By MESFIN FEKADU AP Music Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Cardi B’s “WAP” had new meaning at the BET Awards: winner and pregnant.
The Grammy-winning star debuted her baby bump during a live performance on Sunday alongside husband Offset as well as Quavo and Takeoff of Migos. She also won Video of the Year for her Megan Thee Stallion-assisted No. 1 hit “WAP.”
Cardi B didn’t stay to accept the honor at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, but Megan Thee Stallion rushed the stage to collect the award, forgetting to thank Cardi during her speech.
Tribute to female artists and gay pride
But the “Savage” rapper made up for it by winning the award for top female hip-hop artist moments later.
“I really forgot to say ‘thank you Cardi’ for even putting me on ‘WAP’ because it feels so good to be recognized by one of my peers, who I care about so much,” said said Megan Thee Stallion, who was the big winner of the evening with four trophies. “I think very strongly of all the women who have been nominated in this category.”
In addition to celebrating female performers, the BET Awards also highlighted gay pride with a flirtatious performance from Lil Nas X and Queen Latifah, who thanked her partner and son when she accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Queen Latifah accepts the award
As she snapped thanks, she said, “Ebony, my love, Rebel, my love.” The 51-year-old ended with: “Peace! Good pride!
Queen Latifah has been honored for her illustrious career as a Grammy-winning rapper, Golden Globe-winning actress and Emmy-winning television producer. Rapsody and Monie Love kicked off the tribute with a performance of “Ladies First,” which was followed by Lil Kim and MC Lyte rapping the classic “UNITY.”
Lil Nas X won over the crowd with his No. 1 hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” which ended with the rapper locking lips with a male background dancer, as the crowd roared loudly. Some audience members jumped out of their seats in praise.
Mothers also honored
His scene was set in ancient Egypt, much like Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time,” which Lil Nas X paid homage to with a deft dance break during the performance.
Mothers were also greeted during the three-plus-hour show: Queen Latifah, who was present with her father, held a photo of her mother on stage; Megan Thee Stallion remembered her mother, who died in 2019, during her speech: “She can’t be here with me today but I still think about her every day and that’s why I keep on going.” And Jazmine Sullivan – who won album of the year for her critically acclaimed ‘Heaux Tales’ EP – attended the show with her mother, who is battling cancer.
“My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago so we haven’t seen any of this happen but God has been so faithful to us and my mum is in remission,” she said. declared. “It’s my prize. It’s my gift. It means more to me than anything else that she’s here with me. She’s been supporting me all my life.”
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The ceremony was dedicated to “the year of the black woman,” as actor and host Taraji P. Henson put it at the top of the show. Rep. Maxine Waters said her signature line — “get my time back” — before Sullivan took the stage for a sultry, top-notch performance featuring fellow R&B singer Ari Lennox. The night’s top prize went to Andra Day, who won Best Actress, while Darnella Frazier – the teenager who pulled out her cellphone and started recording when she saw George Floyd being nailed on the ground by a police officer – received the Shine a Lumiere Award.
Frazier did not attend the awards show, but the honor came weeks after receiving a special Pulitzer Prize citation for his video which helped start a global movement to protest racial injustice.
HER, who also wowed audiences with her performance, won Best Female R&B/Pop Artist. The Grammy winner told the crowd that it’s “important for us to recognize and celebrate each other.”
Lil Baby wins Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
“If we don’t do it, who else will?” she added.
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Rapper Lil Baby won Best Male Hip-Hop Artist and teamed up with gospel artist Kirk Franklin to kick off the show with a performance that had Issa Rae, Queen Latifah, DJ Khaled and Zendaya bouncing in their seats.
Swizz Beatz hosted the tribute to DMX, who died in April at the age of 50. Performers included Busta Rhymes, Method Man, The Lox, Michael K. Williams and Griselda.
Other winners on Sunday included Chris Brown, who won top male R&B/pop artist; Giveon, named Best New Artist; and Silk Sonic — the duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — won Best Group. Chadwick Boseman posthumously won Best Actor.