Ever since its first show in 2001, the BET Awards remain one of the hottest music events of the year. Every summer, fans all over the nation get to watch their favorite artists (new and classic) perform and receive the coveted BET Award Trophy on the Black Entertainment Television network. This year’s show will honor both a modern rap god and a celebrated 1980s R&B group by awarding Chance the Rapper and New Edition for their achievements in music and humanitarianism.
On June 6, BET announced that multi-talented musician and philanthropist Chance the Rapper is the recipient of the 2017 BET Humanitarian Award. This award, which started in the ceremony’s second year in 2002, honors a celebrity who has donated time or money to a charitable cause. The first recipient of this award was boxer and activist Muhammed Ali, who spent his post-boxing career devoted to his religion and charity work.
Chance the Rapper, born in Chicago in 1993, began making headlines in 2013 for his mixtape Acid Rap and has enjoyed immense critical success for his 2016 mixtape Coloring Book. For Chance’s early efforts to stop gun violence on Chicago’s streets, he was declared Chicago’s Outstanding Youth of the Year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2014. Chance also cares deeply for education and the reformation of Chicago Public Schools. Due to lack of decent funding, he donated one million dollars to CPS in March 2017 to go towards the district’s fundraising arm and serve as a call to action to local businesses and philanthropists.
Another one of the night’s big awards, the BET Lifetime Achievement Award, will go to legendary R&B group New Edition. Not only did this group enjoy huge success with hit singles like “Candy Girl” and “Cool It Now,” but members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe went on to see success as the R&B trio Bell Biv DeVoe. Previous awards for New Edition include two American Music Awards in 1987 and 1997 and two Soul Train Awards in 1989 and 1997. The group’s career and the personal lives of the members was chronicled in the BET docu-series, The New Edition Story in January 2017.
The 2017 BET Awards will air Sunday, June 25 at 8P/7C. Actress and comedian Leslie Jones will host and the list of performers includes DJ Khaled, Lil Wayne, and Big Sean. New Edition will also perform and Chance the Rapper has been nominated in four award categories.