In 2002, actress Halle Berry swept award ceremonies after the veteran Hollywood star won several awards for her role as Leticia Musgroves in the drama Monster’s Ball, including a BET Award and an Academy Award for "Best Actress"—the latter of which marked her as the first and currently only Black woman ever to achieve the milestone.
Several of Berry’s fellow actresses, including Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, and Jennifer Hudson, have given performances in various critically acclaimed films that earned them one of the most significant awards an entertain could get at the award show. And as we gear up for this year’s festivities, set to be one to remember, we’re taking a trip down memory and looking at five of the most memorable BET Awards "Best Actress" winners.
Halle Berry - “Monster’s Ball“
In 2002, Halle earned the award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Leticia Musgrove in the film Monster’s Ball. Musgrove is the fictional and subsequent widow of Lawrence Musgrove, an inmate on death row played by Sean "Diddy" Combs. The role also marked the first and only time a Black woman won the award for Best Actress.
Taraji P. Henson - “Hustle and Flow”
In 2006 the Empire star took home the honor in the Best Actress category for her role in the Academy Award-winning drama Hustle and Flow. Taraji starred as the pregnant prostitute Shug, opposite Terrence Howard. Her character later joins the musical process by singing hooks alongside Howard’s DJay, showing off the actress’s singing talents early in her career.
Jennifer Hudson — “Dreamgirls”
Singer and songwriter Jennifer Hudson won Best Actress at BET Awards 2007 for her role as Effie White in the musical drama Dreamgirls an ensemble cast featuring Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and Anika Noni Rose. The film is an adaptation of the 1981 Broadway musical of the same name, Dreamgirls. The “Spotlight” singer’s character was inspired by Supremes member Florence Ballard’s tragic story.
Viola Davis — “The Help”
In 2011, Viola Davis lost the Academy Award for Best Actress to the equally talented Meryl Streep for the thespian’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the film The Iron Lady. However, order was restored a year later when the actress took home the award at the BET Awards 2012.
Andra Day — “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Singer, songwriter, and actress Andra Day humbly received the award for Best Actress at the BET Awards 2021, hosted by award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, for her role as the legendary singer Billie Holiday in the biographical drama directed by Lee Daniels.
Tune into the BET Awards 2022 Sunday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET.