By Ferdinand Ekechukwu
Burna Boy and Wizkd went home with prizes at the 2020 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards. The ceremony, which marked the 20th edition of the awards, was held with no audience due to COVID-19 restrictions. The ceremony was televised live on BET using an array of innovative techniques and artiste-generated content.
Wizkid’s feature on Beyonce’s ‘Brown Skin Girl’ track won him the BET Her Award category as he currently makes history as the African artiste with the most BET awards win. Burna Boy emerged winner of the Best International Act category.
It was the second time the self-acclaimed African Giant would win a BET Award which he did in the same category last year. He beat other black acts such as Innos B (Dr Congo), Sho Madjozi (South Africa), Dave (United Kingdom), Stormzy (UK), Ninho (France), S.Pri Noir (France) to win the award. British supermodel, Naomi Campbell presented the award to Burna Boy. While virtually presenting the award, an excited Campbell congratulated Burna Boy, screaming “You deserve this award and more. Afrobeats all the way!”
In his acceptance speech, the “Dangote” hitmaker said that in order for Black lives to matter, Africa must matter. “I’ll like to use this opportunity to say that sometime around 1835, there was a mission to turn Africa into a dominated nation. Now is the time to overturn that and go back to the royalty that we were, because, in order for black lives to matter, Africa must matter.”
Mavin Records star, Rema, lost out in the ‘Best New International Act’ category to Zimbabwean act, Sha Sha.
The Zimbabwean songstress became the jewel of Southern Africa after she walked away with the Viewers’ Choice Best New International Act at the prestigious awards ceremony. She beat Nigerian Rema, Celeste and Young T & Bugsey from the United Kingdom, and Hatik and Sracy from France. The award was decided by fans. The Sunday big show also honored Beyoncé with the Humanitarian Award, which was proudly presented by former US first lady, Michelle Obama.
In one of the most powerful moments from the show, a number of celebrities including Viola Davis, Sterling K. Brown, Courtney B. Vance, Misty Copeland, Quincy Jones, Spike Lee and many others, solemnly spoke the names of murdered Black men and women who were victims of racism and police brutality in American history, including Eric Garner, Rayshard Brooks, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Emmett Till, Malcolm X among a tragically long list of others who’ve lost their lives to bigotry and hate.
With a record average 7 million viewers, the BET Awards remain the highest rated awards shows on cable television. The most nominated artiste at the BET Awards is Beyoncé with 62 nominations (56 solo and 8 with Destiny’s Child). She also leads in wins with a total of 28.
Chris Brown follows with 39 nominations and 16 wins. The only BET Ultimate Icon Award to date was awarded to Janet Jackson in 2015, which recognized her as a game changer in the fields of music, dance and video performances.