Taraji P. Henson slammed “the fact that guns have more rights than a woman” as she opened the BET Awards 2022 on Sunday (26.06.22).
The ‘Hidden Figures’ actress addressed the US Supreme Court’s recent reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling – which protected the right to abortion across the country but will now allow individual states to make their own laws on the matter, with around 20 expected to ban terminations – as she kicked off the ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and admitted the decision was “sad”.
The 51-year-old star also praised Lizzo, not only for giving the first performance of the evening with her 2022 hit ‘About Damn Time’, but for teaming up with Live Nation to pledge $1 million to Planned Parenthood and abortion rights organisations.
She said: “Thank you to the amazing Lizzo, right? That’s how you start a show. All this body positivity up in here. And also thank you, Lizzo, for pledging $1 million to Planned Parenthood. That’s right and you’re damn right, it’s about damn time.
“It’s about time we step into our power. It’s about time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman.
“It’s a sad day in America. A weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman who can give life if she chooses to. It’s about time I got that off my chest.”
The ‘Empire’ actress had kicked off her opening monologue with a celebratory tone.
She said: “This night is for you, baby, we back outside! We finna go off!
“This is culture’s biggest night, and look at all y’all, Black excellence in the room.
“We’re going to recognise, celebrate, and honour us. Let tonight be a reminder that we don’t need any other show to give us accolades that we can give ourselves.”
Taraji wasn’t the only person at the ceremony to address the ruling.
Her ‘Hidden Figures’ co-star took to the stage to present an award and received applause when she told the audience: “F*** the Supreme Court.”
And shortly afterwards, Jazmine Sullivan called on men to join protests on the ruling as she accepted the Best Female R+B/Pop Artist accolade.
She said: “To the men, if you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing with us.
“This is not just a woman’s issue. This is everybody’s issue, and we need your support more than ever …. You all got us? ‘Cause we got you.”