2021 BET Awards = Much Needed Magic (6/28/2021)

The culture’s biggest night went down live on television from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, with the 2021 B.E.T. Awards hosted by actress Taraji P. Henson. After last year’s virtual telecast of the award show, everyone was anticipating the culturally influential evening. The show, which was produced and hosted by Black women and staff, was filled with plenty of magical and memorable moments from the performances and award winners to the fashion and wardrobe changes from the host as she paid homage to history-making and influential black women of our time.

Last night’s show theme was “The Year of the Black Woman.” Despite the continued emphasis of the theme several times during the telecast, it couldn’t be proclaimed enough. As they say, the future is women, and I say that Black Women will always be the blueprint, the creators, and influences of our societies worldwide. As mentioned above, Taraji P. Henson hosted the star-studded night, complete with a total of 11 different outfit looks! (Side note: I think it was 11. I tried to keep count, but I was just so excited about everything happening during the telecast.) 

The show kicked off with an energetic and highly inspirational performance from Kirk Franklin featuring rapper Lil Baby performing “We Win.” The night’s second performance was filled with surprises as rap group Migos performed two songs from their latest project release Culture 3. During the performance of “Straightenin,” viewers were dazzled with pyrotechnics and plenty of typical Migos swag. But everyone instantly stopped in their tracks during “Type Sh*t” when the glowing and sparkly jeweled Cardi B joined them during the set, surprising the world with her 2nd pregnancy announcement. My Twitter feed instantly exploded. 

Queen Latifah’s Ladies First with Monie Love

H.E.R., who also celebrated her 24th b-day yesterday, gave all-star elite-level performances where she showed the world that she could indeed do it all. Descending on stage from the air H.E.R. wowed the crowd and viewers at home with her drum solo, and guitar riff glory during her performance of We Made It.  

Other fabulous performers of the night included Memphian rapper- Moneybagg Yo with “Time Today” and Megan Thee Stallion with the “body ody ody,” gave us several doses of elegance throughout the night with “Tina Snow” vibes during her performance of Thot Sh*t. 

Jazmine Sullivan and her smooth vocals serenaded the crowd with her single “Tragic,” which featured a short monologue from U.S. Representative Maxine Waters. And then Sullivan lifted everyone’s spirits higher when she was joined on stage with the equally beautiful and talented singer Ari Lennox during their performance of the highly sensual track On It. With their vocals, coupled with beautifully designed chocolate fits, I am proclaiming that this is at least one of the sexiest moments in B.E.T. Award history.  

Rapper DaBaby put on a very energetic and visually chaotic performance of his song “Ball If I Want To.” At the same time, Lil’ Nas X, who continues to push the envelope in a good way, ripped the stage with a masterfully choreographed performance of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” During the set, he and his dancers were outfitted with Egyptian-inspired attire and a King of Pop dance tribute to a remix of “Remember the Time.” Silk Sonic had the Internet and Black Twitter buzzing with their fake-out of premiering a new song as they performed “Leave the Door Open” again. Although their vocals were A1 per usual, I agree with the consensus of black Twitter and fans. We are ready for the album, E.P., or a new song at best. 

City Girls performed Twerkulator, a sample remix and modernized ode to the 1982 hip/hop classic Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force and Cajmere’s 1992 house dance hit, Percolator. The two Nissan Amplified Music Stage artists featured during the broadcast were singers Tone Stith and Mereba. 

Throughout the broadcast, there were a few moments where the show took time to reflect on current and past events that shook the nation. Actress Lauren London presented and accepted the Shine A Light Award on behalf of Darnella Frazier, who is known as the citizen reporter that recorded the tragic events during George Floyd’s final minutes alive.

Queen Latifah’s 1993 Hit U.N.I.T.Y

The next touching moment aside from the moment of silence for the citizens of Miami was the Lifetime Achievement Award tribute to actress, rapper, entrepreneur, and path paver Queen Latifah. The deserving honor was presented to her by fellow rap sister and show mc, Mc Lyte. Following the presentation, two of Queen’s most iconic songs, Ladies First and U.N.I.T.Y., were performed by raptresses Rapsody, Monie Love, Lil Kim, and Lyte. 

At the end of the program, Method Man, Griselda, Swizz Beats, and Ruff Ryders performed a beautiful and emotional tribute to the late D.M.X. Actor Michael K. Williams delivered a steering monologue once recited by D.M.X. himself in which he sounded and moved eerily similar to the late legend. The night’s final performance went to Andra Day, who sang Billie Holiday’s classic Strange Fruit and Tigress and Tweed. I felt the two songs were the perfect send-off to a magical evening of celebrating black women and their accomplishments, beauty, and overall supreme status. 

During the awards telecast, the following winners were presented statues: 

  • Best Actress Winner: Andra Day
  • Best Group Winner: Silk Sonic
  • Best New Artist Winner: G.I.V.E.O.N.
  • Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: H.E.R
  • Best Female Hip Hop Artist Winner: Meg Thee Stallion
  • Video of the Year Winner: Cardi B feat Meg Thee Stallion-W.A.P
  • Bet HER Award Winner: S.Z.A.
  • Album of the Year Winner: Jazmine Sullivan-Heaux Tales
  • Best Male Hip Hop Artist: Lil Baby 
  • Best International Act Winner: Burna Boy
  • Lifetime Achievement B.E.T. Award– Queen Latifah (Presented by MC Lyte) 
  • Viewer’s Choice Award Winner: Megan Thee Stallion 

For a complete listing of last night’s winners, check out the video provided via B.E.T. Networks here. Be sure to check your local listings for re-air times to catch or re-watch Sunday night’s events this week and in the coming days!