BET Awards celebrate, mourn Black lives
WASHINGTON (US) – At the BET awards on Sunday, Black power, suffering and the fight for justice took centre stage. It was the first Black celebrity event in the United States since nationwide mass protests broke out this month over systemic racism.
The show, which hails Black excellence in music, film, sports and philanthropy, was filled with speeches, songs, images of protests and the names of dozens of Black victims of police brutality in recent years.
Beyonce, who presented with a humanitarian award by former US first lady Michelle Obama for her charitable initiatives, exhorted the Black community to use its vote in the upcoming US elections to dismantle “racist and unequal systems.”
“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” the singer said.
The show, broadcast live for the first time in its 20-year history on America’s mainstream CBS channel, featured commercials such as Coca-Cola, Ford, Nissan, P&G, L’Oreal and Facebook that both celebrated the achievements of Black people and highlighted their challenges.
The show opened with a remixed version of veteran New York rap group Public Enemy’s 1989 anthem “Fight the Power,” featuring photos of this month’s street protests. The slogan of the show was “Our culture can’t be cancelled.”
Da Baby’s began performing “Rockstar” with the rapper singing while lying on the ground under the knee of a police officer, mimicking last month’s arrest and death of George Floyd in Minneapolis that sparked the protests.
Newcomer Roddy Ricch wore a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, John Legend played his ballad, “We Will Never Break,” and Alicia Keys sang an emotional new song, “Perfect Way to Die,” about the black lives lost over the decades.
The show was a mix of pre-recorded performances and virtual appearances because of the coronavirus pandemic that shut down production of television shows in mid-March.
Ricch’s “Please Excuse Me for Being Anti-Social” won album of the year, Megan Thee Stallion was name best female hip-hop artist and Lizzo was named best female R&B/pop artist.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field