Silk Sonic and Will Smith scooped top prizes at the 2022 BET Awards.
The annual ceremony celebrating black culture took place at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on Sunday night (26.06.22), and this year Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s R’n’B supergroup was among the big winners.
The duo’s debut album, ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’, was crowned Album of the Year, while the ‘Leave The Door Open’ hitmakers also took home Best Group.
Anderson won a third prize, Video director of the year, meaning he became the most-awarded of the night.
Doja Cat, Drake and Ari Lennox had led the nominations, but all came home empty-handed.
Will – who struck Chris Rock at the Oscars earlier this year, and was subsequently banned from the Academy Awards for 10 years – won Best Actor for his titular role in ‘King Richard’.
The biographical sports drama about the father and coach of famed tennis players Venus and Serena Williams was also named Best Movie.
Following the overturning of Roe v Wade, resulting in terminations being illegal for millions of women across America, several stars used their time on stage to blast the US Supreme Court.
Actress-and-singer Janelle Monae, 36, stuck up her middle finger while introducing the Best female R’n’B/pop artist nominees, and received a standing ovation after delivering a powerful speech.
She said: “These artists are making art on our own terms, owning our truths and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies, my body and our decisions, my body.
“F*** you Supreme Court. I know we’re celebrating us right now as we should. We absolutely deserve to celebrate — especially now we should celebrate our art by protecting our right and our truths.”
Jazmine Sullivan won the prize and asked men to “stand up” for their women as “we need your support more than ever”.
She said: “It’s a hard time for us.
“I want to speak directly to the men: We need y’all. We need y’all to stand up, stand up for us, stand up with us. If you’ve ever benefitted from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing. This is not just a woman issue. This is everybody’s issue. We need your support more than ever.”
Elsewhere, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Mary J. Blige received the BET Her accolade.
The evening saw epic performances from Lizzo, Jack Harlow, Lil Wayne, Roddy Ricch and Chance the Rapper.
Taraji. P Henson hosted proceedings.
An abridged list of the BET Awards winners:
Best female R’n’B/pop artist
Best male R’n’B/pop artist
Best female hip hop artist
Megan Thee Stallion
Best male hip hop artist
‘Essence’ Wizkid Feat. Justin Bieber and Tems
Best new artist
Video of the year
‘Family Ties’ Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar
Video director of the year
Anderson .Paak a.k.a. Director .Paak
Dr. Bobby Jones best gospel/inspirational award
‘We Win’ Lil Baby X Kirk Franklin
‘Good Morning Gorgeous’ Mary J. Blige
Best international act
Will Smith, ‘King Richard’
Zendaya, ‘Euphoria’ and ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’
Sportswoman of the year award
Sportsman of the year award