The 2021 BET Awards did not disappoint. From baby announcements to tributes, the awards ceremony truly lived up to its viral hashtag Sunday night, #CulturesBiggestNight. Host Taraji P. Henson opened up the night with a reminder of why it’s so dope to be Black, from long, acrylic nails (referring to Sha’Carri Richardson) to baby hairs and reclaiming TikTok (i.e. no more mustard on the watermelon!) The theme for the year’s award ceremony was Year of the Woman, appropriately named for the Royal Women honored throughout the evening.
Before the ceremony, Naomi Osaka, LeBron James, and Bree Runway took home the first three awards of the evening. Osaka was praised for her bravery in standing her ground in the name of mental health.
Political movers and shakers, Maxine Waters was given her roses, literally. Georgia’s Stacey Abrams and Vice President Kamala Harris were also given kudos. Throughout the night
Below is a recap of more of the top highlights from the BET Awards.
Cardi B is pregnant with baby #2
It looks like Cardi B and Offset are about to be parents of 2! The Up rapper revealed her pregnancy during a performance with the Migos.
Cardi B and Offset, giving us life – literally,” host Taraji P. Henson joked after the performance.
— #BETAwards (@BETAwards) June 28, 2021
Shortly after the performance, the expecting mom posted the announcement on her Instagram.
#2 ♥️,” she captioned it and tagged Offset.
The couple is already parents to Kulture. Congratulations to them!
Cardi also took home some wins. She and Megan Thee Stallion win Video of The Year for their song, “WAP.”
Queen Latifah honored
Hip-hop pioneer Queen Latifah was honored with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. Monie Love, Lil Kim and MC Lyte were among the performers to honor the Golden Globe actress, producer and artist.
Rapsody and British rapper Monie Love kicked the tribute off with their rendition of Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First.” Lil’ Kim followed up with her rendition of “U.N.I.T.Y.”, featuring another female rap icon, MC Lyte.
“Queen Latifah, we are here today to give you your flowers — your so-deserved flowers, long-overdue flowers,” Lil’ Kim spoke directly to Latifah as the song ended. “You are the first Queen! The Queen! My Queen! Thanks for paving the way for us. Thank you.”
The tribute left the Queen in tears.
Watch the full tribute below:
Danella Frazier honored
Danella Frazier was the recipient of the Shine A Light Award. The 18-year-old captured the murder of George Floyd last year.
“Tonight, we’d like to shine a light on the brave and transformative heroics of Darnella Frazier,” the Without Remorse actress said about Frazier during her speech. “This young woman who captured a moment in history that reflects our brutal past helping to forge a way forward with her cell phone in hand, she recorded 9 minutes and 29 seconds of social injustice, highlighting the murder of George Floyd.”
London, 36, continued, “Sometimes in life, it just takes one person to prove that we play a large part in getting the accountability we deserve. She didn’t set out to change the world, she set out to do what was right.”
Earlier this month, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded Frazier a special award for “for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.”
Frazier was 17-years-old when she recorded Floyd’s fatal arrest by Derek Chauvin. She later testified at Chauvin’s murder trial in March, where the former officer was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
H.E.R. getting the spotlight she deserves
The Grammy-award-winning artist picked up the Best Female R&B/Hip-hop Award, beating out Beyonce, who was also nominated.
“I just want you guys to know how important it is to recognize each other,” the “Damage” singer said during her acceptance speech.
— BET (@BET) June 28, 2021
Earlier that evening, the multitalented 24-year-old blessed the crowd in the name of the culture in an over-the-top performance. The 24-year-old recently had big wins at the Oscars and Grammys but she said BET was the stage for her.
“This is a stage for us, for Black women to be recognized, and I just think it’s really important to have that and I’m thankful for it,” said H.E.R. “We’ve had a crazy year and I think we’re all starting to see the importance of supporting Black people — obviously supporting all people but we all know Black people are under-acknowledged and under-recognized and under-celebrated. It’s the year of the Black woman, it’s the year of really giving people their flowers. I’m proud and I hope we keep that same energy.”
A night of Tina Snow
Aside from winning the Video of the Year award, the Stallion picked up the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. During her acceptance speech, the “Body” rapper emotionally recognized her late mother, who passed away from cancer in 2019. She credited her mother for making her who she was.
The Houston native also won Viewers’ Choice Award for “Savage” (Remix) featuring Beyonce.
Queen of Soul honored
Jennifer Hudson gave her R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the late, great Aretha Franklin. Hudson will be playing the Queen of Soul in the biopic, Respect, which will premiere in theaters this August.
See the official trailer below:
Maxine Waters claimed some time
Auntie briefly reclaimed her time before Jazmine Sulivan and Ari Lennox’s soulful performance. Earlier that evening the California representative received physical roses for her unapologetic impact in politics.
Jazmine Sullivan wins album of the year
Well-deserved. The songstress’s Heaux Tales won album of the year. Sullivan’s mother, Pam Sullivan, accompanied her to the stage, making the moment even more special and one Sullivan admitted she did not expect to happen.
Last May, her mother was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. But there were tears of joy when the singer announced that her mother’s cancer was in remission. Needless to say, the “Pick Up Your Feelings” singer won twice!
We had to wait until the very end of the night but the Ruff Ryders gave it to us in a hype, performance that paid tribute to the late rap legend. Performances included Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Griselda, Michael K. Williams and Method Man
“We’re going to celebrate DMX’s life all year, and continue to do so for many years to come,” Swizz Beatz told Complex.
Williams went viral on Black Twitter with calls for him to portray DMX in a biopic. “Gon head and cast Michael K. Williams as the lead for the DMX biopic. Thank you kindly,” Jessie Woo tweeted.
Another tweeted, “I can really see this man playing DMX , in a future biopic for real! His range is phenomenal!”
As of now, there is no DMX biopic in the works but it looks like we found our leading man! DMX, also known as Earl Simmons died on Friday, April 9 after suffering from a heart attack.