BET Awards 2021: Winners List 

BET Awards: Winners List

Taraji P. Henson is hosting Sunday’s ceremony, where Andra Day, H.E.R., Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Silk Sonic are among the winners so far, and Cardi B revealed her second pregnancy during her performance with Migos.

Andra Day, H.E.R., Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Silk Sonic were among the winners at the 2021 BET Awards, which were handed out Sunday night at a live, in-person show.

Taraji P. Henson hosted the ceremony, which this year features the theme “Year of the Black Woman.” Last year, the BET Awards was one of the first major awards shows to take place after the start of the pandemic.

It also featured a slew of performances, though not on a traditional stage, and they had the quality and feel of music videos versus a typical live performance. Meanwhile, winners like Beyoncé and Lizzo accepted their awards remotely and virtually.

The BET Awards returned to the live show format and welcomed back an in-person, vaccinated audience. Organizers said they would work closely with Los Angeles County to support community vaccination efforts and ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols, becoming one of the first major Hollywood events to normal.

“I am so excited to be here with humans; we need each other,” Henson said after coming out onstage, talking to the live audience, some of whom were in masks, while many were not.

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Taraji P. Henson hosts the 2021 BET Awards. JOHNNY NUNEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR BET

Henson went on to recognize several Black women in the audience, including Issa Rae, Zendaya (who was wearing a purple mask) and Jazmine Sullivan, as well as “political trailblazers” including Maxine Waters. She also gave shoutouts to Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris.

“We gonna be Black AF tonight,” she added, noting she would be coming out onstage dressed as “some of my all-time favorite women” (among them: H.E.R., whom she came out dressed as and playing multiple instruments, calling herself “S.H.E.”; Erykah Badu; and Tina Turner). She went on: “Tonight we’re also reclaiming our aesthetics, baby hairs, long blinged-out nails, yeah, we taking all that back, gold hoops, bamboo earrings. … Our Black men, we want all y’all back, because we love you, we see you, kings, and most importantly, we need you.”

The first winner announced on the telecast was Andra Day, named best actress for her role in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, which earned her an Oscar nom and a Golden Globe award earlier this year. Day noted in her speech that she was genuinely surprised: “I really didn’t expect this.”

 

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Andra Day wins best actress at the 2021 BET Awards. JOHNNY NUNEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR BET

Silk Sonic — comprised of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — was named best group. Paak and Mars took the stage in matching tuxedos — Mars in pink, Paak in blue. “To the fans patiently waiting, Andy and I promise y’all, it’s gonna be worth the wait,” Mars said of the group’s upcoming debut album, which does not yet have an official release date. “Here’s to y’all,” he added, raising a flask to the audience.

Cardi B revealed her pregnancy on Sunday night during her performance with Migos. The rapper, who has a daughter named Kulture with husband Offset, wore a blinged-out, one-piece outfit with a mesh cutout showing off her pregnant belly. Offset is a member of the group Migos.

 

Video of the year went to “WAP,” by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion. Megan came onstage to accept the award moments after performing. (Cardi B did not come onstage to accept.) In her speech, Megan noted the popularity of the song and thanking fans for making it a hit. “They was in front of the White House singing ‘WAP’!” she said. Noting the theme of the night, she went on: “Black women — we are the culture, we been the culture, and in the future, we’re still gonna be the culture. So shout out to us.”

Megan also was named best female hip-hop artist and the viewer’s choice award for “Savage (Remix)” featuring Beyoncé. In her speech for the former, she thanked her mom for inspiring her to pursue her dream of being a rapper, while she noted later that “Savage” fulfilled another dream, that of getting to work with Beyoncé.

Jazmine Sullivan won album of the year for Heaux Tales and brought her mom upstage to accept the award with her. She noted that, two years ago, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Two years ago, we would have never expected to be here,” she said, getting emotional as she noted her mom is now in remission. “This is my prize. This is my gift. It means more than anything that she is here with me. She has supported me all my life. She has loved me all my life.” (Later in the show, Burna Boy was named best international act and also brought his own mom onstage with him.)

H.E.R. performed during the show and was later named best female R&B/pop artist, following on the heels of her Best Song Oscar win earlier this year for “Fight for You.” “I just want you guys to know how important this stage is, I want you guys to know how important is it to recognize each other and to celebrate each other,” she said in her BET Awards speech. “We all know sometimes, if we don’t, who else will?” She also went on to talk about how R&B is the foundation of many genres of music, including country. “There wouldn’t be a lot of other genres if it was not for Black music. When they said, ‘R&B is dead, it’s not alive’ — it’s in everything,” she said.

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H.E.R. performs at the 2021 BET Awards. JOHNNY NUNEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR BET

Kicking off the show were Lil Baby and Kirk Franklin, who performed their song “We Win,” from the soundtrack of Space Jam: A New Legacy.