Entertainment West Edition

Rapper Meek Mill gives topical performance at BET Awards

Wave Staff and Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES — Rapper Meek Mill gave a performance that was crafted with purpose at the BET Awards June 24 at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live.

Mill’s “Stay Woke” featuring Miguel, concentrated on police brutality and gun violence.

His set reenacted black men imprisoned, a child being shot and the survival of black people in disenfranchised communities.

With their names on his sweatshirt, Mill’s act was in honor of Florida rapper, XXXTentacion, 20, and Pittsburgh rapper, Jimmy Wopo, 20, who were both killed June 18.

BET honored six Humanitarian Heroes, whose acts of heroism lifted the audience to their feet.

The honorees were recognized by John Legend. They included Naomi Walker, an 11-year-old activist who delivered a speech at March for Our Lives; James Shaw Jr., who disarmed a Waffle House gunman; Mamoudou Gassama, who saved a dangling 4-year-old outside of a building; Justin Blackman, the only student to leave his high school on National Student Walk-Out Day; Shaun King, a journalist influential in unfolding stories affecting the black community; and Anthony Borges, a Florida hero who was shot five times, throwing himself in a line of fire to shield his classmates.

A wide variety of performers took home hardware during the awards portion of the show.

Notable winners were Best Female R&B-Pop Artist winner Beyonce; Best Male R&B-Pop Artist winner Bruno Mars; Best Male Hip-Hop Artist winner Kendrick Lamar; and Best Female Hip-Hop Artist winner Cardi B.

Lamar also took home the Best Album of the Year honors for his project, “Damn.”

Drake’s “God’s Plan” won Video Of The Year and singer SZA was chosen Best New Artist.

Best Collaboration went to DJ Khaled ‘s “Wild Thoughts,” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller.

R&B legend and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Anita Baker was given the BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Baker’s career has spanned four decades and includes eight Grammy Awards for songs such as “Giving You The Best That I Got,” “Sweet Love” and “Rapture.” She has released seven platinum albums.

Baker announced her retirement earlier this year and is embarking on a farewell concert series.

Academy and Grammy award-winning actor-musician-comedian Jamie Foxx hosted the ceremony for the second time. He previously hosted in 2009.

Actors Tyler Perry, Regina Hall and Omari Hardwick were among the presenters. Performers included J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Migos, Snoop Dogg and Janelle Monae.

Other winners included: Migos, as best group; Ava DuVernay, video director of the year; and Lecrae, featuring Tory Kelly, “I’ll Find You,” received the Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award.

Additional winners were Tiffany Haddish, Best Actress; Chadwick Boseman, Best Actor; Yara Shahidi, Young Stars Award; “Black Panther,” Best Movie; Serena Williams, Sportswoman of the Year Award;

LeBron James, Sportsman of the Year Award; Mary J. Blige, “Strength of a Woman,” BET Her Award; Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow,” Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award; and Davido (Nigeria), Best International Act.

Kamerie Gibson contributed to this report.  

Rapper Meek Mill gives an electrifying “Stay Woke” performance at the 2018 BET Awards program in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of BET)