Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae and Jazmine Sullivan were some of the big stars who used the stage at the BET Awards to strongly criticize the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strip women’s constitutional abortion protections.
Henson took to the stage as the show’s host on Sunday with an uplifting message about “Black Excellence” before launching into the court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade last week. The actor took to the stage after Lizzo opened the show with a flute solo in a shimmering gold outfit performing his single “About Damn Time.”
“It is high time we talked about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman. It’s a sad day in America,” Henson said, thanking Lizzo who, along with Live Nation, recently donated $1 million in touring revenue to Planned Parenthood. “A weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman who can give life – if she wishes.”
Monae raised her middle finger to the Supreme Court before presenting the nominees for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist. His speech was applauded standing at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“These artists make art on our own terms, own our truths, and speak freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and control our bodies, my body and our decisions, my body,” said the singer, who also paid tribute. to the LGBTQ+ community. “(explicit) you the Supreme Court. I know we are celebrating right now as it should be. We absolutely deserve to celebrate – especially now, we should be celebrating our art by protecting our rights and our truths.
Afterwards, Monae featured Sullivan as the category winner – who appealed to men for their support of women.
“It’s a tough time for us,” Sullivan said. “I want to speak directly to the men: we need you all. We need you all to stand up, stand up for us, support us. If you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the most difficult decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be on your feet. It’s not just a woman’s issue. It’s everyone’s business. We need your support more than ever. »
Latto gave an emotional speech after winning the Best New Artist award. “It’s giving a pro choice,” said the rapper, who then performed her hit “Big Energy” with Mariah Carey. “It’s never given to a man to watch over my body.”
Singer Tems dedicated her Best International Actor award to the many women who “dare to dream”.
“Where I’m from, things like this don’t happen,” said the Lagos, Nigeria-born singer, who won Best Collaboration with Justin Bieber and Wizkid for their song “Essence.” “It’s a dream. If you look at me, I want you to imagine yourself as me because you’re supposed to be here too.
Doja Cat entered the show as the main contestant with six. The chart-topping performer is up for Best Female R&B-Pop Artist, Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, Album of the Year for her No. 1 hit “Planet Her” and BET Her for “Woman “. His “Kiss Me More” with SZA is nominated for Video of the Year and Best Collaboration.
Sean “Diddy” Combs will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award – one of the ceremony’s highest honors. The music mogul is the founder of Bad Boy Records, has his own television network and fashion line, and is a three-time Grammy winner who has worked with a slew of top artists, including Notorious. BIG, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Faith Evans and 112.
Drake and Ari Lennox were the second most nominated artists, with four nominations each. Three nominations went to several others, including Baby Keem, Silk Sonic, Chloe Bailey, Future, HER, Jazmine Sullivan, Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), Kendrick Lamar, Lil Baby, Mary J. Blige, and Tems.
Jack Harlow performed “Poison” alongside Lil Wayne before Brandy took the stage with him for his hit “First Class.” As Harlow and Brandy performed, the camera cut to her brother, Ray J, who was seen dancing in the audience.
Chance the Rapper and Joey Bada$$ performed “The Highs & The Lows”. In her pink dress, Muni Long opened her set with a snippet of “Time Machine” ahead of her “Hrs & Hrs” jam.
Winners in all 19 categories, including film and sports awards, are selected by BET’s Voting Academy, made up of entertainment professionals and fans.
[With Inputs from PTI]