The BET Awards Had Plenty Political Moments — And Reactions Were Mixed

Host Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage during the 2024 BET Awards at Peacock Theater on June 30.
Host Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage during the 2024 BET Awards at Peacock Theater on June 30. Paras Griffin via Getty Images

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The 2024 BET Awards delivered a night full of surprises, powerful speeches and unforgettable performances. The ceremony’s political moments sparked a range of reactions, with some resonating deeply while others fell flat. Remarkably, the event offered more candid insights and memorable moments than the recent debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

As I sat in the audience at the award ceremony, I noticed the crowd’s mixed reactions throughout the night. Let me break it down for you.

One of the first things to take everyone by surprise was Killer Mike winning Album of the Year. After acknowledging his arrest at this year’s Grammys — where he won three awards, including Best Rap Album — he addressed the audience on the importance of voting — not just in the presidential election, but also in local elections like races for city council and prosecutor. He ended his speech by encouraging those dissatisfied with current officials to head to the polls and even consider running for office themselves. He received rousing applause and cheers from the audience throughout his speech.

Later, Taraji P. Henson, hosting the awards for the third time, got real and raw with the audience about Project 2025, a conservative plan that could take away civil rights, restrict abortion and dismantle government structures if Trump or another Republican wins. Henson also highlighted a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing cities to punish people for sleeping in public places, underscoring the urgency for awareness and action.

“It is not a secret,” Henson said in an impassioned plea to audiences. “They are attacking our most vulnerable citizens. The Project 2025 plan is not a game. Look it up.”

Things took a sharp turn when Sexyy Redd took the stage, performing her hits, “U My Everything” and “Get It Sexyy.” After delivering a sexy, Supremes-esque performance, she quickly changed outfits and returned to a presidential-themed set, adding a provocative twist. However, the presidential setup didn’t sit right with some audiences, who saw it as reminiscent of MAGA themes. (Notably, Sexyy Red had performed with a giant red MAGA-like hat at previous concert stops donned with the words “Make America Sexyy Again.”)

She also made controversial comments in an interview with Theo Von last year, where she expressed support for Trump, citing “stimulus checks” and “getting Black people out of prison” as reasons. Sexyy Red has since said she will not endorse a presidential candidate.

The very next morning, the Supreme Court ruled Trump is entitled to immunity from prosecution for “official acts” as president. It is also now up to lower courts to determine which of his acts are official or unofficial. The ruling makes it, essentially, impossible for Trump to stand trial for charges related to Jan. 6 before the November election, HuffPost reported. As HuffPost senior reporter Jennifer Bendery wrote, the decision “is so sweeping and vague that it opens the door for sitting presidents to do whatever they want without any accountability.”  

All I will say is this: This election is no joke. Do your own research, block out any propaganda and vote. We’re in a climate where many people talk about hesitating to go to the polls, unwilling to choose between Trump and Biden. Remember, one candidate is openly advocating for detrimental changes to America that will affect us all.

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