The 2016 BET Awards has officially come and gone, and I most assuredly can say that I enjoyed it better than last year. Now I may be a bit bias in saying that given my favorite performer ever opened this year’s festivities. However, even when she packed up shop and high tailed it overseas following her epic performance, I was still more entertained than last year. Heck, I barely paid last June’s show that much attention until Janet walked across the stage. But this year, I was definitely more in tune with what was going on. I think that mostly had to do with trying to see if BET would live up to the hype of its Prince tribute. Whether or not it did in my opinion, the jury is still out on that. While I expected more out of some performers, others lit the stage with fire. Overall, it was way better than the Billboard’s tribute though. So Anywho, check out my top 5 moments of the show.
- Janelle Monae Captures the Essence of the Purple One
Leave it to this “Electric Lady” (I tried LOL) to set the stage on fire in honor of a man that clearly has influenced her musically. I really embraced her performance. The up-tempo numbers she gave had lots of energy, good vocals, old school dancing, and an overall vibe that reminded viewers of the Purple One. It had all the essentials of a great tribute. Oh, and those pants with the cutouts were right on the money.
- Bilal Gives Performers a Run for Their Money
This man almost was the second best performer on the stage tonight. I mean his rendition of Prince’s “Beautiful Ones” just about took me out of here. I was sitting there watching him, and I was rocking back in forth excitement, ready to throw a shoe at him and say “you better sang boy.” (Yes all of that LOL!) I thought he was absolutely great. The voice was on point and the performance was definitely reminiscent of the late Prince. He left me wanting him to come back on stage do a Prince a two hour long Prince set. Not sure if he was replacing D’Angelo or not, and I don’t care. I just loved what Bilal did.
- Sheila E. Brought Down the House
When I learned that Prince passed away, one of the earliest thoughts in my mind was “Sheila E. must be a major part of any good tribute to this legend.” So imagine how perplexed I was with the Billboard Awards’ homage with Madonna. But when BET advertised for weeks that Sheila E. was headlining their tribute, I grew excited. And when it came down to her show closer, I was definitely pleased with what I saw. For decades she has been an absolute beast on the drums, and tonight was no exception. The way she was killing, gave me chills. Then to add to the already high energy performance, she switched to playing guitar, she slid across the stage, and gave us more than a simple two step. I’m sure Prince would have definitely put his stamp of approval on that number.
- Jesse Williams is Modern Social Justice
I’ve known for a while about the activism of this talented actor. It’s his call for social justice, and his role on Grey’s Anatomy, that have actually made me a fan of his for a couple of years. (Oh and I admit, it doesn’t hurt that he is easy on the eyes.) I don’t know if I’ve heard of a more charging and empowering acceptance speech for an award in recent history. His words served as an unapologetic reality check, a doable call to action, and an all-important demand for unrestrained freedom. This is a man that could have easily taken his time to speak about all the people he wanted to thank for his accomplishments. But instead, he was bold and courageous to speak the names of the fallen and charge all those within earshot to require better and more out of this life in the name of “liberty and justice for all.” Pure Brilliance.
- Beyoncé and Kendrick Kill the Opening
It should be no surprise that this is my top moment from the annual BET ceremony. As far as show openers go, the one put forth by these two is by far my favorite of any award show. First off, can we just talk about the visually artistic awesomeness on display? The attire and makeup of Bey and her dancers, the natural hair and cornrows, and the water. I’ve said this before, but there is something so powerful about seeing her as black woman dance in celebration of blackness, and freedom (both attained and strived for). Then adding the vocal element, Bey continued to live up to her reputation of perfection.
And thankfully Kendrick was there tonight to perform with Mrs. Knowles-Carter. He actually may be my favorite rapper to see perform live. There is something so prolific in the delivery of the intellect found in his verses that just speaks to me. He spits without gimmicks, hype men, and auto tune, and I absolutely love it. (Not shading any artists by the way). Then for him to kick in the water in his Timbs with Queen Bey. I was just awestruck.
Now before you get too mad because your favorite moment didn’t make the list, I do have a few honorable mentions. If your moment still isn’t here, well thanks for reading.
- Chloe X Halle proved they may be young, but their voices are definitely ready. I enjoyed their originality and overall musical talent.
- A big round of applause goes to Gabrielle Union. She most definitely was the best dressed tonight. That little black number she changed into was pretty great.
- Beyoncé just ran away with BET Awards, which she will receive via Mama Tina. She now has the most BET Awards of any man or woman.
- Hillary Clinton was reassured that she has an overwhelming majority of the black vote in November. There was a lot of calls for action to vote, and to vote for the right candidate. Which clearly isn’t Trump.