With a live audience and fully vaccinated, the 2021 BET Awards took place Sunday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hosted by Taraji P. Henson, who made her grand entrance descending from the ceiling on a golden swing, the show highlighted “the year of the black woman.”
Golden Globe winner Andra Day kicked off the evening with the BET Award for Best Actress for her role as Billie Holiday in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”. Culture’s Biggest Night, as BET calls it, has come back in full force after last year’s virtual ceremony.
And it was full of jaw-dropping moments, from Cardi B revealing her second pregnancy on stage, to the scorching performance of Lil Nas X that ended Pride Month with a bang (and a kiss).
In addition to performances by Kirk Franklin and Lil ‘Baby, Megan Thee Stallion, HER, Silk Sonic and City Girls, the evening culminated in honoring Queen Latifah with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the BET Awards and a tribute to the late rapper DMX.
To celebrate the women who have made a huge impact, Henson gave them their flowers – literally handing roses to Issa Rae, Zendaya, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and Jazmine Sullivan (who won album of the year for “Heaux Contes”).
Throughout the show, the host dressed up as some of her favorite black female icons, including Diana Ross, Erykah Badu, and Betty Boop.
However, Henson wasn’t the only one battling for a major fashion moment. From slits and daring silhouettes to sleek ensembles and exaggerated looks, Sunday attendees were captivated on the red carpet, reminding viewers why they missed out on the glitz and glamor of in-person events.
Black stylists like Jason Bolden, Hodo Musa and Ade Samuel emboldened celebrity looks, and “image architect” Law Roach made us relive the past. As a tribute to Beyoncé’s performance at the third BET Awards in 2003, Roach styled Zendaya in a Versace look, which she captioned “Crazy in love” on her Instagram account.
On Instagram, Roach posted a reel of Zendaya walking in slow motion, with the caption, “Paying tribute to Queen Beyoncé wearing @versace SS2003 …. get yourself a stylist with an ARCHIVE !!!!” Although she didn’t win the Best Actress award, Zendaya definitely won the top spot for Best Dressed.
Here’s a look at the best style moments from the 2021 BET Awards red carpet.