Kevin Winter/Getty
Kevin Winter/Getty
Kevin Winter/Getty

It’s one of the most anticipated and talked about annual award shows that everyone looks forward to. The 2016 BET Awards aired lived last night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. If you happened to miss any parts of the show, no worries we got you covered with some of the night’s biggest highlights and lit performances. That’s right, this year’s theme for the awards was #LIT and indeed the show was!

Let’s kick things off with the opening act. Known for being the Queen of surprises, this one took it to another level. Queen B herself, Beyoncepushed through at the BET Awards, opening the show with amazing African tribe dance breaks while standing in a giant pool of water. She performed her hit single “Freedom” and was joined by Kendrick Lamar.

Our favorite TV couple from the ABC hit comedy series “Black-ishTracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson returned to host the BET Awards for the second year in a row and kept the jokes coming all night.

Kevin Winter/Getty
Kevin Winter/Getty

One of the biggest highlights of the evening was BET’s 2016 Humanitarian Award recipient Jesse Williams, who gave the audience and viewers goosebumps as he dropped major gems about African American culture and police brutality. He reminded us that it’s time to wake up and stand up.

This award, this is not for me. 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. Yesterday would’ve been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday, so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television then going home to make a sandwich,he preached.

Jesse continued, “Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt. Freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but, you know what though, the hereafter is a hustle. And let’s get a couple of things straight, just a little sidenote, the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people than do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”

Of course, the stage was lit and on fire with amazing performances throughout the night. New Hip-hop artist Desiigner electrified the stage with his banger “Panda,” and all girl Remy Ma was “All the Way Up” as she returned to the stage with Fat Joe and French Montana.

Trap Soul singer Bryson Tiller swooned the ladies with his hits “Don’t” and “Exchange,” while Usher proved that he still has it performing “No Limit” ft. Young Thug. He also made a political statement by wearing a jacket that read “Don’t Trump America.”

Future hit the stage to perform “Purple Reign.”

But the moment everyone was talking about and looking forward to was the BET tribute to Prince. Last month, BET threw a little shade towards the Billboard Awards after Madonna gave a tribute to Prince.

So did BET live up to their promise? Yes, they did! The network switched things up this year and instead of having one main tribute performance for the night, BET decided to have several tribute performances throughout the whole evening!

Neo Soul singers Erykah Badu, Maxwell, Bilal and The Roots gave their soulful renditions of “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” and “The Beautiful Ones.”

Jennifer Hudson slayed the audience with her amazing rendition of “Purple Rain” using her powerful pipes to hit some very high ranges. Accompanying her on stage were singers Tori Kelly and the great Stevie Wonder also a part of the tribute singing “Take Me with U.”

Next up was our girl Janelle Monae as she performed a classic up-tempo melody of Prince’s hit songs “Delirious” “Kiss” “Pop Life” and “I Would Die 4 U” with a dance rendition from the hit film Purple Rain.

And finally, the big finale of the night ended with longtime Prince collaborator and world class drummer Sheila E., performing a nearly 10-minute tribute. She was accompanied on stage with members of her band and several of Prince’s backup singers. Some of the hit songs featured in her tribute were “Housequake,” “Erotic City,” “Lets Go Crazy” and more. Sheila was decked out in a white sequence outfit and rocked on a sparkly purple guitar as she concluded her tribute with “Baby I’m a Star.”

Some of the major winners of the evening included Beyonce and Bryson Tiller for best Male/Female R&B artist. Take a complete look at the winners here!

It truly was a great night. Congratulations to all the winners and recipients on your awards!

Written By: Tiffany Hercules

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