It’s a wrap for the much anticipated 2016 BET Awards, and they did not disappoint! From Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar’s thrilling opener, Jesse Williams’ remarkable and truthful speech, and of course, the tribute and celebration for the life of Prince! Let’s get into my favorite moments of the night!
As promised, BET took care of us after Madonna’s depressing tribute at the Billboard Awards, which BET threw major shade after her performance.
With a performance from Erykah Badu, who sang the album cut from “Sign ‘O the Times,” entitled, “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker,” along with backing from The Roots. Bilal was also there and sang the Prince ballad, “The Beautiful Ones” in the most entertaining and Princely way possible. From his falsetto and the iconic Prince screams, Bilal did a performance that would surely make The Purple One proud! (*sn* check out Bilal’s hilarious stories on his encounters with Prince). There was also a duet between Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly, who sang “Take Me With You.”
Next, was Maxwell who after singing his hit single, “Lake By the Ocean,” did his own rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” in which Maxwell changed the lyrics to praise and honor Prince’s influence and trendsetting ways to music.
Not a dry eye was in the audience during Jennifer Hudson’s gospel-influenced rendition of Purple Rain. To be honest, I preferred Fantasia to sing because she always does an excellent job with it, but Jennifer Hudson didn’t do too bad! She actually did a great job singing it true Jennifer Hudson fashion and not Prince’s way!
I absolutely adored Janelle Monae and Sheila E.’s electrifying performances! Monae did a four-song medley which included dance tracks, ‘Delirious,’ ‘Kiss,’ ‘Pop Life’ and ‘I Would Die 4 U.’ The Electric Lady did a fantastic job channeling her inner Prince (including the assless chaps that Prince is well known for in his younger days) while still including her signature style that makes her different than other artists.
Now, let’s get into the most electrifying performance of the night! Sheila E. tore down the house! The singer and percussionist also did a medley of songs such as ‘Housequake,’ ‘Erotic City,’ U Got the Look,’ A Love Bizzare,’ ‘The Glamorous Life’ and ‘Baby I’m a Star.’ This woman is 58 years old and was the most energetic person on stage!
It was great to see Prince’s NPG background singers which included Shelby J and Liv Warfield as well as the horn section. It was also extra special for Prince’s ex-wife and dancer, Mayte, to make an appearance and add some choreography; the always entertaining, Jerome Benton, from The Time and Prince’s co-star and sidekick from ‘Under the Cherry Moon’ joined the stage and showed off his dance moves. What an unforgettable performance!
For some odd reason, I kept waiting to for the camera to pan to him sitting in the audience and enjoying the performances but sadly, watching the performances made me ultimately realize that Prince is gone! Still, this tribute was a great sendoff and BET did an excellent job! Prince would be proud!
*SN* Seeing Dave Chappelle on that stage to introduce the Prince Tribute was so bittersweet!
My other favorite moments were, of course, Beyonce’s fiery opening performance of ‘Freedom,’ which featured Kendrick Lamar and tons of water on the stage!
Actor and activist, Jesse Williams, was honored with the Humanitarian Award for his black activism and delivered the realist speech that EVERYONE needed to hear. You really have to listen and process what Williams says and hopefully others (including myself) continue to take action against the injustices that many of us in the Black community continue to face.
So proud to see Anderson .Paak makes his BET debut with a great performance of his single, ‘Come Down.’ I loved seeing everyone in the audience bobbing their heads and enjoying the music! .Paak puts on a great live show, which I got the opportunity to catch him a few weeks ago in Louisville, KY!
— REVOLT (@revolttv) June 27, 2016
Welp, those were my favorite moments of the 2015 BET Awards! The rest of the show was very disappointing to me, (*ahem* Usher & Alicia Keys), there was no tribute to Natalie Cole, Phife Dawg or Maurice White, and a lot of the jokes and skits were very corny. Hopefully, BET continues to improve its writing team in the future. Heck, they could use #BlackTwitter or #AwardShowTwitter for its show; that’ll be a guaranteed success!
Until next year!