The BET Awards '20 are officially underway and this year, just like every year, it's an unabashed and defiant celebration of Black lives, Black love and Black people. The show is also a tribute to 40 years of BET, and host Amanda Seales will take us through four decades of the network's groundbreaking programming, from Video Soul to 106 & Park.
This year's show will be virtual, of course, but that doesn't mean it won't be the Black family reunion we all need. We'll post all the updates as the show goes on over here, and follow the conversation on Twitter as well.
Let's get to it!
'In Memoriam' Honors The Legends We Lost
It's hard to believe how many icons went home this year: Lil Richard, Miss Minnie, Andre Harrell, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Pop Smoke, Diahann Carroll, Bill Withers, John Witherspoon, Kobe Bryant, Jas Waters and so many more.
Wayne Brady pays tribute to Lil Richard
From the gold suit to the jheri curl, Wayne Brady had this tribute to the late rock 'n roll legend on lock from the first piano keys. The medley included a bunch of hits, including "Good Golly, Miss Molly" and "Tutti Frutti."
Anderson.Paak And Jay Rock Perform "Lockdown"
The song has a double meaning for the twin pandemics plaguing Black Americans: Covid-19 and police brutality.
Jennifer Hudson Performs Nina Simone's "Young, Gifted And Black"
J. Hud looks regal and resplendent in an emerald green gown, performing Nina Simone's ode to Black excellence.
DaBaby and Roddy Ricch Perform "Rockstar"
This powerful performance begins with a closeup shot of DaBaby laying on the ground, cheek to asphalt. As the camera slowly pulls back, we see the knee on his neck. Images from protests across the country flash across the frame as DaBaby and Roddy Ricch perform against the light of police sirens and flames, surrounded by men and women holding protest signs. If you're not crying in the ending beats, when the audio of the little girl whose pleas about police brutality went viral, you might want to check your pulse.
Burna Boy Wins Best International Act
Naomi Campbell presented the award to the Nigerian artist, who takes the award for the second year in a row. Burna made a strong statement in his acceptance speech: "Around 1835, there was a mission to turn Africa, the nation of Africa, into a dominating nation," he said. "Now is the time to go back to the royalty that we were. Because in order for Black lives to matter, Africa must matter."
Megan Thee Stallion Performs "Girls In The Summer" and "Savage (Remix)"
Meg turned up the volume with an amazing Mad Max-style performance in the desert, complete with ATVs and a moving train.
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend Win Video Of The Year For "Higher"
Lizzo poured herself a drink and presented this award, presented by 1800 Tequila. Khaled accepted the award on behalf of the group, being sure to shout out Nip and everyone in his family.
D. Smoke and SiR Perform "Let Go" And "Black Habits"
The Inglewood-raised brothers were joined by their mother Jackie Gouché. We know where Miss Jackie's boys got their talent: she provided background vocals for Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and many more icons.
Amanda Seales Infiltrates A "Karen Support Group"
You know this kind of thing exists in real life — it's called "Book Club."
Tracee Ellis Ross Presents Masego
The Kingston, Jamaica native performed "Queen Tings" in an indoor garden, backed up by a full band.
Megan Thee Stallion Wins Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Marsai Martin presented Hot Girl Meg with this award. Meg accepted it from home. "It feels so crazy doing this from my house," she said, before thanking Houston, her mother, God and — of course — her Hotties.
John Legend Performs "Never Break"
Something about JL and his piano makes us believe everything's gonna be alright.
Roddy Ricch Performs "High Fashion" and "The Box"
The performance starts with just Roddy, a piano, and some gorgeous models at a safe social distance away, before another model shows up...Roddy's whip. The artist goes for a virtual ride before hopping out and continuing his performance against the dopest Zoom call you've ever seen. He stayed true to the evening's theme by rocking a simple Black Lives Matter shirt.
AMANDA SEALES CALLS OUT WHITE PEOPLE'S NEWFOUND WOKENESS IN OPENING MONOLOGUE
Amanda Seales kicked off the show with an opening monologue that somehow manages to be disarmingly real and utterly hilarious at the same damn time. You know Amanda had to take shots at all the performative wokeness going around these days. "Y'all feeds went from OnlyFans to only fists in 24 hours," she jokes, adding that "America is acting brand new about racism." She specifically called out this year's unprecedented celebration of Juneteenth: "Ya'll don't let them Cinco de Mayo our day," she joked.
PUBLIC ENEMY PERFORMs "FIGHT THE POWER"
What a way to open the show. If there's an anthem for this moment, "Fight the Power" is it. Public Enemy members Chuck D and Flava Flav are joined by Nas, Black Thought and others for this pulse-raising tribute to protest, hip hop and Black power.