Beyoncé said voting in the upcoming election could help end a “racist and unequal system" in America
29 June 2020

Go vote! Beyoncé’s message as she accepts humanitarian award at BET Awards

Beyoncé used her platform while accepting the BET humanitarian award to relay a direct appeal to viewers: Go vote.

“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” said the superstar singer at the BET Awards, which celebrated its 20 years of highlighting excellence in Black-led entertainment. 

But the ceremony, filmed virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, kept much of its focus on topics such as systematic racism and equal rights.

Beyoncé was honored for her philanthropic work and relief efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. She said voting in the upcoming election was the way to end a “racist and unequal system” in America.

“I’m encouraging you to take action,” she said following an introduction by former first lady Michelle Obama.

The singer dedicated her award to the Black Lives Matter movement, and encouraged activists to continue to push forward.

“We have to vote like our lives depend on it, because it does,” she said.

Here are some additional highlights from the three-hour show broadcast on CBS, BET and BET Her:

Rapper DaBaby lay on the pavement while an actor playing a police officer pressed his knee on the rapper’s neck.

The reenactment at the beginning of the multi-platinum rapper's performance offered a glimpse into the last moments of the life of George Floyd, killed by Minneapolis police last month. DaBaby rapped a verse from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit song “Rockstar” with Roddy Ricch at the awards.

While holding a baseball bat, DaBaby then stood on a stage behind a group of people who had their fists raised high while others held “Black Lives Matter” signs.

His performance also featured images from protests, a reflection of the current world in the wake of Floyd’s death and the deaths of others, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

It didn’t take long for host Amanda Seales to touch on equal rights for African Americans.

In a stirring monologue, Seales said she was chosen to host the show because she’s been “telling y’all everybody’s racist.” She touched on several topics including the death of Breonna Taylor, racial equality and took a jab at actor Terry Crews who faced recent backlash for his “Black supremacy” comment.

Seales joked she would rather talk about issues other than race, but “racism always beats me to it.”

Her monologue came after an all-star performance of Public Enemy’s 1989 anthem “Fight the Power.” The performance featured group members Chuck D and Flavor Flav along with Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody and YG — who added lyrics to the song and name-dropped Taylor.

The 12-year-old sensation Keedron Bryant also performed in a cappella “I Just Wanna Live,” a song about being a young black man that earned him a record deal.

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