HOLLYWOOD—This was an awards show that I religiously watched about 15 years ago. It was an awards show that celebrated Black excellence and was actually entertaining, full of surprises and delivered musical performances that people were talking about the next day during the water cooler conversation at work. Those days have long past for the BET Awards. The 2021 ceremony was back in the flesh after being held virtually in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

This time taking over as the Master of Ceremonies was actress and Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson. The show kicked off with performance by Kirk Franklin and Lil Baby that took the audience to church. Henson promised full Blackness and celebrating the Year of the Black Woman. Her speech was all about empowerment, and I will admit I was eager to see the DMX tribute as well as Queen Latifah receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The BET Award for Best Actress went to Andra Day. Migos and Cardi B hit the stage. Migos seemed stiff as hell on stage; where was the energy? Since when can you say the “S” word on cable TV? I know HBO, Showtime and Starz, but didn’t know you could do that on BET? I thought that was what I was seeing when Cardi B came out on stage, she is PREGNANT! That is what you talk about in a reveal; congrats Cardi! Silk Sonic was victorious in the Best Group race; it was upset as I was certain Migos would win.

H.E.R. took the stage to deliver a rousing performance that continued to showcase the vocal talent of this woman who recently won an Oscar this year for Best Original Song for the film “Judas and the Black Messiah.” This woman gives me vibes of a modern Alicia Keys with her talent when it comes to musical instruments. The Best New Artist award was a win for Giveon. Moneybagg Yo was the next artist to rock the stage. I have to admit I don’t know half the artists performing, which means I might need to start listening to the radio more.

DaBaby was the next to hit the BET stage, with a performance that was wacky, but very entertaining to say the least people. When it came to Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, it was H.E.R. and rightfully deserved. Her speech was incredible in addition noting how R&B has inspired so many other genres of music for decades to come people. Megan Thee Stallion came to the stage to perform and the woman has some catchy songs to say the least America.

Queen Latifah was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2021 BET Awards.

Video of the Year only an hour into the ceremony, but it was Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion winning for “WAP.” Yes, a controversial song, but catchy people. Best Female Hip-Hop Artist crowned Megan Thee Stallion as the winner. Jazmin Sullivan took to the stage to deliver a rousing performance. Sullivan is a vocal powerhouse, whose talent should not go unnoticed. The BET HER Award went to Sza for “Good Days.”

The BET Award for Album of the Year went to Jazmin Sullivan for “Heaux Tales.” Sullivan was indeed surprised by her win. Lil Nas X delivered an Egyptian themed performance full of theatrics and choreography that was unique to say the least. Best Male Hip-Hop Artist earned a trophy for Lil Baby. Silk Sonic delivered a sensual and groovy performance that was a highlight of the night America. City Girls took the stage to deliver a very dance heavy performance with plenty of booty shaking.

MC Lyte, Lil Kim, Rapsody and a host of others paid tribute to Queen Latifah and it was a trip down memory lane to see all the accolades this woman has accomplished during her illustrious career. We got to hear anthems like “Ladies First” and “Unity” and the stage was graced with female rap icons Lil Kim and MC Lyte. The Viewer’s Choice Awards was a win for Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyonce “Savage (Remix).” Megan has had a great night people taking home 3 awards before the ceremony culminated with a epic tribute to the later rapper DMX with performances by Busta Rhymes and Method Man.

Overall and entertaining ceremony, but a bit longer than I expected. Three hours is long, but when you stretch things close to the 4 hour mark you’re getting into dangerous territory people.