HOLLYWOOD — In a year when many awards ceremonies were pushed back or canceled, the BET Awards was one of the first to broadcast its 20th annual awards show virtually June 28, with pre-taped performances and speeches by celebrities like Megan Thee Stallion, Michelle Obama and Beyoncé.
Besides airing on its own network, the BET Awards also aired simultaneously for the first time on CBS, broadcasting this celebration of Black artists to an audience of almost 4 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The BET Awards used technology to keep the spectacle of past awards shows intact. Host Amanda Seales used a green screen — revealed at the end of the show — that allowed her to be in different locations without having to physically travel to any of them.
Former first lady Michelle Obama presented Beyoncé with the Humanitarian Award from what seemed to be her living room.
In her pre-taped acceptance speech, Beyoncé acknowledged everyone fighting for change.
“I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain. Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote.”
Performing artists selected various sets and social distancing methods for music videos. For Wayne Brady’s tribute to the late Little Richard, dancers wore masks during the majority of the performance.
The BET Awards also went on as scheduled, said network president Scott Mills, to shine a light on the Black community, after the murders of Black people by the police, and the outcry for change because of that.
“We will take on the issues of lethal racism,” Mills told CNBC. “We will create counter measures, policies and practices that will ensure African Americans are treated with the same protections and dignities as every other community in this country.”
Chris Brown, Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch each won two awards in competition at the 2020 BET Awards June 28 while Beyonce was presented with a Humanitarian Award and the BET HER Award.
Brown won for best male R&B/pop artist and best collaboration for “No Guidance,” which featured Drake. Anderson .Paak, Chris Brown, Jacquees, Khalid, The Weeknd and Usher were the other nominees for best male r&b/pop artist.
The best collaboration award was Drake’s only victory. He entered the ceremony with a leading six nominations. He also was nominated for best male hip-hop artist, video of the year and received a second nomination for best collaboration when he joined Future for “Life Is Good,” which was also nominated for the viewers’ choice award. “No Guidance” also received a viewers’ choice award nomination.
Megan Thee Stallion won the viewers’ choice award for her collaboration with Nicki Minaj, “Hot Girl Summer.” She was also selected as best female hip-hop artist, beating out Cardi B, Doja Cat, Lizzo, Minaj and Saweetie.
Ricch won for album of the year for “Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial” and best new artist.
DaBaby won for best male hip-hop artist in a field that also included Future, Lil Baby, Ricch and Travis Scott.
Lizzo won for best female R&B/pop artist. The other nominees were Beyonce, H.E.R., Jhene Aiko, Kehlani and Summer Walker.
Migos was selected as best group beating out Chloe x Halle, City Girls, Earthgang, Griselda and Jackboys.
The video of the year was DJ Khaled’s “Higher” which featured John Legend and the late Nipsey Hussle.
Other winners included Michael B. Jordan as best actor, Issa Rae as best actress, “Queen & Slim” as best movie, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James as sportsman of the year and gymnast Simone Biles as sportswoman of the year.
Lil Wayne paid tribute to Laker legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a January helicopter crash in Calabasas. Wayne Brady, the host of the CBS game show “Let’s Make A Deal,” paid tribute to Little Richard, who died in May, by singing “Lucille,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Tutti Frutti.”
Chuck D, Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody, Flavor Flav, Questlove, Jahi, YG opened the show by performing their song “Fight the Power.”
Anderson .Paak and Jay Rock followed, performing “Lockdown,” a detailed picture of the recent Black Lives Matter protests released on Juneteenth.
Ricch, DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion and Usher were among the other performers.
City News Service contributed to this story.