The dynamic duo, Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, the co-stars of Black-ish returned for the second go-round as hosts of the 2016 BET Awards.
Broadcasted live from Microsoft Theater in L.A, the program opened with dancers walking down the aisles to one of Martin Luther King’s speeches. As they reached the stage the big reveal was Beyonce. Beyonce and her crew walked, danced and splashed through water all over the stage as she sang Freedom. She was joined by Kendrick Lamar for this spectacular mix of water and fire. It was a massive stage production and a peek at Beyonce’s Formation Tour. Needless to say they delivered a fantastic show-opener for the 2016 BET Awards and got the first standing ovation of the evening.
Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson were up next and they took the stage in period costumes performing a parody of the Broadway play, Hamilton.
Tracee said she was so glad that BET had them back to host. And she marveled at Beyonce’s opening performance. Anthony Hamilton joined them but of course he’s the wrong Hamilton. Anthony thanked him and then introduced Taraji P. Henson.
Taraji also gave praise to Beyonce’s performance. She told the male audience that there are three things to remember about going to a Beyonce concert; #1 You are nothing more than a chaufeur, #2 Buy her anything she wants, #3 At one point get ready to walk around the venue when your woman is getting into the show, and don’t answer the phone because she may think it’s Becky with the good hair. Taraji was holding onto a baseball bat by her side. She did eventually announce the nominees for Best Group. Drake and Future won the Best Group award. Future was there to accept, but Drake was a no-show.
Tinashe was next and she introduced the rising star of the evening Bibi Bourelly who performed her song Sunshine.
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Terrence Jay was next to speak about voting and voting smart so we don’t end up like Brexit. After the nominees were announced for the Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, Terrence announced that Bryson Tiller was the winner. Bryson said thank you and also mentioned that this was his first award ever.
Anthony then introduced Desiigner who performed Panda.
The award for Best Actor was next and the BET Award went to Michael B. Jordon. He was not at the ceremony to accept.
Dave Chappelle was next. He came out to cheers. He talked about when we found out that Prince was dead. He talked a bit about this life and said, “We miss him dearly.”
The Roots, Erykah Badu and Bilal performed the first musical tribute to Prince. Bilal performed a wild rendition of ‘Baby Baby Baby,’ and the audience gave up another enthusiastic standing ovation.
Tracee came back and encouraged people to vote. She stumbled a bit, but still got her message across and said, “Welcome to the White House Hillary Clinton.”
She introduced her daughter on Black-ish to introduce Kenyatta Ruffin an incredible pilot doing good things with children. He received a rousing standing ovation.
Anthony came back to introduce Fat Joe, French Montana and Remy Ma who performed All the Way Up.
The cast of New Edition movie were next. Seven young men took the stage and talked about New Edition. They introduced themselves, mentioned the member of the group they play and some of them sang a little bit.
But big surprise, Bobby Brown came out and said he had to come out with one group he couldn’t be kicked out of … meaning his family. He came out with some of his kids. Bobby and the guys then presented the Best Actress Award.
Tarji P. Henson was the next winner. The guys gave her the Best Actress Award. She said, “I have to thank God first, the Lord.” She referenced getting out to vote as well and referred to the GOP candidate without saying his name.
Eight year old Hip Hop sensation, Miles Brown came out to announce the sports awards that Serena Williams and Stephan Curry received from the Army.
Alicia Keyes was the next performer. She appeared surrounded by keyboards and an acoustic guitar wearing a head wrap and sunglasses. Alicia performed he big hit, In Common.
Best New Artist
One of the evenings awkward moments came from Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri and Birdman when they came out together to announce the Best New Artist Award. Their delivery was a little rough, but after the nominees were announced they gave the award to Bryson Tiller, his second of the evening. During his acceptance speech he said, “Rest in peace Muhammad Ali.”
Prince Tribute Continues
The tribute to Prince continued with a quick throwback video of Prince performing with Stevie Wonder before Stevie came out with Tori Kelly to perform Take Me With You.
Then Jennifer Hudson came out to perform Purple Rain. The audience stood and waved their hands back and forth during her emotional performance. She continued singing as she left the stage.
Anthony and Tracee came back said, “Give it up for Stevie Wonder, Tori Kelly and Jennifer Hudson.”
