Here are the Best Moments From the 2019 BET Awards
The 2019 BET Awards capped off an eventful weekend in Los Angeles with a four-hour award show inside downtown's Microsoft Theatre on Sunday night (June 23). Actress Regina Hall made for a compelling host, injecting comedic relief and keeping the show moving in an orderly fashion through a plethora of performances and award presentations.
Cardi B and her bedazzled lime green ballroom dress quickly became a staple of the awards show. The Bronx native led all artists with seven nominations, as she took home album of the year honors. Rihanna even graced viewers with her presence to present one of her inspirations, Mary J. Blige, with BET's Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 19th annual award show was jam-packed with a range of energetic performances from Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, Mustard and the Migos, Lizzo, DaBaby, Lucky Daye, Cardi B and Offset, Mary J. Blige with Method Man and Lil' Kim, plus a tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle.
Here are our top nine moments from the 2019 BET Awards. Find all of the winners here.
Cardi B and Offset Open the Night With Steamy "Clout" and "Press" Medley
Cardi B and Offset set the tone for a fun show with a medley performance to "Clout" and Bardi's latest single "Press." The Migos member took it back to his breakdancing roots when he joined the backup dancers' choreography, which is a sight to behold if you've ever seen the Migos perform before.
The Bronx native then popped up in all-green attire to give her hubby a sultry lap dance while running through her verse on the Father of 4 standout hit. After admitting her anxiety levels were running through the roof earlier in the day, Bardi took centerstage to nail the dance-heavy routine for "Press," as the fiery performance went off without a hitch.
Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus Bring the Rodeo to BET
The No. 1 song in the country was at the BET Awards -- better yet, Billy Ray Cyrus was at the BET Awards! Lil Nas X and Billy Ray rode in on horses before performing their cowboy anthem. The unlikely duo had a blast on the stage that they remodeled into an old Western saloon filled with twerking cowgirls for a version of "Old Town Road" featuring luscious live instrumentation.
Nas X's wardrobe also stole the show, electing to go with a yellow leather cowboy suit with snakeskin boots to match. Host Regina Hall made Cyrus feel right at home throughout the night, as she kept an inside joke going that he graduated from Hampton University. Let it be known that he actually went to Georgetown College in Kentucky.
H.E.R. Teams With YBN Cordae for "Lord Is Coming"
H.E.R. is one of the most precious acts in all of music, and she's still only 21. The bonafide R&B star showed off the versatile repertoire she possesses that makes her a two-time Grammy Award winner. During the touching "Lord Is Coming" performance, which was introduced by the Exonerated Five, H.E.R. shuffled between spoken word shining a light on the Sudan crisis, singing the track's actual lyrics, and tunefully managing to play base upright at the same time.
YBN Cordae joined H.E.R. on stage continuing the militant fashion theme, but added his own earnest spin onto the I Used To Know Her: Part 2 deep cut. "You gonna stop a frisker? At least warn us/My dog still on probation, they got a leash on us," he raps with conviction and maturity well beyond his years. Look for the pair to reconnect on Tuesday (June 25) when "Racks" hits streaming platforms.
Rihanna Presents Mary J. Blige With BET's Lifetime Achievement Award
"What's the 411?" Rihanna said to kick off her epic introduction for Mary J. Blige. RiRi then ran through Mary J.'s decorated resume and how she became a transcendent figure in R&B music who should be credited as one of the trailblazers in blending elements of hip-hop and soul, which cracked down the doors for many of the women artists that came after her.
Following a tribute video montage that featured Queen Latifah, Diddy, and Nas singing the praises of Mary, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul returned the favor and showed Rihanna love for the impact she's had on her. "I don’t think you know how much I love and respect you. I’m a huge fan and you inspire me right back," she said.
Mary J. proved that she can still deliver an electrifying live performance at the age of 48, as she hopped in a time capsule and bounced around to various eras of her storied career to piece together a medley of greatest hits. The Yonkers native ripped through adored records within her iconic discography like "My Life," "No More Drama," "I’m Goin' Down," "Real Love," "Be Happy," "I Can Love You" with an assist from a red-headed "Lil Kim," and "You're All I Need to Get By" featuring Method Man.
Free Meek Docuseries Coming to Amazon
The 2019 BET Awards program also had some breaking news. Amazon Studios premiered the first trailer to a new docuseries examining Meek Mill and his decade plus of being entangled in the criminal justice system. The clip takes a deep dive into how Meek's case was an eye-opening experience for a number of Americans, as well as how he's dedicated a great portion of his life to reforming the system with initiatives such as the REFORM Alliance. Jay-Z and Roc Nation played a role in the production of the evocative series. Free Meek debuts on Aug. 9 exclusively on Amazon.
Marsai Martin Becomes the Latest Meme After Young Stars Award Victory
When award shows come around, fans are often quick to turn star's antics into the latest batch of relatable memes. Black-ish star Marsai Martin birthed the meme of the night with her surprised reaction to winning BET's Young Stars Award. Martin wore a face of extreme shock when the broadcast panned to her row. The 14-year-old became the third youngest entertainer to win a BET Award behind Jaden and Willow Smith.
Cardi B Wins Album of the Year Honors
Cardi B is going to need a bigger trophy case. Following six wins at the Billboard Music Awards and her first Grammy earlier this year, Cardi B walked away with album of the year at the BET Awards. The 26-year-old hit a little jig mid-strut on her walk to accept the trophy from Anderson .Paak. After running through a few thank yous, Cardi had a message for her haters. "It's like you never motherfucking perfect to these people, but the numbers don't lie. Three times platinum," she stated.
Nipsey Hussle Honored With Tribute Performance
The Marathon Continues. Once Nipsey Hussle's family accepted the Humanitarian Award win on his behalf, a tribute performance that featured contributions from a number of Nip's collaborators came next. Marsha Ambrosius kicked things off with Victory Lap's "Real Big." Close friend YG took the stage draped in red for "Last Time That I Checc'd." "Nip Hussle, I love you bro," said the Compton native. The final part of the performance saw DJ Khaled and John Legend accompanied by a soothing choir for a heavenly rendition to Father of Asahd's "Higher," which fittingly closed out the show.
Regina Hall & Taraji P. Henson Call On Rare Essence & Experience Unlimited for Beyonce-Inspired Go-Go Performance
Regina Hall said that she decided to take on the duty of hosting the BET Awards to show the world exactly what Washington D.C. is all about. The actress fused go-go music into their Homegrown performance, an obvious ode to Beyonce's Homecoming. Hall led a marching band and danced alongside fellow D.C. native Taraji P. Henson as Experience Unlimited's Sugar Bear joined forces with Jonathan McReynolds and James Funk of Rare Essence for a refreshing performance to E.U.'s "Da Butt."