Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater played host to the 2018 BET Awards on June 24, and the action was non-stop. Over the course of the evening, some of the biggest names in pop, rap, R&B, soul, gospel, and more were honored in between a barrage of blockbuster performances.
GRAMMY winner Jamie Foxx served as host of the festivities and opened the show by joining Jay Rock for a revved-up performance of Rock’s new single, “Win.” Foxx then delivered his monologue and invited Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan to the stage to recite some of the most powerful lines from the film.
DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller took home the night’s first award for Best Collaboration for “Wild Thoughts” from Khaled’s 2017 album Grateful. Khaled brought his son Asahd to the stage to help him accept the award, and gave him a shoutout in his speech.
SZA received the Best New Artist award, further solidifying her arrival as one of her generation’s sharpest talents. The singer expressed gratitude and encouragement in her acceptance speech, saying, “Believe in yourself, ’cause I didn’t even believe in myself, and things like this happen to me, so it this can happen to anybody. God bless everyone.”
The show’s lineup of performances was full of surprises. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, delivered an impromptu snippet of “This Is America.” Meek Mill premiered a new song called “Stay Woke” featuring Migueland Migos recreated their “Soultrain”-inspired music video for “Walk It Talk It,” with Foxx helping out in the roll of TV show host.
YG, 2 Chainz and Big Sean joined Nicki Minaj for a run of three songs, including “Chun-Li,” “Rich Sex” and the crew’s newly released single, “Big Bank.” HER, real name Gabi Wilson, made a splash with performances of “Focus” and, calling upon Daniel Caesar for help, the sweet and soulful love song, “Best Part.” Janelle Monae performed “Jango Jane” from her latest album, Dirty Computersand turned heads on the red carpet with her vibrant rainbow pride dress.
Rapper J. Cole chose to perform the lead-off cut from his latest album, KOD. His rendition of “Friends” featured cameos from Wale and Caesar as well as a dynamic performance from Cole, dramatic lighting and even a memorable dance sequence from a group of children. Snoop Dogg closed the show with a set of his classics mixed in with tunes from his new gospel project.
Additional notable awards went to Beyonce for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Kendrick Lamar for Best Male Hip Hop Artist, Cardi B for Best Female Hip Hop Artist, and Lecrae and Tori Kelly for the dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award for their duet “I’ll Find You.” BET also honored two legends in their own right as GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Anita Baker and the company’s influential president Debra Lee each received a lifetime achievement award.
With a captivating mix of bold social statements, reverent award presentations, lively and heartfelt performances, up-and-coming stars, and musical icons, the 2018 BET Awards honored the best-of-the-best from both today and the past while also providing illuminating insight into the future of music.
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