The 2020 BET Awards have roundly been acclaimed as a tremendous success. A technological marvel, viewers were treated to a nearly seamless show hosted by comedian and Insecure star Amanda Seales and featuring some of the most iconic figures in music and entertainment. Striking a balance between highlighting the current American social climate and celebrating the network’s 40 years on the air while overcoming COVID 19, BET maximized on a groundbreaking simulcast agreement with CBS by attracting 3.7 Million viewers and delivering a show people will be talking about for ages.
Kicked off by a monologue from host Amanda Diva, the ceremony proceeded with 12-year-old gospel singer Keedron Bryant belting out his viral ballad, “I Just Wanna Live” which then cascaded into an immensely powerful cypher based around Public Enemy’s 1989 protest anthem “Fight The Power” that featured Nas, Rapsody, YG, and Black Thought as well as a cinematic depiction of recent protests.
The show employed a number of different production styles for its live performances, ranging from traditional stage shows with advanced lighting to full-on performance short films. Megan Thee Stallion’s Mad Max inspired performance of her new single “Girls In The Hood” and her bonafide smash “Savage” was a shining achievement among spirited performances by DaBaby, Roddy Ricch, John Legend, Chloe x Halle, Summer Walker and Usher, and Kane Brown and John McReynolds among a great number of others.
The words and the concept of Black Lives Matter were ever-present throughout the show. Whether on artists’ clothing, in various segments, or Beyonce’s Humanitarian Award speech, it is clear that this is a year like none other and that black artists and institutions are on the vanguard of social and technological change.
Highlights from this year’s show are available on BET’s YouTube Channel.