The BET Awards

Lively performances mark 50 years of hip-hop at hostless BET Awards

The BET Awards celebrated the 50-year legacy of hip-hop with vibrant performances and an absence of a traditional host.

The 2023 BET Awards celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with a lively and jam-packed show that took place during the writers strike. Despite the absence of a traditional host, the event was filled with energetic performances and heartfelt tributes. Legendary hip-hop pioneers such as The Sugarhill Gang, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Erick Sermon, and Keith Murray graced the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, paying homage to rap music and its significant influence on popular culture.

The four-hour show featured a roster of esteemed performers, including Ja Rule, Redman, E-40, Master P, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Styles P, T.I., Fabolous, Trick Daddy, Trina, Uncle Luke, and Skillz, who kept the audience entertained throughout the evening. The event was skillfully managed by Kid Capri, who spun classic hip-hop records and introduced acts like D-Nice, Warren G, Yo-Yo, Kid ‘n Play, and 69 Boyz during the commercial breaks.

One of the highlights of the night was Patti LaBelle’s tribute to Tina Turner, although it had some minor hiccups as she struggled with the lyrics. Busta Rhymes received a standing ovation as he was honored with the lifetime achievement award, and his emotional acceptance speech moved the audience. A video package featuring Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Dave Chappelle, Pharrell, and Diddy showcased Rhymes’ legacy, while M.O.P., Rah Digga, Coi Leray, Bia, and others paid tribute to him with their performances.

The show also had its fair share of emotional moments. Rapper Latto won the award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, causing her to scream in excitement and try to remove her heels before rushing to the stage. She acknowledged the other women in the category and thanked those who believed she should have been nominated. Bel-Air actress and R&B singer Coco Jones broke down in tears after receiving the Best New Artist award, emphasizing the need for Black girls to keep fighting for what they deserve.

Teyana Taylor was named Video Director of the Year, and her mother was present to accept the honor on her behalf, even video calling her during the acceptance speech. The evening also featured a tribute to hip-hop artists who have passed away, with DJ Capri playing songs by Tupac, Nate Dogg, Guru, Pop Smoke, Young Dolph, and more.

Additionally, Quavo and Offset of Migos paid homage to their late group member Takeoff, who passed away in November, with a performance that included a visual representation of him and ended with the duo forming the letter “T” with their arms.

While the live show featured BeyoncĂ© winning awards for BET Her and Viewer’s Choice with her song “Break My Soul,” several categories, including Album of the Year and Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, were not presented during the telecast.

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