By Jonathan Landrum Jr.
“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” said the superstar singer at the BET Awards, which celebrated its 20 years of highlighting excellence in Black-led entertainment. But the ceremony, filmed virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, kept much of its focus on topics such as systematic racism and equal rights.
Beyoncé was honored for her philanthropic work and relief efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. She said voting in the upcoming election was the way to end a “racist and unequal system” in America.
Beyoncé used her platform June 28 while accepting the BET humanitarian award to relay a direct appeal to viewers: go vote. (Courtesy Photo)
“I’m encouraging you to take action,” she said following an introduction by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The singer dedicated her award to the Black Lives Matter movement, and encouraged activists to continue to push forward.
Here are some additional highlights from the three-hour show broadcast on CBS, BET and BET Her:
Rapper DaBaby lay on the pavement while an actor playing a police officer pressed his knee on the rapper’s neck.
The reenactment at the beginning of the multi-platinum rapper’s performance offered a glimpse into the last moments of the life of George Floyd, killed by Minneapolis police last month. DaBaby rapped a verse from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit song “Rockstar” with Roddy Ricch at the awards.
While holding a baseball bat, DaBaby then stood on a stage behind a group of people who had their fists raised high while others held “Black Lives Matter” signs.
His performance also featured images from protests, a reflection of the current world in the wake of Floyd’s death and the deaths of others, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
The rapper honored the late Kobe Bryant with a performance of his song “Kobe Bryant,” highlighting the NBA icon’s biggest moments. He paid tribute to Bryant who died in a helicopter crash in January that killed eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.