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Most Lit Moments at the 2016 BET Awards!

The hype surrounding this year’s BET Awards was like no other. Everyone was highly anticipating the the tribute to Prince, which promised to feature the likes of Sheila E., Janelle Monae and The Roots. The night also included a surprise opening performance from Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar, along with stirring renditions of Prince songs from the likes of Erykah Badu, Bilal and Jennifer Hudson.

In addition to performance, actor and activist, Jesse Williams, dropped a plethora of gems in his acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award.

Below, check out the most lit moments from the entertainment industry’s biggest awards show!

READ: BET Announces Prince Tribute Headliners on Singer’s 58th Birthday!

Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar give us “Freedom”

There were no teasers or initial reports Beyonce would be performing at the BET Awards, so when the show opened with dancers walking from the back of the theater, we were all wondering who was about to take the stage. Then Queen Bey appeared on stage and gave a stirring performance of “Freedom.”  Kendrick Lamar  soon joined her and he and Bey rocked the crowd like they always do.

 

Jesse Williams’ Humanitarian Award acceptance speech 

This year’s recipient of the Humanitarian Award, was actor and activist, Jessie Williams, who many know from his role on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” If you follow the former teacher on social media, you know he’s always discussing social issues such as police brutality and politics. He was one of the first people on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri when Mike Brown was shot in 2014, and he’s appeared on a plethora of news shows putting people in their place regarding issues affecting the Black community. His speech was filled with so many quotable moments, we’re including the transcript, along with the video.

He ended his speech saying, “Just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

“Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that video.
Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.

 

 

Prince tributes featuring Erykah Badu, The Roots, Bilal, Stevie Wonder, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, Janelle Monae and Sheila E. 

The Prince tributes were sprinkled throughout the show with the first coming from Erykah Badu and The Roots performing “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.” Bilal took the stage afterwards, and gave a stunning rendition of “The Beautiful Ones,” which would have made Prince himself nod with approval.

Next up, was Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly with a duet of “Take Me With You.” They were followed by Jennifer Hudson who brought the audience to their feet with “Purple Rain.”

Later on in the show, Janelle Monae paid tribute with performances of “Kiss,” “Delirious,” “Pop Life” and “I Would Die 4 U.”

Closing out the show, but taking the energy up several notches, was Sheila E. who was played the drums, danced and slid across the stage as she performed a medley of songs such as “Erotic City,” “You’ve Got the Look,” “Glamorous Life” and “Love Bazaar.” Joining her in the tribute was Prince’s ex-wife, Mayte Garcia, who danced on stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Pitchfork.com

Brittney Fennell

Brittney Fennell

Brittney is the Associate Editor of Jawbreaker and a writer who has goals to disrupt culture in ways unseen.