Jennifer Hudson and HER celebrate BET Awards’ ‘Woman’s Year’ – The Hollywood Reporter

Sunday night’s BET Awards marked the first major awards show to return to the pre-pandemic format, rolling out the red carpet in Los Angeles for Issa Rae, HER, Cardi B, Andra Day, Lil Nas X and Megan Thee Stallion.

Hosted by Taraji P. Henson, with Queen Latifah receiving the Grand Prix of Excellence for the entire evening, the show hosted an in-person vaccinated audience to celebrate its theme, “The Year of the Black Woman.” He also staged a big red carpet outside the downtown Microsoft Theater, with dozens of masked journalists and photographers (who had been repeatedly tested and screened for symptoms in the previous days), becoming the first award ceremony to do so.

“We’re all just happy to be out there, and what better place to start than here at home at the BET Awards celebrating all black women and women all together,” said Jennifer Hudson. Hollywood journalist on the carpet, before his tribute to Aretha Franklin. “We do everything, the least they can do is give us our flowers,” adding that in addition to her goal of meeting rapper DaBaby, she was happy to be “just off the couch and in the middle of it all. “.

Connie Orlando, executive vice president of specials, music programming and music strategy at BET, said months of planning went into the in-person event, after last year’s show was filmed in part virtually and without an audience. “Safety has always been our number one concern, but we followed all guidelines and came back with a hit show,” said Orlando, with Henson at the helm because “there is no better person to host the show. biggest cultural evening of the year of the woman. “

The Hot Summer Carpet, during which many talents brought their own fans and blown water bottles to cool off, also included DJ Khaled, Chloe Bailey, Marsai Martin, Lonnie Chavis and Saweetie, with plenty of hugs. and celebrations after last year and a half dismissed.

“BET is everything. It’s a step for us, for black women to be recognized, and I just think it’s really important to have that and I’m grateful for that, ”HER said of her recognition this year after. his recent Grammy and Oscar victories. “We’ve had a crazy year and I think we’re all starting to see the importance of supporting black people – obviously supporting everyone, but we all know black people are under-recognized, under-recognized and under-celebrated. . This is the year of the black woman, it is the year when you really offer your flowers to people. I am proud and I hope we will keep this same energy.

In addition to the show’s recognition of the year’s best in black music, television and film, this year’s BET Awards also included a tribute to DMX, who died in April. Actor Michael K. Williams was part of the performance and said it was especially meaningful because “he and I are both black boys from the wicked streets of New York who chased our dreams. I believe what he gave, what he brought in his art, he paved the way for me to be here today as an actor.

And although some, like A black lady sketch show‘s Gabrielle Dennis, admitted they were nervous about going back to life in person, “It’s great to come out of the depths of the pandemic and to be in this moment where we’re just in the process of celebrate us, ”she said. “Women are always amazing to celebrate, and then black women who are usually overlooked at times, it tastes all the more sweet.”