The 2020 BET Awards, held virtually, was one of my favourite BET Awards in many years; things may be upside down right now, but Black people continue to shine. Hosted by Amanda Seales, with her usual humour and authenticity, the show promised to be “Black Black” and showcasing the creativity of Blackness, the historical relevance of BET and its place in the culture, all in the context of a “global uprising against racial discrimination”. Amanda told PEOPLE:
"I was more so just keenly aware of the importance of this time. I need to be thoughtful and I always am, but really making sure that I'm not taking anything for granted in terms of what this stage means at this time," she explains. "When I say 'at this time' I don't just mean about the uprising but about the fact that BET is celebrating 40 years. It's the 20-year anniversary of the BET Awards itself. So all of these things converging really is not something I take lightly and I'm looking forward to stepping into those shoes with grace."
On her aesthetic for the awards, she stressed the importance shining a light on the uniqueness of Black creatives:
"We always do but we're making a point of saying it out loud and putting that center stage. My outfits are definitely going to be reflective of iconic moments in Black style. We really made a point of being thoughtful about every element of this show and understanding how important it is that we are really committed to amplifying Black creatives and Black business and Black artists.”
It was a great message, and reminded me of initiatives like the 15 Per Cent Pledge, that encourages retailers to commit to 15% of products on shelves be from Black-owned businesses.
Supporting those messages were the great performances. Lil Wayne performed his Kobe Bryant track, with an extra verse. It was beautiful, he was rapping like the old Wayne, paying tribute to Kobe, saying “this is Black entertainment”, “this is Black power status”, and ended it with “Black Lives Matter, facts.”
Chloe x Halle then delivered a with a haunting and addictive rendition of “Forgive Me”, followed by “Do It”, ending with a split screen. These women are pure perfection; I have no idea how this was just as captivating as the epic “Forgive Me” video.
And Megan Thee Stallion simply bodied her performance, period.
All of these artists and also Lizzo, Roddie Ricch, DaBaby were trending on social media all night. To go back to Lainey’s intro then, the audience is there. On a legacy network platform, the audience has been waiting and the audience showed up.