The BET Awards 2016 were held on Sunday at the Microsoft Theatre in L.A. Despite the losses, triumphs and controversies during the previous year, the latest edition of the BET awards remained faithful to its own history of being a forum that offers constructive social commentary.
One of the famous black artists, Prince had died recently. Another Black icon, Bernie Worrell also passed away on Friday. These two events and several other losses in the past were enough to cast an introspective shadow over the mood; however, the event did manage to become loss sober so that it could provide some fun to the audience.
BET Awards were kicked off with a great performance of ‘Formation’ by Beyoncé and Lamar. The dancers used a pool of water on the stage. Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis co-hosted the event in period dressing pertaining to the 18th century.
Of course, it was very tempting; the telecast managed to resist it and did not isolate a tribute to the late Prince in a single segment. Rather, the tributes to ‘The Purple One’ were made organic parts of the entire event.
The roots and Erykah Badu performed a version of ‘The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.’ Bilal did a rendition of ‘The Beautiful Ones.’ After that a newcomer, Tori Kelly performed ‘Take Me with U’ with veteran Stevie Wonder, and Janelle Monae did a medley of Price that included ‘Kiss’, ‘Delirious’, and ‘I would Die 4 u.’ In a very moving performance, Jennifer Hudson sang ‘Purple Rain’ with Stevie Wonder.
Jamie Foxx is one of those actors who personally has had a meeting with both Muhammad Ali and Prince. The former died in the beginning of this year after having fought a losing battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Foxx offered a personal tribute to the champion who, according to Foxx, has helped shaped the lives of so many people. Foxx introduced Laila Ali the daughter of Muhammad Ali. Laila said that if her father was here, he would have asked for prayer for all of mankind rather than his own family.
Jesse Williams, who plays the role of Dr. Jackson Avery in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, was given the humanitarian award who accepted it with an impassioned speech.
In another of the night’s more spiritually galvanizing moments, Jesse Williams, who portrays Dr. Jackson Avery in ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” accepted the Humanitarian Award, and made an impassioned speech.
Samuel L. Jackson was introduced by director Spike Lee. The former was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for a career spanning more than four decades.