Best dressed for me at the BET Awards is Janelle Monae. Because before the show I would never have predicted that this would be her look. Not that it doesn’t suit her – look at her, of course it suits her. The bondage energy on top, the zigzag cut around the waist, the sheer skirt, her hair piled up in an oversized topknot, all of this is gorgeous.
And then it’s what she said, repping Pride on the BET stage:
“I’d like to give a special, special shoutout to Black women, to Black queer artists, to Black nonbinary artists. These artists making art on our own terms, owning our truths and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies, my body, and our decisions, my decision.”
And on that note:
That is the correct answer. But since I can’t find the full clip, it’s also important to note what came after the “f-ck you” to SCOTUS.
“I know we are celebrating us right now, as we should — we absolutely deserve to celebrate especially now. We must celebrate our art by protecting our right and our truths.”
Janelle is saying that the best way to honour art is to continue fighting for equal rights. It’s a beautifully succinct way to articulate that celebration does not have to separate from protest.
Jazmine Sullivan celebrated her win for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist (she’s won almost everything this year!) by advocating for reproductive rights too and reminding people that it’s an issue for EVERYONE, not just people with uteruses:
Jazmine Sullivan, speaking to men: "If you have ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decision of her life â€” terminating a pregnancy â€” you need to stand up." #BETAwards pic.twitter.com/LZAovW4wPd— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 27, 2022
And an emotional Latto, who was overwhelmed by her Best New Artist award, said during her acceptance speech that her win “is giving pro-choice and never giving a man policing my body”.
All of these women who used their voices and their platform at the BET Awards understand that the f-cksh-t that those five justices just pulled will disproportionately affect Black women, and that’s exactly why they had to say what they had to say on this night, for this audience, for their communities.