DMX, Chadwick Boseman, Cicely Tyson and more stars were honored at the 2021 BET Awards’ In Memoriam segment. After a virtual ceremony in 2020, this year’s awards show was held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and celebrated Black culture in full force.
The iconic show, hosted by Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, filmmaker, and philanthropist Taraji P. Henson, aired live with a fully vaccinated audience.
In a statement ahead of this year’s show, Henson said it would be something “unlike anything we have ever seen before.” The ceremony also aimed to especially highlight Black women.
This year’s extraordinary show highlighted the absolute best in entertainment and culture with stunning performances and appearances by the biggest names across television, film, and music.
“For more than 20 years, the BET Awards have been a celebration of Black creativity, art and excellence,” Henson said. “Returning live, this year’s show will be unlike anything we have ever seen before, and I am honored to be sharing the stage with so many powerful and prolific women in music and entertainment. The BET Awards will once again be at the forefront of Black culture.”
Kirk Franklin and Lil Baby opened the show with a spirited performance of their hit song, We Win from the Space Jam: A New Legacy Official Soundtrack.
Migos set the stage on fire with their performances of Straightenin, and Type Shit with Cardi B who gave the audience a mic-drop worthy performance and exclusive pregnancy reveal.
H.E.R. soared with an electrifying rendition of her triumphant anthem, “We Made It,” which began with her drumming while suspended in mid-air and was followed by an unforgettable guitar solo.
Moneybagg Yo took to the stage for lively performances of “Wockesha” and “Time Today.”
DaBaby took the stage with a phenomenal performance of “Ball If I Want To” featuring theatrics including dancers, acrobats, and more.
While highlighting the accomplishments of today’s artists, the Taraji P. Henson hosted show also took a moment to pay tribute to those Hollywood has lost. DMX, who passed away at age 50 in April, was tributed in a segment curated by Swizz Beatz, who had a longstanding friendship with the late musician. Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Method Man and Griselda also performed during the tribute, which featured a special appearance by Michael K. Williams.
The segment celebrated DMX from his early beginnings with iconic hip hop label, Ruff Ryders, to his latest work, and included a new song from DMX’s posthumous album, EXODUS.
Boseman, who died last August at age 43 after a battle with colon cancer, was honored during the In Memoriam segment.
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Among those included were Shock G, Johnny Nash, Anthony Chisolm, MF Doom, Bert Belasco, Carol Sutton, Charley Pride, Hank Aaron, Mary Wilson, Clarence Williams III, Bunny Wailer, Black Rob, Paul Mooney, Douglas Turner Wright, Gale Sayers, Natalie Desselle-Reid, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Leon Spinks and Reggie Warren.
Pop Smoke, who died in February 2020, was tributed at the BET Hip Hop Awards in October.
“The BET AWARDS have yet again proven to be culture’s biggest night,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET. “From the amazing talent, extraordinary creativity, and performances, and our incredible live vaccinated audience, the energy of the night was unmatched and delivered some of the most buzzworthy moments of 2021! Throughout any circumstance, whether it be virtual, live, or whatever comes next, BET will continue to elevate the standard of awards shows.”
Here is a list of all Winners Below:
In addition to all of these must-see moments, the complete list of winners for The “BET AWARDS” 2021 can be found below:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Heaux Tales – Jazmine Sullivan
Cardi B Feat. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
BEST FEMALE R&B/POP ARTIST
BEST MALE R&B/POP ARTIST
BEST NEW ARTIST
Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic
VIEWER’S CHOICE: BEST NEW INTERNATIONAL ACT
Bree Runway (UK)
Megan Thee Stallion Ft. Beyoncé “Savage Remix”
BEST FEMALE HIP HOP ARTIST
Megan Thee Stallion
BEST MALE HIP HOP ARTIST
DR. BOBBY JONES BEST GOSPEL/INSPIRATIONAL AWARD
Kirk Franklin – “Strong God”
BET HER AWARD
SZA – “Good Days”
BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT
Burna Boy (Nigeria)
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Cardi B Feat. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars and Florent Déchard
Judas and the Black Messiah
SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR