“We ’bout to have some fun in here!” Host Leslie Jones started her opening monologue for the 2017 BET Awards with that enthusiastic cry and she was right. The next four hours were very fun. There were also some moving moments, many stellar performances, and much well-deserved recognition of talent.
As host, Leslie killed it. She did not hold back, especially when she poked fun at a now infamous Instagram post by Amber Rose.
Bruno Mars kicked things off with an epic performance of “Perm.” A dancing horn band and his own smooth moves started the show off right.
The Xscape reunion was a fun blast from the past. The crowd was happy to step back into the 90s and sing along. Other throwback performances were New Edition and Mary J Blige.
Kendrick Lamar’s surprise appearance to perform “Mask Off” with Future was a big hit with the BET crowd.
Big Sean’s medley was visually stunning and included an army of clones.
Additional performances were by Maxwell, Tamar Braxton, Chris Brown, Migos, French Montana, DJ Khaled, SZA, and Trey Songz.
The Music Winners
Beyoncé won five of the seven categories she was nominated for, including Best Female R&B/Pop Artist and Album of the Year for Lemonade. The superstar mom was, of course, not in attendance.
Bruno Mars won Best Male R&B/Pop Artist and tied with Queen Bey for Best Video. Mars was thrilled to take home his first BET award and thanked his fans enthusiastically during his acceptance speech.
Remy Ma managed to break her rival Nicki Minaj’s long winning streak by winning Best Female Hip-Hop artist. Ma referenced her past, even naming the correctional facilities she was in, and reminded everyone that “you can make mistakes and come back.” Many people think she also threw some serious shade towards Minaj when she recited lyrics from “Spaghetti.”
Kendrick Lamar won Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, not surprising after his stellar album DAMN. In his speech, he gave props to fellow nominee Chance the Rapper. Chance won Best New Artist and Best Collaboration.
Solange took home the Centric Award. Though she notably didn’t thank her sister, Solange’s acceptance speech was a moving message about the importance of representation.
Even though he is only 24, Chance the Rapper has definitely earned the Humanitarian Award by raising $2 million dollars for Chicago public schools. A highlight was a taped appearance by Michele Obama talking about Chance’s impact. “Chance is showing our young people that they matter,” she said. One of the last lines in Chance’s powerful acceptance speech was “I’m a good man and I’m gonna be a better man.”
Lifetime Achievement Award winners New Edition got a lengthy tribute, including performances by the child and adult actors who portrayed them in their BET biopic. New Edition then performed themselves.
All in all, the 2017 BET Awards was an epic night and everything an awards show should be.