Taraji P. Henson Set to Host 2021 BET Awards

Taraji P. Henson
Courtesy Photo

Taraji P. Henson

Queen Latifah, who began her career as a rap artist, is the first rapper or one-time rapper to receive the lifetime achievement award.

Taraji P. Henson is set to host the 2021 BET Awards, which will air live on BET on Sunday, June 27, at 8 p.m., ET/PT. Queen Latifah, who hosted the show in 2010, will receive the lifetime achievement award. The theme of this year’s show is “Year of the Black Woman."

Amanda Seales hosted last year’s virtual BET Awards. This year’s show will mark the event’s return to the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, the show’s home since 2013.

“For more than 20 years, the BET Awards have been a celebration of Black creativity, art and excellence,” Henson said in a statement. “Returning live, this year’s show will be unlike anything we have ever seen before, and I am honored to be sharing the stage with so many powerful and prolific women in music and entertainment."

“Black women have been essential drivers of change throughout history, from the political sphere to the cultural zeitgeist,” said Connie Orlando, EVP specials, music programming & music strategy at BET. “The BET Awards is the ultimate celebration of Black culture, and we are looking forward to spotlighting and celebrating Black women during this year’s show.”

Henson has won best actress at the BET Awards six times, more than any other actress. She won for Hustle & Flow (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2009), Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story (2011), Empire (2015, 2016, 2017) and Hidden Figures (2017). Henson also received an Oscar nod for The Curious Case... and Emmy nods for Taken from Me... and twice for Empire.

Latifah, who began her career as a rap artist before becoming a versatile musical performer and Oscar-nominated actress, is the first rapper or one-time rapper to receive the BET's lifetime achievement award.

Latifah won a Grammy for best rap solo performance for U.N.I.T.Y. (2004). Five of her seven Grammy nominations have come in the rap field, but her two most recent ones were in other fields. The Dana Owens Album (2004) was nominated for best jazz vocal album. Trav’lin’ Light (2007) was nominated for best traditional pop vocal album. Latifah was Oscar-nominated for her performance in Chicago.

The BET did not award a lifetime achievement award last year. Mary J. Blige was the honoree two years ago.

Orlando will oversee the 2021 BET Awards and serve as executive producer along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment. Voting for the 2021 BET Awards’ Viewer’s Choice Award is open here. is the official site for the BET Awards.