lives depend on it,” said Beyoncé, “because it is.”