Held virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the awards show’s performances have so far felt akin to mini music videos. In his video stream, Legend dusted off a piano in the center of a deserted warehouse and sat down to play “Never Break,” his ballad about perseverance through adversity.
The awards show, which is also held amid Black Lives Matter protests across the country, has taken on a political tone, and Legend’s choice of track — which hinges on the chorus “we will never break” — felt especially poignant. As the song reached its peak, the singer-songwriter was joined by an all-Black choir.
Legend is up for two awards tonight: best collaboration and video of the year, both tied to his feature on DJ Khaled‘s track “Higher,” which also includes a posthumous feature from the late Nipsey Hussle.
He joins a jam-packed slate of BET Awards performers including Megan Thee Stallion, Jennifer Hudson, Roddy Ricch and Alicia Keys — with whom Legend recently battled during the Juneteenth edition of the “Verzuz” livestream series.
Watch Legend’s performance below.