Recap: The 2015 BET Awards Were One To Remember
The 2015 BET Awards is in the books and what a night it was. Viewers got to witness everyone from Smokey Robinson to Fetty Wap perform on the same stage, and our industry’s favorite artists came out to celebrate the award show’s 15th year anniversary. Hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson kept the crowd laughing as BET honored artist for their talent and strides made in music and television this year.
To open up the show, west coast leader Kendrick Lamar performed “Alright” from his critically acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly. The empowering lyricist spit the fiery bars atop of police cars as his dancers waved American Flags to signify that as Americans, ‘we gon’ be alright.’ The entire audience, including BET CEO Debrah Lee, awarded Kendrick with a standing ovation, rightfully so.
The 1st BET Award of the night went to Empire star Terrence Howard for Best Male Actor for his role as Lucious Lion. Season 2 of Empire can’t come soon enough!
To keep the music going, Jidenna and Janelle Monae performed their respective hits “Yoga” and “Classic Man,” making a huge statement with their distinctive, yet original style. Jidenna, who is fairly new to the scene, was sure to leave the audience with a lasting impression as he paid homage to the civil rights movement, proving that all men are classic men in their own right. A much needed message these days. As always, Janelle boasted her dance moves making this “Yoga” performance one of the best yet.
The next award given out was for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist where none other than Nicki Minaj took the crown. The superstar accepted the award with her mom in town, getting the Barbz beyond excited at home. Right after that, K. Dot was awarded the Best Male Hip-Hop/R&B Artist and told the LA crowd, “I did it for Compton and Watts.”
Before Omarion hit the stage with Breezy for “Post To Be,” Tyga and Chris performed “Ayo,” one of their many big hits. The trio did nothing short of impress and left the crowd wanting more. Afterwards, The Weeknd came out to perform “The Hills,” which he recently released visuals for, and then closed it out with “Earned It” featuring a surprise appearance from Mrs. Alicia Keys, who assisted on the piano and the vocals. The Weeknd was thankful, beyond words.
Sam Smith, the “Stay With Me” crooner, took home the Best New Artist award, which was hilariously accepted by Anthony Anderson in his honor. While multiple artists were worthy of this honor, Sam’s past year was incredible and deserving of this award.
The show then took a nostalgic turn as Diddy, Ma$e, 112, Faith Evans, Jadakiss, French Montana and the Original Queen B Lil Kim, performed Bad Boy classics in the ultimate reunion. As if the oldies weren’t enough, Diddy also premiered a new song with Pharrell titled “Finna Get Loose” available on iTunes now.
Every year BET honors a staple in black music and this year Smokey Robinson rightfully took the crown. To honor his legacy, singer Tori Kelly, Robin Thicke, and Neyo performed some of his classics closing the performance with one of soul’s music’s most treasured tune “Cruisin Together.” Beautiful experience to say the least.
Following an incredible performance from the cast of Empire, Anthony Hamilton and Gary Clarke Junior gave us arguably the most important performance of the night. The legendary singers performed a medley of songs commemorating the 9 men and women who lost their lives in the Charleston shooting. Michael B Jordan wrapped the tribute up with fond words of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. Touching, to say the least.
Quickly turning the energy from gloominess to excitement, Big Sean hit the stage for a slew of songs including “One Man Can Change The World,” “Blessed” and his hit record “IDFWU” alongside Cali’s E-40. Well done, Sean.
Then, it was the incredible and emotional Janet Jackson tribute. R&B producing legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis took us down memory lane with a look back on the success of Ms. Jackson. After a little recollection, Tinashe, Jason Derulo, and Ciara blazed the dance floor with choreography to a melody of Janet’s “Pleasure Principle” and “Rhythm Nation,” which was incredible to say the least. Janet later accepted the award for Ultimate Icon: Music, Dance, and Visual award thanking her parents, husband, and loyal fans. Beautiful moment for music.
An important moment came when K. Michelle and Tamar put aside their petty differences for a performance with soul diva Patti Labelle as the three crooned to Labelle’s classic, “Only You Knew.” Tamar even took a moment to apologize to K. Michelle before Patti hit the stage proving that bygones can certainly be bygones.
As a proud sponsor for the 2015 BET Awards, Coca Cola presented the Viewers Choice Award where Chris Brown, Nicki, and Drake took it home for their hit “Only.”
In closing, Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross hilariously closed the show with a play on words as Tracee bragged about her crown and all of her “traps” she owned i.e., bee trap, fly trap, and hot dog trap, as Anderson and herself introduced the final performance. The “trap king” Fetty Wap closed the show with his hit “Trap Queen” as the audience grooved to the beat to close out the night of music.
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