The standards for this year’s BET Awards were set a bit high given their promise to deliver a stellar Prince tribute. Thankfully, this year’s awards exceeded expectations thanks to a few unforgettable moments.
Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar are a tough acts to follow individually. So when these two stars collided for the performance of their joint track “Freedom,” it was a moment we couldn’t stop reeling over. The two stars danced on water and had the whole audience singing along.
We knew the Prince tributes would be off the hook, but damn Bilal! The soul singer and songwriter was tapped to bring a sexy side to collection of Prince tributes, and boy did he ever!
The cast of the upcoming New Edition biopic, along with Bobby Brown, presented the Best Actress award to Taraji P. Henson for her role in Empire. The actress took the political route in her speech, delicately urging the audience to vote and keep Trump out of the White House (we’re with you girl!)
Although Beyonce had to jet for an upcoming Formation tour stop in London, her mama Tina Knowles proudly accepted the “Video of the Year” and “Viewer’s Choice” awards. The fashion designer and motivational speaker thanked BET and the fans who’ve been rocked with her daughter since she was 15. Time flies!
Bryson Tiller’s panty-melting performance clearly had Fantasia in rapture. Cue the memes!
But the most talked-about moment of the night was definitely Jesse Williams’ amazing speech for his Humanitarian Award, which you can read in full here. It’s one for the ages.
Janelle Monae showed us how a real Prince tribute should be done. The Wonderland queen came correct, even down to the assless chaps. Not one to be outdone, host Anthony Anderson bared his own pair of fake buns and gave Janelle a run for her money.
Spike Lee presented his longtime colleague Samuel L. Jackson with the Lifetime Achievement Award. It was a family affair as Samuel pointed out his many loved ones in the audience while reflecting on his astounding 25 years in the game.
Sheila E‘s Prince tribute performance was pure flames, quickly shutting down any talk that she wasn’t up to the task.
All in all, it was one of the best BET Awards in recent memory. Oh yeah, and they handed out a few statues as well. Beyoncé, Drake and Bryson Tiller all racked up wins! Here’s a full list of the winners.