Mary J., Blige performs at the BET Awards; Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Sunday night’s 2019 BET Awards was the ultimate celebration of the best and brightest in black entertainment.
The ceremony kicked off with a performance from Cardi B, the most nominated artist of the evening, who delivered a sultry rendition of “Clout” backed by her husband, Offset. The Bronx-bred chart topper came into the night with a leading seven nominations, and snagged Best Female Hip-Hop Artist as well as the Album of the Year award for her debut effort, Invasion of Privacy.
The star-studded affair, which aired live from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater, was hosted by Regina Hall. The actress brought the funny with her parody of Beyoncé‘s Homecoming, and high energy as she led a tribute to Washington D.C.’s go-go music scene with the classic 1980’s song, “Da Butt,” performed by Sugar Bear.
The evening also included lively performances from Meek Mill, Fantasia, Lizzo, Lil Nas X with Billy Ray Cyrus, DaBaby, Jeremih, Kirk Franklin and more.
Other highlights of the night were H.E.R.‘s rousing delivery of “Lord Is Coming,” featuring YBN Cordae, which was led by a powerful spoken word piece from the singer. The memorable performance was prefaced by an introduction from The Central Park Five, now known as the Exonerated Five: Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam.
The show continued with Mary J. Blige being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Rihanna, who praised the pioneering singer for setting the bar and paving the way for black female artists like herself.
“Without prayer, I would not be here,” Blige said while accepting the prestigious accolade. “To my fans, words cannot express how grateful I am and how thankful I am to have you in my life.”
The powerhouse vocalist followed up her endearing speech with a medley of her greatest hits, including “I’m Goin’ Down,” “Real Love,” “Be Happy” and the fan favorite “Love Without a Limit.” The monumental performance also featured special appearances from Lil Kim and Method Man.
The evening concluded with Nipsey Hussle being posthumously honored with the Humanitarian Award in recognition of his work as a community advocate, philanthropist and musician. Presented by T.I., who described the late rapper as a “true king,” the Victory Lap lyricist’s family emotionally accepted the distinction on his behalf.
“I was so amazed by the all the love that was out there in the world for him,” Hussle’s grandmother, Margaret Boutte, told the audience. “Nipsey, you’ve done your job, you’ve left your mark. I welcome you into heaven, so you can rest.”
A stirring musical tribute followed, with Marsha Ambroisus performing “Real Big,” longtime friend and collaborator YG delivering “Last Time I Checc’d,” and DJ Khaled being joined by John Legend for “Higher.”
Here’s the full list of BET Awards winners.
Video of the Year
Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Best New International Act (Fan Voted Category)
Sho Madjozi (South Africa)
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
2019 Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
Ella Mai, “Trip”
Best International Act
Burna Boy (Nigeria)
Michael B. Jordan
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
Snoop Dogg Ft. Rance Allen, “Blessing Me Again”
Album of the Year
Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy
Best New Artist
Travis Scott Ft. Drake, “Sicko Mode”
Video Director of the Year
Sportswoman of the Year
Sportsman of the Year
BET Her Award
H.E.R., “Hard Place”
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.