With the 2022 BET Awards slowly, but surely, approaching and we now have a good idea of what musical guests we can expect to see perform at the end of the month.
Click To Watch Free ‘BET Awards 2022’ Live
On Thursday, the legendary platform announced the first round of performers slated to take the stage, per a press release sent to The Root.
The artists span multiple music genres such as R&B, hip-hop, pop, and gospel and include immensely talented folks like Babyface, Chance The Rapper, Chlöe, Ella Mai, Fireboy DML, Givēon, Jack Harlow, Joey Bada$$, Maverick City Music x Kirk Franklin, Latto, Lizzo, Muni Long, and Roddy Ricch.
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As previously reported by The Root, this year’s BET Awards will see the return of Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson as hostess. Earlier this week, it was also revealed that Sean P. “Diddy/Puff/Puffy/Puff Daddy/Love” Combs would be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Leading in musical nominations this year are Drake, Doja Cat, and Ari Lennox. Fellow nominees include Silk Sonic (Anderson . Paak, Bruno Mars), Chlöe, Terms, Jazmine Sullivan, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Baby Keem, Lil Baby, Lucky Daye, Given, City Girls, Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B., Latto, Saweetie, Alicia Keys and more.
On the TV/film front, nominees include Candyman, King Richard, RESPECT, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Summer of Soul, The Harder They Fall, and more. Actors who received recognition this year are Bel-Air’s Adrian Holmes and Jabari Banks, Black-ish’s Anthony Anderson, Snowfall’s Damson Idris, The Tragedy of Macbeth’s Denzel Washington, Godfather of Harlem, and RESPECT’s Forest Whitaker, This Is Us’ Sterling K. Brown, and King Richard’s Will Smith.
Aujanue Ellis, Coco Jones, Issa Rae, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Quinta Brunson, Regina King, and Zendaya also received noms for their respective roles in King Richard, Bel-Air, Insecure, Power Book II: Ghost, The Equalizer, Abbott Elementary, The Harder They Fall, and Euphoria/Spider-Man: No Way Home.
For the complete list of nominees, head on over to bet.com. The 2022 BET Awards goes down Sunday, June 26, airing live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at 8 p.m.ET only on BET.
Diddy has always been a pioneering force in our community, breaking barriers, achieving unprecedented heights, blazing new trails, and, in so doing, raising the bar for all of us,” BET CEO Scott Mills said in a statement. “His virtuosity is matched only by his range – from music to media, culture, business, and philanthropy. …We are delighted to have this opportunity to use our biggest stage to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of our friend Diddy.”
“Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs is an incomparable cultural force and creative visionary whose impact has created historic paradigm shifts across music, media, fashion, and lifestyle,” added Connie Orlando, BET executive vice president, specials, music programming, music strategy.
“It’s personally gratifying to celebrate and honor a longtime partner and friend of the network who, through the decades, has laid the blueprint for Black excellence through entertainment.”
“Puff’s contributions to culture transcend hip hop,” said Jesse Collins, BET Awards executive producer and founder and CEO, of Jesse Collins Entertainment. “Growing up in D.C., I watched his rise at Howard University as he repped Black excellence from day one. It’s an honor to celebrate him now, while he is still on his incredible journey.”
Combs has been highly visible on the awards show front this year. At the Oscars on March 27, he introduced a 50th-anniversary tribute to The Godfather. He hosted and served as co-executive producer of the Billboard Music Awards, which were held May 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
In its 22nd year, the BET Awards pride themselves on showcasing “the best, brightest, and most beautiful aspects of the Black experience – celebrating the present and future of Black music, while elevating the culture and being a driving force for social change.”
Orlando will oversee the show along with Jamal Noisette, VP, specials, music programming & music strategy, who will serve as co-executive producer for BET. Jesse Collins Entertainment is the production company for the show, with Collins, Dionne Harmon, and Jeannie Rouzan-Clay serving as executive producers.
Doja Cat is this year’s top nominee, with six nods. She is this year’s only artist, male or female, to be nominated in both R&B/pop and hip hop categories, a clear sign of her broad-based appeal.
Ari Lennox and Drake are runners-up, with four nods each.
Baby Keem, Silk Sonic, Chlöe, Future, H.E.R., Jazmine Sullivan, Ye (formerly Kanye West), Kendrick Lamar, Lil Baby, Mary J. Blige, and Terms each received three nominations.
Combs has won three BET Awards over the years: video of the year (2002) for “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II” (with Busta Rhymes & Pharrell Williams); Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice Award (2003) for “Bump, Bump, Bump” (with B2K); and best group (2011) for Diddy-Dirty Money.
Combs has had two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200: No Way Out (credited to Puff Daddy & the Family) in 1997 and Press Play (Diddy) in 2006. He has had five No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100: “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” (Puff Daddy featuring Ma$e) in 1997,
“I’ll Be Missing You” (Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112) in 1997, “Mo Money Mo Problems (The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Ma$e, 1997), “Bump, Bump, Bump” (B2K & P. Diddy) in 2003 and “Shake Ya Tailfeather” (Nelly/P. Diddy/Murphy Lee) in 2003.
