Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion & Other Record Setters at the 2020 BET Awards

There were first-time winners in several key categories at the 20th annual BET Awards. Lizzo was named best female R&B/pop artist. She beat Beyoncé, who had won 10 times in this category, including the last six years in a row.

Megan Thee Stallion won best female hip-hop artist, beating two former winners in the category – Cardi B, who had won the last two years, and seven-time winner Nicki Minaj.

DaBaby won best male hip-hop artist, beating four-time winner Drake, among others.

Gymnast Simone Biles won sportswoman of the year for the first time. She beat tennis legend Serena Williams (who had won 12 times in the category, including the last six years in a row).

Here are other artists who made history at the BET Awards.

Blue Ivy Carter, the eight-year old daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, shared in the BET HER award for “Brown Skin Girl,” along with her mother, Wizkid and SAINt JHN. This made Blue Ivy the youngest winner in BET history. The old record was held by Willow Smith, the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who was 10 in 2011 when she shared the YoungStars award with her brother Jaden Smith, then 12.

Roddy Ricch’s debut album, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, won album of the year. It’s the second year in a row that a debut album has won this award. Last year’s winner was Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy. Ricch also won best new artist, despite stiff competition from Lil Nas X and Summer Walker.

Chris Brown won best male R&B/pop artist for the record-extending fifth time. He beat The Weeknd, who has yet to win in this category. Brown also won best collaboration for his hit “No Guidance” (featuring Drake).

Migos won best group for the fourth time, a record in the category. They had been tied with OutKast, which it won three times.

Kirk Franklin won the Dr. Bobby Jones beset gospel/inspirational award for “Just For Me,” beating Kanye West, among others. This is Franklin’s fourth win in the category, which puts him in a tie with Yolanda Adams for the most wins in the category’s history.

DJ Khaled’s “Higher” (featuring the late Nipsey Hussle and John Legend) won video of the year. It’s the first collab to win in this category since Jay-Z and West’s “Otis” (which credited the late Otis Redding as a featured artist) eight years ago.

Michael B. Jordan won best actor for the third time, tying Denzel Washington for the most wins in the category’s history. The ascendant Jordan has won all three of these awards in the last five years. Washington’s most recently win was in 2008.

Basketball great LeBron James won sportsman of the year for the seventh time, which extends his lead as the top winner in that category.

Queen & Slim won best movie. It’s only the second film directed by a woman to win in this category (which was introduced in 2010). Melina Matsoukas oversaw Queen & Slim Ava DuVernay directed Selma, the 2015 winner.

Marsai Martin, the 15-year old co-star of ABC’s black-ish, won the YoungStars award for the second year in a row. She’s the third performer to win twice in this category, following Yara Shahidi and Keke Palmer.

Burna Boy won best international act for the second year in a row. The artist is from Nigeria, as was the 2018 winner, Davido.

Kierra Sheard & Karen Clark-Sheard Close Out the 2020 BET Awards with Emotional ‘Something Has to Break’

For the final performance of the 2020 BET Awards on Sunday (June 28), gospel star Kierra Sheard took to the stage with her mother Karen Clark-Sheard (of The Clark Sisters) to send audiences away with a moment of hope.

The duo performed Kierra’s song “Something Has to Break,” an impassioned anthem off of her latest self-titled album, where the singer begs God for some sense of relief or solution during troubled times. “Tear down every lie/Set the wrong thing right,” she sang. “‘Cause when you have your way/ Something has to break.”

Both Karen and Kierra appeared on a brightly lit stage, dressed in shimmering black gowns, with a backup chorus similarly dressed in all-black, punctuating their every word. The powerful performance even included an ad-lib coda, with the mother-daughter duo singing powerfully back and forth to one another, before Kierra closed out the performance with one final plea: “Speak and say it’s breaking.”

The knockout gospel number capped off a night of massive performances at the BET Awards, including ones from stars like Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Megan Thee Stallion and many more.

Check out Kierra Sheard & Karen Clark Sheard’s stunning performance below:

Beyonce at BET Awards: ‘We Have to Vote Like Our Life Depends On It’

Beyonce joined the ranks of activists like Muhammad Ali and Harry Belafonte on Sunday (June 28) when the 2020 BET Awards honored her with the BET Humanitarian Award during its socially distanced broadcast.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared during the broadcast to present the honor to her pal Queen Bey. “No matter how big the stages get, I know my girl isn’t satisfied unless she’s sharing all that shine she has with the next generation. That’s why she’s always pulling up young performers like Chloe x Halle and that orchestra that dazzled us in her Homecoming special,” Obama said. “To my girl, I want to say: You inspire me, you inspire all of us.”

