The BET Awards, also known as “Culture’s Biggest Night”, are dedicated to highlighting cultural and artistic diversity within the Black community and wider African diaspora. Many examples of this have been broadcast for the world to see: host Taraji P. Henson shouts from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (specifically Howard University in honor of fellow alum Diddy, honored last night’s lifetime achievement award); a ballroom-inspired show led by Posie‘s Billy Porter (in a tight Rick Owens dress); the fusion of old and new school sounds, as evidenced by collaborations by Ella Mai and Babyface, plus Latto and Mariah Carey; and a consistent stream of praise for musicians from the African continent, such as Nigeria’s Themes and Fireboy DML.
However, some moments were only visible on the red carpet and from inside the Microsoft theater. Here are eight trends The Hollywood Reporter noticed on the ground at the show.
Live behind-the-scenes segments
Before the show, singer Brent Faiyaz and comedian / internet personality Vena E. were two of several people who recorded exclusive content for the broadcast on Sunday while everyone swarmed the red carpet. Elsewhere behind the scenes, TV personality Tami Roman presented the Win-Cam behind the scenes and interviewed Latto, Billy Porter, Jazmine Sullivan, KeKe Palmer, Brandy, Kirk Franklin, Tems, Doechii and others.
In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to Roe v. Wade, several people have made passionate comments about their views on a woman’s right to choose – in addition to presenter Janelle Monáe, who raised a middle finger at the US Supreme Court during the program.
Doechii, who performed her female empowerment songs Persuasive and Crazy, said on the red carpet: “This is a sad time for women, this is a sad time for our nation. It should not even be a discussion; these are our bodies. ”
And Tami Roman shared her own personal experience: “This Roe vs. Wade thing strikes me differently because in 1993 I made the decision to end my pregnancy and I was thankful that I had that option. I think people miss the point, it’s not about being pro-life and it’s not about being pro-choice, it’s about this country giving people the freedom to make decisions and be what they are. even if they want to be. ”
When Latto won the award for best new artist, she tearfully accepted it and said, “It gives boss bitch … it gives pro choice.”
Victoria Monet expressed frustrations. “I just want a deeper understanding of how we can fix it, because if it’s the system, it’s broken,” she said. “I want to be solution-based … I just want to know how we get back to being free. I just hope for a better world for my daughter than that.”
Eva Marcille added: “I do not know how to explain to me [8-year-old] daughter… her body is not hair and her own choice. And how she will have to take care of herself in a world that does not see her as an equal. ”
The color block trend
Although a few stars made statements in dramatic black gowns (Tems, Kandi Burruss, Ari Lennox), the prevailing fashion trend was daring color blocking. Men as well as women chose bright, monochromatic outfits this summer: Kirk Franklin wore a kelly green shirt, Jaquees wore an Estro solid lime green suit with matching Balenciaga shades, Idris Elba wore mustard pants and a cream jacket, and the City Girls shone in solids (Careesha in all red, JT in all white). Other popular colors included bubble gum pink, royal blue, marigold, lavender and neon yellow.
Connection through sweat
The red carpet, which roughly held PT from 14:30 to 16:30, was bright and warm – reaching 85 degrees under direct sunlight. Everyone on the mat was saddened by the sweat by their makeup (pro-tip: Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty adjusting powder turned out to be the secret to keeping a matte face) and overheated in their suits. Every few minutes, people grabbed Dasani water bottles from strategically placed ice buckets and set out to stay cool. And the wisest among us brought small, portable fans to mimic a breeze.
Last Minute Red Carpet Shuffle
A few entertainment artists, including City Girls, Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya and Diddy, did not have time to stop for many interviews as they raced down the ruby red runway shortly before the show was to begin in the Microsoft Theater.
Excitement from the stage
At the end of each performance, the talent – and their singers and dancers – ran behind the stage and could be heard audibly and immediately to celebrate the moment from where the audience sat. The screams and cheers were perhaps the loudest after Jack Harlow’s performance with a surprise performance by Brandy – “Yasss!” and “We did it!” – but also to Muni Long, and Latto and Mariah Carey.
Commercial Break Photo Ops
During each break in the show, audience members climbed out of their chairs to take selfies, give hugs to familiar faces and chat about what happened and what was to come (everyone was looking forward to the Bad Boy Tribute show, which included Diddy himself and some of the roster’s biggest hits: Jodeci, Mary J Blige, Lil Kim, Shyne, Busta Rhymes, Faith Evans). As Connie Orlando, BET’s CEO of special offers, music programming, music strategy and news before the program, said: “This is a family reunion.”
The host’s rapid changes
Taraji P. Henson’s hair and outfit changes were so frequent that it was hard to keep track of how much she had. Although some moments in the show gave her longer pauses to rediscover her appearance, many of them required 100 meters of speed; her sprint behind the stage after wearing a rose pattern jumpsuit was particularly impressive.
Henson’s level of spontaneous ingenuity was predicted on the mat by Will Packer: “T’s kind of built for this, because you never know what she’s going to do. She is so talented, she can do anything. ”