Beyonce Takes Home Four Gongs at BET Awards
Beyonce was the big winner at the BET Awards on Sunday night, taking home four gongs. The 34-year-old singer claimed the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist award, as well as the prestigious gong for Video of the Year for “Formation.” Her hit also earned her the Centric Award, while Beyonce completed her haul by taking home the Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice award during the event at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.
The stunning singer wowed audience members by opening the show with a performance of her track “Freedom,” from her hit album Lemonade. Her mother took to the stage to pick up the Video of the Year award on behalf of Beyonce, who had already jetted back tot he U.K. to continue with her Formation tour as soon as she finished her performance. Drake also enjoyed a successful evening at the awards ceremony, winning three awards. As well as being named Best Male Hip Hop Artist, the 29-year-old took home Best Group alongside Future and Best Collaboration for “Work,” his track with Rihanna. The other major music categories saw Nicki Minaj honored with the Best Female Hip Hop Artist award and Bryson Tiller named Best Male R&B/Pop Artist. Screen stars recognized at the annual awards ceremony included Empire star Taraji P. Henson, who was named Best Actress, and Creed heartthrob Michael B. Jordan, who got the Best Actor gong. Straight Outta Compton was named Best Movie, while Samuel L. Jackson received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams was presented with the Humanitarian Award for his activism and philanthropic efforts, and stunned the star-studded audience with his impassioned speech. “This award is not for me,” he said. “This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. It’s kinda basic mathematics: the more we learn about who we are and how we got here the more we will mobilize. This award is also for the black women in particular who have spent their lives nurturing everyone before themselves – we can and will do better for you. Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.” Williams continued to comment on the frequent shooting crimes in the U.S., which have led to the deaths of Tamir Rice in 2014 when he was just 12 years old, among others. He earned a standing ovation for his words, with Jackson later commenting he hadn’t heard a speech like Williams’ since the 1960’s. The full list of winners at the BET Awards 2016 is as follows: Best Male Hip Hop Artist – Drake Best Female Hip Hop Artist – Nicki Minaj Best Female R&B/Pop Artist – Beyonce Best Male R&B/Pop Artist – Bryson Tiller Best Group – Drake & Future Best New Artist – Bryson Tiller Best Collaboration – Rihanna feat. Drake, “Work” Video of the Year – Beyonce, “Formation” Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award – Kirk Franklin YoungStars Award – Amandla Stenberg Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice – Beyonce Centric Award – Beyonce, “Formation” Video Director of the Year – Director X Best Actor – Michael B. Jordan Best Actress – Taraji P. Henson Best Movie – Straight Outta Compton Sportswoman of the Year – Serena Williams Sportsman of the Year – Stephen Curry Humanitarian Award – Jesse Williams Lifetime Achievement – Samuel L. Jackson Best International Act, U.K. – Skepta Best International Act, Africa – Wizkid (Nigeria)