The 15th annual BET Awards were a total treat on Sunday night, with a special tribute to Janet Jackson, a Bad Boy Records reunion, and show-stopping performances from Kendrick Lamar and the Empire cast. From Nicki Minaj’s acceptance speech (hi, Mama Minaj!) to the Black-ish guest spots, here are the highlights from this year’s awards.
Kendrick Lamar’s performance of “Alright”
Kendrick Lamar opened the show with one of the best televised performances of his career. Playing “Alright,” he stood on a cop car as the American flag flew behind him. Red, white and blue lights flashed and he reassured the crowd, “We gon’ be alright.”
Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson
So, should we start a petition to get the Black-ish stars to host every awards show from now on or what?
Nicki Minaj’s acceptance speech
Nicki Minaj won best female rap artist for the sixth year in a row, and this year she brought out her mom on stage for her acceptance speech. “It’s the first time the world’s going to see her,” Minaj said as she thanked her mother. She also paid it forward to fellow nominee and future household name, Dej Loaf, who will be joining Minaj’s tour. Oh, and she called out “my baby” Meek Mill.
Bad Boy Records reunion
Diddy reunited Bad Boy Records stars Faith Evans, Mase, 112 and Lil Kim to pay tribute to one of the most iconic labels in hip-hop history. It. Was. Awesome.
Empire cast medley
Jussie Smollett, Yaz and Serayah performed three songs from the hit show — “No Apologies,” “Drip Drop” and “You’re So Beautiful” — before Smollett gave a moving speech about freedom and equality in America. (See his full speech here.)
Janet Jackson’s epic tribute
BET honored Janet Jackson with the Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award. In a dance performance that ended in fireworks, Ciara, Jason Derulo and Tinashe paid tribute to the icon’s career, and readied the crowd for her forthcoming album and worldwide tour.
— Fab Fashion Report (@FabFashReport) June 29, 2015
Rihanna’s duct tape prank
Throughout the show, the camera panned to Rihanna, who carried a roll of duct tape around and tied up folks like Floyd Mayweather. BET teased that the gag would lead to a big reveal, and towards the end of the broadcast, Rihanna announced that the “Bitch Better Have My Money” music video would drop later this week. She then debuted the first minute.
•Jussie Smollett gives moving speech during Empire performance at BET Awards
•There was a Bad Boy reunion during Sunday night’s BET Awards
•The kids from Black-ish had the best time at the BET Awards
•Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill were all sorts of relationship goals at the BET Awards
•BET Awards celebrate Janet Jackson with spectacular tribute