Two words, Beyonce and Kendrick. One performance, spectacular! The opening to the BET Awards 16 was like the Grammys on 10. This revolution was televised from the star-studded performance inspired by African roots to the cries for Freedom, Queen Bey and Kendrick Lamar brought the house down and kicked off the evening in the right direction towards the stars. Electrifying moments from beginning to end as tributes to the late Prince were weaved in throughout the night. From the promos, red carpet interviews and the live performances there was no doubt Prince was going to be honored the right way.
Erykah Badu, Bilal, The Roots, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Maxwell, Janelle Monae and Sheila E sung many of Prince’s hits like: “Beautiful Ones,” “Take Me With You,” “Delirious,” “Kiss,” “I Would Die for You” and of course “Purple Rain” which were crowd favorites and signature songs that bolstered him to an icon and music royalty.
Hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson kept the crowd entertained from their spoof on Hamilton the musical, to moments that were literally tongue and cheek; hence the his and her cut-out outfits.
Samuel Jackson was honored and deservedly won the Lifetime Achievement Award. With over 100 movies and revenue that boasts over 7 Billion dollars in films he starred in under his belt, he stated that he gives the respect to this business that it deserves. And for that we are grateful that he shows up with this work ethic that exudes beyond the screen.
Top songs of the year were performed by Desiigner (Panda), French Montana, Fat Joe and Remy Ma (All The Way Up) and Bryson Tiller (Don’t/Exchange), to name a few. Up and comers also hit the stage: Anderson .Paak (Come Down), Chloe x Halle (Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment) and Bibi Bourelly (Riot), they will surely be household names in the near future.
Laila Ali had a chance to remember her father the late, great Muhammad Ali and thank the crowd and viewers at home for the love they shared for her father and family throughout his whole career.
In addition to the movie, ‘The Birth of A Nation’ (Nate Parker & Gabrielle Union), ‘When The Bough Breaks’ (Morris Chestnut & Regina Hall), ‘Almost Christmas’ (Kimberly Elise & Danny Glover) and the ‘New Edition’ (Bryshere Gray & Luke James), biopic set to air on BET have been announced and will be in theaters and on screen soon.
From the tribal dances in the opening number to the speech given by activist Jessie Williams and the urge for us to show up in the upcoming election, by award winners to the preview of the upcoming movie, ‘The Birth of A Nation’, all the way to the jacket wore by Usher during his performance, freedom rang, our voices were heard and our presence was felt. With knowledge comes power, the question is, will we answer the call?
Stay tuned for the annual BET Hip Hop Awards.
Editor-In-Chief of The Undergroundseen