Video of the Year
Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut were next for Video of the Year. After the nominees were announced they gave the BET Video of the Year Award to Beyonce. Her mother Tina Knowles came to the stage to accept. She said Beyonce had to get on a plane and go to a performance in London. But the BET Awards were very important to her and she hopes she makes her performance London. It was good to know why Beyonce wasn’t there anymore.
Tracee introduced sisters Chloe and Halle, Beyonce protégé’s. These young ladies have received a lot of press for their unique performances and original music.
Anthony then introduced Bryson Tiller to perform Exchange first and then Don’t. He had the audience on their feet.
Best Male Hip Hop Artist
The cast of Almost Christmas, Omar Epps, Gabrielle Union, Kimberly Elise and J.B. Smoove were the next presenters for Best Male Hip Hop Artist, and the award went to Drake. We know Drake was not there, so they accepted for him.
Prince Tribute Continues
Jamie Foxx came out with this youngest child and he continued the tribute to Prince. He mentioned Muhammad Ali as well. He asked the audience to stand up for Laila Ali as she took the stage. She asked everyone to sit down and said, “My father lived his life with conviction and purpose.” She got choked up a bit as she continued to talk about her father. She thanked BET and everyone for the honor.
The next performance was Maxwell. He stood under an umbrella as rain poured down on him while he sang his mega hit, Lake By the Ocean. He then sang, Nothing Compares 2 U in honor of Prince.
Anthony and Tracee brought out BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee to the stage. She spoke of gun violence and how easy it is for people to obtain weapons that are designed for mass killings.
She mentioned the sit-in spearheaded by Congressman John Lewis and said, “By sitting in they were standing up for good.” “Use your voice and vote.”
Debra Lee also awarded the Humanitarian Award to Greys Anatomy Jesse Williams, actor and activist.
Debra Lee had to talk over the cheers just to finish speaking to give him the award.
His acceptance speech was powerful and addressed the killings of young Black men and many other social issues. He left the room to a standing ovation and loud applause.
Fantasia was up next to honor another person doing going good things. This time it was Marcus Duke of Club Kids making a difference in his community.
Future was the next performer followed by Jussie Smollett as the next presenter. He introduced the performance by Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals.
Prince Tribute Continues
Tracee then introduced Janelle Monáe to continue the tribute to Prince. She sang, Delirious,
Kiss, Pop Life and I Would Die For You. She also wore butt-out pants in honor of Prince. And Anthony had to get a piece of that and came out with butt-out pants too.
Gospel Inspiration Award
The next BET Award was the Gospel Inspiration Award and the winner was Kirk Franklin. He was very emotional during his acceptance speech and said he was very humble.
Up next was a teaser video of the new film ‘The Birth of a Nation.’
Life Time Achievement Award
Spike Lee was next to honor Samuel Jackson. He said Jackson is one of the best actors on the planet. He said his films grossed over 4 billion dollars, but Spike brought it right down to the penny. Lee was followed by a video clip highlighting the career highs of Jackson. Spike then presented Samuel with the BET Life Time Achievement Award. Samuel said, “Please be seated, it’s not going to take long. I don’t have much t say.” He thanked God, and many other people he said he would not be there without. He had his aunt Edna, his real aunt in the audience and he credited her for lighting the spark in him and he had her stand up in the audience. He continued on quite a while, then thanked BET and Debra Lee when he ended.
Tracee introduced Usher next. He performed No Limit. He had a message against Trump on the back of his shirt, “Don’t Trump America,” and ended his performance with his back facing the audience.
The 2016 Coca Cola’s Viewers Choice winner of the evening was Beyonce. Tina Knowles returned to accept the award. She thanked the fans for supporting her daughter sense she was 15 years old. She also thanked her father for helping her with her career.
Prince Tribute Continues
The tribute to Prince continued with Shelia E. She killed the drums and got up and started playing another another set of drums when they started performing Erotic City. A Love Bizarre was next followed by Fabulous Life and Baby I’m a Star and she brought Jerome out, the famous sidekick from the Time. That was a great performance. Sheila E. and Mayte, Prince’s ex wife stood together and fought back their tears in the end.
After that incredible performance Anthony and Tracee said goodnight as the band continued to play A Love Bizarre.
It was another eventful year and the performances at the 2016 BET Awards were outstanding.
See you next year!