“Barack and I are so sorry that we can’t be there tonight in person,” said Michelle Obama tonight to a surprised and roaring BET Awards via pre-tape video for Chance The Rapper. The Grammy winner was being honored with the Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic efforts in his and the former First Lady’s hometown of Chicago. “But please know we are there with you in spirit and we are so incredibly proud of you Chance.”
Called “our forever First Lady” by BET CEO Debra Lee from the stage tonight at downtown LA’s Microsoft Theatre, the former FLOTUS via video added, “with these passionate efforts, Chance is showing our young people that they matter, that they have something inside them that is worthy of being expressed and that they have so much to contribute to their communities and to our country.”
“I am thrilled to celebrate you here tonight and honored to call you my friend,” Mrs. Obama concluded to a crowd that clearly wanted to party like it was 2008 or 2012 when Barack Obama was elected and re-elected as the 44 POTUS.
— BET (@BET) June 26, 2017
“My God doesn’t make mistakes,” Chance himself asserted of his efforts towards for the Windy City school system and other charities despite his young age of 24. In a passionate and self admitted improvised speech, the Chicag South Sider also called out the justice system for imprisoning marijuana sellers before “you all make it legal” and the lack of a conviction in what was implied to be the cases of the killings of Samuel DuBose, Sylville Smith and Philando Castile by police officers.
“I want joy in this house,” declared host Leslie Jones earlier tonight at the BET Awards, in what was a call out certainly met by Michelle Obama’s cameo among a star studded show. The opening monologue by the Saturday Night Live alum came after a high energy opening number by Bruno Mars that had the crowd both dancing and being playfully mocked for filming the routine for their Instagram. Among the festivities and nominations also on the show were the tributes to New Edition and Chance The Rapper.
There were some corporate moves of sort at the BET Awards on Sunday with Viacom boss Bob Bakish in the house and some bigwigs current and now gone getting name checked from the stage. “I want to thank Debra Lee for everything you do, Jessie Collins and a special shout-out to my friend Mr. Stephen Hill,” said Mars of the current BET CEO, producer Collins and past President of Programming Hill upon accepting the Best Male R&B/Pop Artist Award. “Stephen, no matter where you go in life, I know you are going to find success, because you got too much soul and too much passion,” added the five-time Grammy winner of Hill, who exited suddenly from BET on March 29 in a move that has now seen legal implications for himself, the network and Viacom.
In the big and small screen categories of tonight’s BET Awards being aired on several Viacom outlets, Gabrielle Union, Insecure’s Issa Rae, Viola Davis, Hidden Figures‘ Janelle Monáe and Taraji P. Henson are up for Best Actress. Bryshere Y. Gray, Denzel Washington, Atlanta’s Donald Glover, Moonlight and Luke Cage’s Mahershala Ali and Omari Hardwick, who sees Season 4 of Power debuting tonight are in the running for Best Actor. The Best Movie nominations include the Washington helmed and starred Fences, horror blockbuster, Get Out Hidden Figures, Oscar Best Picture winner Moonlight and 2016 Sundance winner The Birth of a Nation.
Steph Curry of 2017 and 2015 NBA Champs the Golden State Warrior was awarded the Sportsman of the Year award tonight. We’ll update with all the winners later on.