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With New Edition, Chance the Rapper and Xscape, 2017 BET Awards celebrate black excellence


BETAmid some bumps and technical issues, the 2017 BET Awards brought black excellence to the forefront with a celebration of music, film and young talent.

Bruno Mars opened the show with his signature choreography in a spirited performance of his uptempo track, “Perm.” 

After the performance, Saturday Night Live‘s Leslie Jones took to the stage to amp up the crowd for the night’s festivities. Wearing a knee brace, the comedian joked about her upcoming 50th birthday and how she considered herself “old school,” which drew some laughs.

Dear White People‘s Logan Browning and All Eyez on Me star Demetrius Shipp, Jr. announced the first award of the night which went to Migos for best group.

While music stayed the focus for much of the evening, Detroit actors Laz Alonzo, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Algee Smith, took time to mention the names of young men and women of color who were killed by police. 

They introduced Solange as the winner of the Centric Award for “Cranes in the Sky,” who acknowledged BET for helping to bring images of color to her television screen as a young child.

Some of the performances during the night included French Montana, dressed in a white dashiki to honor the motherland with his song “Unforgettable” featuring the artist Swae Lee; Migos and Post Malone, who performed their song “Congratulations”; and Migos later reenergizing their fans with their hit “Bad and Boujee.”

Chris Brown performed “Privacy,” and brought Gucci Mane out for their song “Party.” 

Diddy presented the award for best new artist to Chance the Rapper and then plugged his documentary, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, which became available Sunday night on Apple music.

During the second hour of the show, Mary J. Blige was seemingly uncensored as she sang about her relationship and went into her new song “Love Yourself,” with A$AP Rocky.

Jamie Fox presented Bruno Mars with the Best Male R&B/Pop Artist award while plugging his upcoming film, Baby Driver

In addition to performances from award show regulars like Trey Songz, who performed “Nobody Else but You,”; Big Sean, who performed “Bounce Back,” Tamar Braxton, who belted out “My Man”; and Maxwell who sang, “Gods,” some newcomers took the stage.

Khalid performed his soulful “Location,” and crowd favorite SZA performed “Love Galore” and “The Weekend.”

black-ish star, Yara Shahidi, who won the Young Stars Award, and made a moving speech acknowledging what would have been Tamir Rice‘s 15th birthday.

’90s girl group Xscape also performed and stunned the crowd with some of their hits including “Understanding” “Who Can I Run To” and “Just Kickin”.

Future performed “Mask Off” and brought out Compton’s own Kendrick Lamar to back him up. 

BET’s CEO, Debra Lee, saluted Chance the Rapper with the BET Humanitarian Award. The Chi-town rapper, who made a riveting speech, also was honored by a special message from former first lady Michelle Obama.

There were also multiple tributes to honor the celebrities who passed away, including a special tribute by Havoc and Lil Kim for Prodigy

Kendrick won Best Male Rapper, while Remy Ma won Best Female Rapper and took a noticeable shot at her rival Nicki Minaj.

The cast of Girls Trip helped presented New Edition with their Lifetime Achievement Award. After a few words from each member, Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins took the stage to perform some of their hits including “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Can You Stand the Rain” and “If it Isn’t Love.”

Helping to close out the night was DJ Khaled who brought out  Lil Wayne, Chance the Rapper, Quavo and his son Asad for his Grateful hit, “I’m the One.”

Here’s the complete winners list:

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Remy Ma

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
Beyoncé — “Sorry”

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Kendrick Lamar

Youngstars Award
Yara Shahidi

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Bruno Mars

Best New Artist
Chance the Rapper

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

Centric Award
Solange — “Cranes in the Sky”

Best Group

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Best Collaboration
Chris Brown Ft. Gucci Mane & Usher — “Party”

Video of the Year
Beyoncé — “Sorry”
Bruno Mars — “24k Magic”

Video Director of the Year
Kahlil Joseph & Beyoncé Knowles-Carter — “Sorry”

Album of the Year
Lemonade — Beyoncé

Best Actress
Taraji P. Henson

Best Actor
Mahershala Ali

Best Movie
“Hidden Figures”

Sportswoman of the Year Award
Serena Williams

Sportsman of the Year Award
Stephen Curry

Best International Act: Europe

Best International Act: Africa

Humanitarian Award
Chance the Rapper

Lifetime Achievement Award
New Edition

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