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Last night, the Microsoft Theater hosted the hottest annual star studded event better yet known as the 2018 BET Awards. Celebrities gathered together to celebrate black excellence while simultaneously putting on for the culture.

Returning to the stage since hosting in 2009, Jamie Foxx clarified that his role was not to host, but instead celebrate the accomplishments of the many talented achievers in the room. He spent a great part of the night producing moments that turned out to be more cringeworthy and awkward than it did seamless, like his imitation of Don Cornelius to a group of millennials who most likely don’t know who he is and the spontaneous calling up of people on stage who themselves were afraid and unaware of what they’d experience (Michael B. Jordan was asked to recite a line from Black Panther and Donald Glover ended up singing a little of “This is America”). He had a few jokes about Monique and Netflix up his sleeves and encouraged us to figure something out in regards to the senseless killings the world is currently experiencing.

Not many awards were presented during the televised performance but Best Movie, Best Group, Best New Artist, Best Actress, and the Coca Cola Viewers’ Choice Award were among those that were. Black Panther, Migos, Sza, Tiffany Haddish, and mother to be Cardi B,  respectively, brought home those awards. BET Awards were also given to everyday heroes like Shaun King and James Shaw Jr. who put their lives at risk, trying to assist others and make the world a better place.

The biggest awards of the night, however, honored two women who have contributed in many ways to African American culture. The Ultimate Icon Award went to Chairman and CEO of BET, Debra Lee, who announced last month that she’d be stepping down from this position. She expressed gratitude for the support throughout years before exiting with the Obama inspired “Namedrop x Out x Mic Drop.” Anita Baker accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award after witnessing a tribute that included the host himself and powerhouses Marsha Ambrosius, Ledisi, and Yolanda Adams. Anita utilized her time on stage, not to send individual thank yous, but to encourage the making of music as well as the closure of the generational gap.

The young ones are coming and they’re here,” she said. “All I ask is that the music be allowed to play, singers be allowed to sing, rappers are allowed to rap and poets are allowed to rhyme.”

Anita continued, saying, “And I ask that the powers that be in the music industry and more of the [big artists] in the music industry…would bring more of what we see here tonight. When I came up in the business, I had people in radio that supported me as a young artist. The singers that are veterans here, tap the young ones on the shoulder. They need you. Young ones, now that you’re here tonight, look around the room. Tap a veteran on the shoulder. We need each other.”

The night would have been incomplete without the various acts that hit the stage. J. Cole took the stage with his single “Friends,” incorporating both Wale and Daniel Caesar into his performance. Daniel also appeared in H.E.R’s set to sing his verse in their duet “Best Part,” which followed up her flawless live rendition of “Focus.”

Migos walked it like they talk it, Ella Mai sang “Boo’d Up,” Nicki brought 2 Chainz and Big Sean to assist in her set, and Snoop Dogg showcased both his gangsta and gospel in a performance that celebrated the 25th anniversary of his debut album, Doggystyle.

Arguably, the most profound was Meek’s first televised performance since his release from jail. Rather than the expected “Dreams and Nightmares,” Meek used his platform to detail his sentiments on his situation and society on “Stay Woke,” a single he debuted featuring Miguel, who sang and danced to his own music earlier in the night.

Another BET Awards in the books. Congratulations to all the winners! Now, if we can only get access to those lit after parties….

Written By: Sweenie Nicole

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