Combs made arguably his most impactful awards show appearance in January 2020, when he gave a blunt and fiery speech in accepting the Salute to Industry Icons Award at the Clive Davis and Recording Academy’s Pre-Grammy Gala. Catching everyone in the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom by surprise, he revealed that he’d “been conflicted” about receiving the award in the days leading up to the gala.
Combs pulled no punches as he took the organization to the task. “Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys,” he noted. “Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be … And that stops right now.
“I’m officially starting the clock,” he continued. “You’ve got 365 days to get this sh– together. We need transparency, we need diversity.”
Combs’ courage in standing up for the hip-hop community and Black artists in general and taking on the Grammys at a marquee Grammy Week event earned respect and is likely to be referenced at least once as he receives this lifetime achievement award.
Three albums that were nominated for album of the year at the 64th annual Grammy Awards are also nominated in that category here: H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind, West’s Donda, and Doja’s Planet Her.
The competition in that category here also includes Tyler, the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost, which won a Grammy for best rap album, and the deluxe edition of Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales, which won a Grammy for best R&B album. The other two nominees in that category here are Drake’s Certified Lover Boy and Silk Sonic’s An Evening With Silk Sonic. (The latter album was released after the Grammy eligibility cut-off.)
Baby Keem, who was nominated for best new artist at the Grammys, is also nominated in that category here. He faces Benny The Butcher, Latto, Muni Long, Tems and Yung Bleu.
“Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat featuring SZA, which won a Grammy for best pop duo/group performance, and “Family Ties” by Baby Keem & Lamar, which won a Grammy for best rap performance, are among the hits competing for best collaboration.
King Richard, which received an Oscar nomination for best picture, and Summer of Soul, which won an Oscar as documentary (feature) are vying for best movie with Candyman, Respect, Space Jam: A New Legacy and The Harder They Fall.
Will Smith, who had both the best and worst night of his career at the Oscars, winning best actor for King Richard but upstaging his own moment of triumph by slapping Chris Rock and shouting obscenities, has a chance to redeem himself here. He is nominated for best actor, though he again faces Denzel Washington, nominated for The Tragedy of Macbeth. The two stars competed for best actor at numerous awards shows, culminating in the Oscars.
Two busy actors are nominated here for two performances (shown, in each case, as a joint entry). Forest Whitaker is nominated for best actor for his performances in Respect and Godfather of Harlem. Zendaya is nominated for best actress for her performances in Euphoria and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Nominations are determined by a voting academy that is comprised of entertainment pros in the fields of music, television, film, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, influencers and creative arts.
Hosted by Taraji P. Henson, the 2022 BET Awards will air live Sunday, June 26, on BET at 8 p.m. ET/PT from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Connie Orlando, BET’s executive vice president, specials, music programming, music strategy, and news will oversee the annual show, along with Jamal Noisette, VP, specials, music programming & music strategy, who will serve as co-executive producer for BET. Jesse Collins Entertainment is the production company for the show with Collins, Dionne Harmon, and Jeannie Rouzan-Clay serving as executive producers.
The rapper’s tweets deconstruct hierarchies of privilege. He shared how he found it hard to square a white rapper receiving more nominations from a Black entertainment platform than a queer Black rapper with equal, if not more, success: “Funny thing is industry baby was the biggest song me & jack released last year in the eligibility period but only one of us got a nomination,” Lil Nas X wrote.
Queen Latifah voiced her support for Lil Nas X, telling a TMZ reporter, “He should’ve been nominated … I don’t know what’s behind all that, but inclusion is always the key. That’s what we should be striving for. There’s enough room in this world for everybody.”
BET eventually released a statement directly in response to Lil Nas X’s attacks. “Unfortunately, this year, [Lil Nas X] was not nominated by BET’s Voting Academy, which is comprised of an esteemed group of nearly 500 entertainment professionals in the fields of music, television, film, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, influencers, and creative arts,” the organization wrote.
“No one from BET serves as a member of the Voting Academy. At BET, we are passionate advocates for the wonderful diversity that exists within our community. We are committed to using all of our platforms to provide visibility and inclusion for all of the many intersections of the Black community.”
“Bullshit,” Ernest Owens, journalist, and author of The Case for Cancel Culture, said in response to BET’s statement. “The industry plays favorites. And oftentimes favorites mean people who are not queer. The music [Lil Nas X] did before [Montero] played into the comforts of cis, heterosexual listeners.” To Owens, many listeners appear to be thinking: “He can be an artist that’s gay, but his content doesn’t have to be.”
This is not the first time the BET network has faced accusations of glossing over queer Black voices. The channel rarely featured programs starring queer characters before it signed up the multi-hyphenate Lena Waithe to work on the Twenties, among other projects, with the channel.
And apart from Lil Nas X’s own, explicitly queer performances have been absent from the network’s awards show, even amid an era of Janelle Monáes and Frank Oceans. This is partially why Lil Nas X’s performance at the ceremony last year felt powerful and rebellious.
On Tuesday, Lil Nas X teased a diss track. “Fuck BET,” he blares on the intro, a hypnotic synth playing underneath. He flashes a middle finger at the camera as he dances along to the song, mouthing the lyrics. By Friday evening, the video had 2m views on Twitter. A hit already.