BET Awards ex­tends Black voices

Orlando Sentinel - - People & Arts -

The BET Awards served as an ex­ten­sion of the voices of Black peo­ple protest­ing in the streets, as artists used their per­for­mances to high­light the

Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment, civil rights and the lives of those lost be­cause of po­lice of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing Ge­orge Floyd.

DaBaby, with his face pressed against the ground as an of­fi­cer’s knee crip­pled his neck — repli­cat­ing the last mo­ments of Floyd’s life — rapped a verse from the Black Lives Mat­ter remix of his hit song “Rock­star.”

Sunday’s show, a vir­tual event be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, fea­tured a num­ber of highly pro­duced, well-crafted and pre-taped per­for­mances. The BET Awards kicked off with Black artists rap­ping and singing an­thems about the Black ex­pe­ri­ence and fight­ing for equal rights.

The 12-year-old sen­sa­tion Kee­dron Bryant started the show with an a cap­pella per­for­mance of his poignant song “I Just Wanna Live,” which earned him a record deal. That was fol­lowed by an all-star per­for­mance of Pub­lic En­emy’s 1989 an­them “Fight the Power,” fea­tur­ing Nas, Black Thought, Rap­sody and YG adding new lyrics to the song, even name­drop­ping Bre­onna Tay­lor and oth­ers.

Michelle Obama high­lighted Bey­oncé’s com­mit­ment to the Black com­mu­nity be­fore pre­sent­ing her with the hu­man­i­tar­ian award, say­ing: “You can see it in ev­ery­thing she does, from her mu­sic that gives voice to Black joy and Black pain, to her ac­tivism that de­mands jus­tice for Black lives.”

Bey­oncé used her speech to en­cour­age view­ers to vote “like our life de­pends on it” in the up­com­ing elec­tion.

Sunday’s show cel­e­brated BET’s 20th awards show and BET’s 40th year as a net­work. The three­hour event, which aired on CBS for the first time, was hosted by co­me­dian, ac­tress and TV per­son­al­ity Amanda Seales.

Con­certs crit­i­cized:

Fel­low mu­si­cians and fans alike are crit­i­ciz­ing coun­try artists who per­formed at out­door con­certs this week­end where so­cial me­dia pic­tures showed large, tight crowds with­out masks, even as COVID-19 cases resurge in the United States.

Coun­try singer Chase Rice posted video of his con­cert in East Ten­nessee with the words “We Back,” on the same week state health of­fi­cials re­ported the big­gest one-day jump in peo­ple test­ing pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus.

Coun­try star Kelsea Bal­lerini called Rice “self­ish” for risk­ing peo­ple’s health by play­ing in front of a large crowd. Amer­i­cana star Jason Is­bell also in­di­rectly piled on, say­ing some coun­try artists were “so broke” they played con­certs over the week­end “re­gard­less of what might hap­pen to their non-iso­lated, mask­less au­di­ence!”

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Rice said he de­clined to com­ment over the week­end. But the owner of the venue where Rice played said the con­cert was ap­proved by both city and county of­fi­cials.

Broad­way up­date:

The shut­down on Broad­way has been ex­tended again — un­til at least early Jan­uary. Al­though an ex­act date for per­for­mances to re­sume has yet to be de­ter­mined, Broad­way pro­duc­ers are now of­fer­ing re­funds and ex­changes for tick­ets pur­chased for shows through Jan. 3.

June 30 birth­days:

Ac­tress Nancy Dus­sault is 84. Bassist Stan­ley Clarke is 69. Ac­tor David Gar­ri­son is 68. Ac­tor David Alan Grier is 64. Ac­tor Vin­cent D’Onofrio is 61. Ac­tress Deirdre Love­joy is 58. Ac­tress Mon­ica Pot­ter is 49. Ac­tress Molly Parker is 48. Ac­tress Lizzy Ca­plan is 38. Singer Fan­ta­sia Bar­rino is 36.

BET

In this video grab is­sued Sunday, Bey­once ac­cepts the hu­man­i­tar­ian award dur­ing the BET Awards.

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