HOLLYWOOD—Oh, there were plenty of surprises this year at the 2016 BET Awards. One of the biggest had to be the opening act. Yes, usually BET gives hints as to who may or may not be opening the big show, but even I was left in the dark over the fact that Queen Bey, yes, Beyoncé was going to kick-off the show with an epic performance that will be talked about for years to come.
Beyoncé opened the ceremony with a load of dancers in costume promoting what can only look like a powerful movement. The triple threat later took to the stage performing the song “Freedom” which was full of theatrics, and when I say theatrics I mean it. Fire, flashing lights, and water people, water! Yes, Beyoncé and her dancers kicked, splashed and danced like crazy in a pool of water, which I’m still trying to wrap my mind around. If anyone could successfully complete the task it’s the Queen. She even surprised fans with Kendrick Lamar who joined the singer on stage. It was definitely a moment that was a massive highlight I must say. Too bad she didn’t stick around to accept any of her countless awards.
The ceremony was hosted by “Black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross who kicked off the ceremony with a parody of the hit musical “Hamilton.” It was funny, but not epic funny if you ask me. Ross and Anderson are perfect hosts for the ceremony. They really know how to deliver a joke and they find a way to keep the pace of the ceremony moving in a linear direction. There were indeed some epic moments and speeches worth talking about.
Actress Taraji P. Henson who took home the award for Best Actress for her work on the TV series “Empire” got slightly political when addressing the issue that Donald Trump could indeed capture the presidency. She hinted that people need to take this election seriously. “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams was honored with the Humanitarian Award. Williams gave a rousing speech that earned him a standing ovation as he took aim at the ongoing issue of African-Americans being killed by police officers and the plight of the African-American community. It was hands down perhaps one of the best speeches that I’ve heard in years.
There was also a bevy of tributes to the iconic musician Prince. Yes, it was a ton of fun to watch. Stevie Wonder, Tori Kelly, Sheila E., Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Maxwell and Jennifer Hudson were just some of the names that gave due justice to the musician who changed the scope of music as we know it. Must say Hudson had people in awe with her rendition of “Purple Rain.” That was simply amazing. Samuel L. Jackson was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his illustrious career that has spanned more than 25 years.
Beyoncé was a big winner of the night taking home a total of 4 awards including Video of the Year for “Formation.” A list of the night’s big winners can be seen below:
Video of the Year
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
-Drake & Future
Best Male Hip Hop Artist
Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Best New Artist
-Rihanna feat. Drake “Work”
-“Straight Outta Compton”
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
-Taraji P. Henson
-Michael B. Jordan
Sportswoman of the Year
Sportsman of the Year
Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award