Check It Out: How BET pulled off the awards show we all needed

in Slither News+

The BET Awards have always showcased Black America's entertainment and culture, but, amid a global pandemic and racial justice movement, this year was different.

Jesse Collins served as executive producer for Sunday's BET Awards, held virtually due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Opening with a rousing remix of the Public Enemy hit "Fight the Power and ending with a moving rendition of "Something Has to Break" from gospel artists Kierra Sheard and Karen Clark-Sheard, the BET Awards hit a note for every mood suited to the times in which we are living.
"Everybody in their own creative way made a statement," said Collins. "They made a statement that change needed to happen. We always want the show to reflect what the culture is feeling and as best we can to summarize it into a three-hour broadcast. Everybody stepped up."
Collins, who is also founder and chief executive officer of Jesse Collins Entertainment, said there was collaboration between the artists and the show to produce resonant performances.
DaBaby, with his face pressed against the ground as an officer's knee crippled his neck - replicating the last moments of Floyd's life - rapped a verse from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit song "Rockstar." His performance also featured images from protests, a reflection of the current world in the wake of Floyd's death and the death of others, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
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Twelve-year-old sensation Keedron Bryant, who turned heads on social media with his passionate performance about being a young black man in today's world, started the show with an a cappella performance of his poignant song "I Just Wanna Live," which earned him a record deal. That was followed by an all-star performance of Public Enemy's 1989 anthem "Fight the Power," featuring Nas, black Thought, Rapsody and YG adding new lyrics to the song, even namedropping Taylor and others.

Michelle Obama highlighted Beyoncé's commitment to the black community before presenting her with the humanitarian award, saying, "You can see it in everything she does, from her music that gives voice to black joy and black pain, to her activism that demands justice for black lives."

Beyoncé used her speech to encourage viewers to vote "like our life depends on it" in the upcoming election. "Because it does"!


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