Since the BET Awards launched in 2001, women in R&B have been a big part of the show. In fact, Mary J. Blige was the very first recipient of the Best R&B Female Artist Award and Destiny’s Child performed at that inaugural event.
With the 2020 BET Awards coming up (June 28th at 8 pm EST), it’s only fitting that we take a look back at some of the recent performances by the ladies of R&B at the BET Awards that had us snapping our fingers and bobbing our heads. From bops to jams, from legends to newbies, take a look at who has recently slayed the stage.
If there’s going to be a post giving the ladies of R&B their flowers, there’s no way Ms. Mary J. Blige wouldn’t be at the top of the list. For decades she’s given us a string of hits that can have us go from two-stepping in the club to crying into a glass of wine. The Queen of Hip Hop Soul took us on an epic 20-minute journey through her discography at the 2019 BET Awards. We’re talking “Real Love,” “My Life,” “I’m Going Down,” “Reminisce,” and more! Mind you Mary gave us all of this while doing choreography, going through wardrobe changes, and of course, rocking her signature thigh-high boots. All hail the Queen!
It’s so nice to see groups reunite! Xscape treated the 2017 BET Awards audience to a medley of their hits while draped in sparkly, figure-hugging outfits. The verdict is in and they still have it! Kandi, Tiny, Tamika, and Latocha started off on a chill vibe with “Understanding” as they sat on stools. But they were on the feet by the end of that song as they rolled into “Who Can I Run To” and finished off the set with “Just Kickin’ It,” which had the whole crowd singing the words.
SZA brought her eclectic style to the BET Awards as she belted out two of her hits, “Love Galore” and “The Weekend,” a plaintive song about sharing a man with another woman and divvying up the days they have with him. (SZA has the weekend.) Both songs are from her Grammy-nominated album CTRL. She won Best New Artist at the 2018 BET Awards. We get the feeling that we’ll be seeing this singer-songwriter (She’s written for Beyonce and Rihanna) much more. SZA is the type of artist who takes creative risks, so who knows what her next project will sound like. We’re looking forward to it.
Kiana Lede was giving serious glam during her 2019 performance of “Ex” at the 2019 BET Awards. The feathers, the sparkles, the hair, bring it sis! But nothing was shining brighter than her voice. Did you hear those notes? This performance snippet of “Ex” pretty much compels you to watch her full performance of “Heavy” from later that year at Black Girls Rock. This young lady is definitely one to look out for!
Can we focus on H.E.R.? Um, yes! H.E.R. brought in all the romantic feels with her sultry hit song “Focus.” But H.E.R. didn’t just come to show off her vocal chops, the singer-songwriter grabbed an electric guitar and played for a bit before she brought in Daniel Caesar to perform their sugar-sweet single “Best Part.”
(Photo by JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty Images)