“Thank you so much for this beautiful honor,” said Beyonce after a montage honoring her accomplishments. “I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers and sisters out their inspiring me, marching out there and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.

“We have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power. And that is to vote,” Beyonce urged. “I’m encouraging you to continue to take action. Continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system,” she continued.

“There are people banking on us staying at home during local elections and primaries happening in states across the country…. We have to vote like our life depends on it. Because it does.”

The Grammy-winning singer’s BeyGood Foundation works toward a variety of causes, from awarding scholarships to providing free COVID-19 tests to getting clean water to the landlocked country of Burundi in Africa.

Previous honorees include Muhammad Ali, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Danny Glover, Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington, Harry Belafonte, Don Cheadle, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean, John Legend, Steve Harvey, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dwayne Wade, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Tom Joyner, Jesse Williams, Chance the Rapper, Naomi Wadler, Mamoudou Gassama, Justin Blackman, Shaun King, Anthony Borges, James Shaw Jr. and Nipsey Hussle.

Despite the pandemic, the summer is a busy one for Bey. On July 31, Beyonce will release the Black Is King visual album on Disney Plus, which draws upon music from The Lion King live action remake to show “the voyages of Black families, throughout time” and tell the story of “a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity,” according to the press release.

Eight Moments You Missed During the 2020 BET Awards

On Sunday night (June 28), the 2020 BET Awards didn’t skip a beat, even after being forced to go the virtual route due to the global pandemic. With host Amanda Seales quarterbacking the three-hour festivities, a slew of Black celebrities punched in splashy performances and stirring speeches as if they were center stage at the Staples Center. 

In case you weren’t able to tune in, see some of the moments you missed during Sunday’s star-studded event. 

From Only Fans to Only Fists

Host Amanda Seales didn’t hold back, scolding America for their lack of action regarding the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and more. Her monologue also spoke to her fears of Americans whitewashing Juneteenth and transforming the Black holiday into a diminished day for wearing Frederick Douglass shirts while drinking at bars. In addition, she quipped about people quickly going from Only Fans enthusiasts to Civil Rights activists in seconds and hoping that their switch-up isn’t temporary and for everyone to keep that same energy throughout the fight for change. 

“Now they talking about Juneteenth. That’s dope! But y’all don’t let them Cinco de Mayo our day,” she said. “If we ain’t watchful, every June 19th, folks going to be at the bar wearing Frederick Douglass wig hats, ordering ‘Harriettinis’ off the drink special.”

Rap Heroes Aim to Fight the Power

Following the death of George Floyd, Warner Records newly-signed hyphenate Keedron Bryant gained national acclaim after his chilling Instagram performance of his song “I Just Wanna Live.” To kick-off the 2020 BET Awards, Bryant provided a captivating rendition of his spirited anthem. Subsequently, lyrical heavyweights Nas, Black Thought, YG, Rapsody, and more joined Public Enemy for a modern flip on the group’s 1989 classic “Fight the Power” in light of the elevated racial injustice plaguing African Americans over the last few months. 

Roddy Ricch Pulls a Double Shift 

2020’s Rap MVP candidate Roddy Ricch was active Sunday night. Not only did he flex his piano skills while rapping “High Fashion,” but he also gave fans a nice serving of his Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping single “The Box,” while sporting a Black Lives Matter button-down shirt. Later, Roddy partnered up with DaBaby for his second performance when they dished out “Rockstar (Black Lives Matter Remix).” 

D Smoke Keeps It All in the Family 

Netflix’s Rhythm & Flow season one winner D Smoke and his brother, TDE crooner SiR rallied together to perform “Let Go,” a song recorded the same day cops mercilessly killed George Floyd in Minnesota. With police officers patrolling the Inglewood street-designed set, the musical tandem dazzled when delivering the empowering track. They even received a helping hand from their mother, singer Jackie Gouche, when transitioning into “Black Habits.” 

Megan Thee Stallion Rides Dirty in the Desert 

Two days after releasing her Eazy E-inspired record “Girls in the Hood,” Megan Thee Stallion ventured to the desert to perform her scorching new track. After riding dirty with her crew on ATVs, Meg went on a twerking binge when her “Savage (Remix)” commenced. Sans Beyonce, Megan did a masterful job, courtesy her army of dancers and high-octane energy. 

DaBaby Takes a Stand Against Police Brutality 

Always fearless in his approach, DaBaby kept his audacious streak for doing the unthinkable intact with his “Rockstar “(Black Lives Matter)” performance. Reenacting the gruesome death of George Floyd, Baby is found with a cop’s leg on his neck at the start of the clip. After his remix verse, Baby and Roddy jumped into protest-mode. Donning all-black attire with a group of Black protesters holding signs such as “Defund the police,” rap’s newly beloved duo went on a crushing run, rapping on top of cop cars.

