Beyoncé at 2020 BET Awards
Photo: BET Awards 2020/Getty Images
Watch Beyoncé Dedicate BET 2020 Humanitarian Award To Those "Marching & Fighting For Change"
Yesterday, June 28, Beyoncé joined the virtual presentation of the 2020 BET Awards, to accept the Humanitarian Award and offer a powerful speech. The seven-and-a-half-minute segment, which you can view in full below, also included former First Lady Michelle Obama, who presented the award and a video detailing the many philanthropic initiatives the honoree has led with her BeyGOOD Foundation and more.
"She's always turning up, looking out and making us a little bit better, a little more fierce and she's doing it all while staying devoted to her children and the loved ones she holds dear," Obama said. "You inspire me, you inspire all of us."
Obama's speech was followed by the video detailing the extensive work Queen Bey has done giving back in her hometown of Houston and beyond. Beyoncé and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, through their nonprofits, collectively donated $6 million to various orgs fighting COVID-19 and supporting mental health, both focused on communities of color. BeyGood's coronavirus work helped open a wing at Houston Memorial Hospital, as well as offer mobile testing and food supplies. It also supported the National Alliance On Mental Health for their on the ground work supporting communities of color in New York, New Orleans, Houston and Detroit.
In the video, we heard from Tina Knowles-Lawson, Treyvon Martin's mother, the director of BeyGOOD, Homecoming Scholarship recipients and others. The scholarships are given to Black students in the U.S., especially those going to HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities). In partnership Global Citizen and Tyler Perry, BeyGOOD has also launched fellowship programs in Africa to support young people there.
Beyoncé was up next, looking stunning with natural makeup, a diamond choker and strapless black dress. She used her speech to celebrate those taking action in protests around the country, encouraging everyone to not give up and to please vote.
"I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of sisters out there, inspiring me, marching and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard and you're proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain. Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote. I'm encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system.
We have to continue to do this together, continue to fight for each other and lift each other up, because there are people banking on us staying at home during local elections and primaries happening in states across the country. We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does. So please continue to be the change you want to see."
Her poignant words were followed by the trailer for her upcoming Disney+ film, Black Is King, featuring music from her 2019 Lion King: The Gift album. During the show, the "Formation" singer also earned the BET Her Award for "Brown Skin Girl," a track featuring daughter Blue Ivy Carter, Wizkid and Saint Jhn from the The Gift album.
The broadcast was filled with other powerful moments, including Public Enemy opening the show with a 2020 update on their still pertinent 1989 classic "Fight The Power," with support from Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody, YG and more. Another moving performance critiquing police brutality came from DaBaby and Roddy Ricch rapping "Rockstar," with DaBaby beginning the set on the ground as a white man dressed as a police officer kneeled on his neck, evoking the brutal killing of George Floyd by Derek Chuavin.
Alicia Keys delivered the first-ever live performance of her touching new track "Perfect Way To Die," Jennifer Hudson brought chills with Nina Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted & Black" and Anderson .Paak and Jay Rock delivering "Lockdown," among other epic musical moments. Watch more via BET's YouTube here.