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To say that the 2019 BET Awards was lit is an understatement. The entire night was a monument to Black excellence, paying tribute to the finest artists and entertainers of the past year. And as per usual, it was an exciting night of newsworthy performances and viral moments worth talking about. Among them, here are our top 5 highlights.

Cardi B and Offset’s Opening Number

Dare to think of a better way to start an award’s show than with a performance by Cardi B. Can’t think of one? Understandable. The rapper just has such a presence and star quality on stage that she can start off any show with a bang! This time, she performed with her husband, Offset, with a flurry of backup dancers to help them out. Not that they need them or anything, but the magnitude was spectacular, to say the least. They performed “Clout” and “Press” respectively, complete with stunning choreography and even a lap dance between husband and wife.

Rihanna Gives Mary J. Blige The BET Lifetime Achievement Award

Is there anyone more deserving to receive the BET Lifetime Achievement Award than Mary J. Blige? And is there anyone more deserving to present this award to her than Rihanna? It was a ‘queens supporting queens’ moment when the ‘Riri’ made a surprise appearance at the ceremony just to present the ‘Queen of Hip Hop and R&B’ that special award. The former has been busy living it up in London and working on her new fashion line in Paris. For her to take time off from all of that means that Blige must be really special. And she is! With a treasure trove of iconic singles, a string of award-winning albums, and even an Oscar nomination, this award couldn’t have gone to someone more deserving.

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus Perform Together

Hip hop and Country music might seem like two completely far off genres, but Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus beg to differ. Picture it: a legendary icon of Country music and one of hip hop’s best up-and-coming rappers saddling along on horses to the BET Awards. Now there’s an image you wouldn’t see every day. Subsequently, they slew their hit together “Old Time Road,”  with a saloon-themed performance that was just as amazing. The rapper’s smooth and swaggy rhymes blended well with the singer’s husky and raspy undertones. There wasn’t a note out of tune or a rhyme out of place in that stellar presentation.

DJ Khaled, John Legend, and More Pay Tribute to Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle’s unexpected death hit the music world hard earlier this year. The rapper was shot and killed late last March in South Los Angeles right outside his store, “Marathon Clothing”. He was also in the middle of various charitable and activist works, which made his sudden death all the more hurtful for the Black community. In response, a whole host of artists paid tribute to the fallen rapper with the likes of John Legend, YG, DJ Khaled, Marsha Ambrosius. Each belted out a passionate performance that gave credence to one of the industry’s most prolific and hard-working icons.

The Exonerated 5 Gets A Standing Ovation

If you don’t know about “When They See Us” on Netflix, then you’ve been living under a rock! The Ava Duvernay-directed series chronicles what the ‘Central Park 5,’ a group of falsely-accused young African-American men, went through during their criminal trial in the early 1990s. All-white juries convicted them of rape and sent them to jail. But in 2002, with the help of DNA Evidence, the DA exonerated them and set them free. Now, all men serve as justice activists and the BET crowd rightfully gave them a standing ovation that night. Their works made them pillars within the African-American community and beyond.

From jaw-dropping performances to stunning tributes, the 2019 BET Awards was a night to remember. It was all a reminder that excellence is based on heart and hard work, not the color of your skin.

Image Credits:

  1. BET Awards 2019 Featured Image – Essence.com