Little Richard and Kobe Bryant Receive Special Tributes 

Wayne Brady knitted together a rousing medley in honor of one of rock’s founding fathers, Little Richard. Brady captured the aura of Richard with his flamboyant garb and contagious energy, dancing through “Lucille,” “Good Golly Ms. Molly,” and “Tutti Frutti.” Afterward, Lil Wayne paid tribute to his fallen friend Kobe Bryant with his 2009 tribute song. Named after Bryant, Wayne added a new verse, where he offered his condolences to his family and spoke on the Lakers’ legend’s lefty accomplishments. 

Two Queens, One Humanitarian Award

Former First Lady Michelle Obama effusively praised Beyonce when presenting her with the BET Humanitarian of the Year Award, citing her as an inspiration for calling out sexism and racism. Queen Bey’s past efforts date back to her contributions to Houston during Hurricane Harvey to providing free COVID-19 testing in her hometown.

“I wanna dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there and all of my sisters out there, inspiring me, marching, and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard,” said Beyonce during her acceptance speech. She also encouraged viewers to vote in this year’s upcoming election in hopes of dismantling “a racist and unequal system” in America.

“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” she opined.

Jonathan McReynolds & Kane Brown Perform Uplifting ‘People’ & ‘Worldwide Beautiful’ at 2020 BET Awards

The 2020 BET Awards offered some inspiration in the final hour of the show on Sunday (June 28). The network delivered a virtual ceremony for the first time this year due to the global coronavirus pandemic, and while the reason that Black artists couldn’t celebrate at the annual event together was disappointing, Jonathan McReynolds and Kane Brown’s performances brought some light to the show.

Gospel singer McReynolds first took the stage with just an acoustic guitar, standing alone in a nearly empty auditorium as the first strains of “People” began to play. The only other people visible were his backup musicians, who played the violin in the balcony above him, and cellos behind and below him.

As the final strains of his song played and McReynolds walked away, the camera moved to Brown. The singer-songwriter performed his latest single, “Worldwide Beautiful,” from his as yet untitled upcoming album. With him on stage — though properly socially distanced — was his backup band.

While Brown’s performance looked like it could be for a live audience — completely with plenty of stage lights — the seats were empty. “You’re missing every color/ If you’re only seeing black and white/ Tell me how you’re gonna change your mind/ If your heart’s unmovable/ We ain’t that different from each other. From one to another, I look around/ And see worldwide beautiful,” crooned Brown.

Watch McReynolds and Brown’s performances below:

Summer Walker & Usher Practice Social Distancing During ‘Come Thru’ Performance at the 2020 BET Awards

Last year, rising R&B talent Summer Walker teamed with Usher for “Come Thru,” a sultry standout from her album Over It. Nearly a year and a music video release later, the duo brought their acclaimed collaboration to the 20th BET Awards stage, virtually.

The performance setup was as intimate as the song itself — while incorporating a bit of social distancing. Walker appeared first, sitting barefoot in a pink dress in the middle of a dreamy, all-pink living room, complete with candles and a couch. After singing a few bars of her own heartfelt track, “Session 32,” a cappella, she launched into “Come Thru,” which samples Usher’s own 1997 song “You Make Me Wanna.”

Enter the Confessions icon, who took the virtual stage from a separate living room setup, this time hued in all blue. As the two duetted, Usher walked over (ahem, came through) to join Walker on her couch — from six feet away, of course.

Walker snagged two BET Awards nominations tonight: Best female R&B/pop artist and best new artist. Meanwhile, Usher received a nod for best male R&B/pop artist.

Watch their full performance below.

Chloe x Halle Debut ‘Forgive Me’ at the 2020 BET Awards

On Sunday night (June 28) the BET Awards celebrated its 20th anniversary, and honored Beyonce with its humanitarian award. But first, her powerhouse protégés Chloe x Halle performed two hits off their newest album, Ungodly Hour.

They opened their two-song set with chilling harmonies before digging into “Forgive Me,” which they live-debuted in black latex outfits similar to those on their latest album cover all while delivering subtle yet hard-hitting choreography.

The screen then switched to show the sisters wearing matching white outfits while standing in what looked like a red, inflatable life-size box. They then performed “Do It,” which they previously debuted on Today and became the pair’s first-ever Hot 100 hit.

And before the performance wrapped, the two sets appeared side-by-side — showing two Chloes and two Halles — all dancing together.

Watch below.