The 2021 BET Awards aired Sunday (June 27) and the show’s theme, the Year of the Black Woman, was pretty evident throughout. Actress Taraji P. Henson hosted the ceremony, and paid homage to different Black women icons, from Tina Turner, Erykah Badu, to Esther Jones –– the Black woman who inspired the popular "Betty Boop" character of the 1930s –– in each wardrobe change.
The ceremony included a live audience, after the pandemic caused the network to take the show completely virtually last year. Like every BET Awards show, audiences everywhere got to see some huge performances, big announcements, and paid tribute to legends here and those we’ve lost.
Here, we take a look at some of the night’s biggest moments.
Cardi B Reveals She's Expecting Second Child
Lauren London honors Darnella Fraizer
During the show, Lauren London gave recognition to Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed the murder of George Floyd. As the actress said in her remarks, Frazier, who was just 17 years old at the time, captured the brutality that Floyd endured that day, prompting global protests and calls for accountability. Frazier was also recently bestowed an honorary Pulitzer Prize for her actions.
Tyler the Creator Blows Us Away
Tyler the Creator kicked up the wind in a performance of "LumberJack" from his newest album, Call Me If You Get Lost. The rapper really blew the set away while giving a taste of his latest project. Check out the performance here.
Auntie Maxine Reclaimed Her Time, Jazmine Sullivan Did Too
Rep. Maxine Waters started Jazmine Sullivan’s performance of the night. Waters gave a brief rendition of her famous “reclaiming my time” before the singing powerhouse gave us a velvety performance of her song "Tragic." Later, Ari Lennox joined the "Pick Up Your Feelings" singer for an electrifying live performance of their duet "On It."
Lil Nas X Delivers Spicy Kiss To End Performance
Lil Nas X performed his single "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" , giving choreography, costumes, and the chart-topping song all at the same time. The rapper, always a participatory artist in his performances, ended his set with a spicy kiss that drew excited applause from the crowd and online. Check it out here.
Queen Latifah Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
A “Swiss Army knife” of entertainment, Queen Latifah was honored with the Lifetime Achievement BET Award this year. The rapper- singer-actress-producer was honored with a performance of her award-winning hits Ladies First and U.N.I.T.Y. by some women legends in hip hop: MC Lyte, Rapsody, Lil’ Kim and Monie Love. The Queen delivered a moving speech, thanking the network for their belief in Black artists, acknowledging her late mother, Rita Owens, and giving us a few bars. Take a look at the performance here.
Ashanti Reveals She’s Getting a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Ashanti revealed she would be a part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2022. The singer-songwriter shared the news while announcing an award with DJ Cassidy, who congratulated her on the honor. Since storming the charts in the early 2000s, Ashanti has sold over 15 million albums, and has earned eight Billboard Awards, multiple Grammy Awards, and the accolades could go on. Congratulations!
Legends Join Together to Pay Tribute to DMX
Method Man, Swizz Beats, Busta Rhymes, The Lox, Michael K. Williams, and Griselda joined together to honor the late DMX in a musical tribute. The entertainers ran through some of the late icon’s hits, closing out the dedication with a recording of a prayer the late rapper gave. Check out the tribute below.
For a complete winner's list of the night, click here.