The 2019 BET Awards gave some of our favorite actors some coveted awards!
Sunday night, BET gave If Beale Street Could Talk actress Regina King the award for Best Actress, and Creed II‘s Michael B. Jordan was awarded for Best Actor. Marsai Martin, Hollywood’s youngest producer ever, earned the Young Stars Award. Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman won the award for Best Movie.
There was steep competition within these film and TV categories. Hall was up against Best Actress nominees Issa Rae, Regina Hall (who also hosted the awards show), Taraji P. Henson, Tiffany Haddish and Viola Davis. Jordan was in competition with Anthony Anderson, Jordan’s Black Panther co-star Chadwick Boseman, Denzel Washington, Mahershala Ali and Omari Hardwick. Martin was nominated alongside other young actors Caleb McLaughlin, Lyric Ross, Michael Rainey Jr. and Miles Brown. Film’s up against BlacKkKlansman included Creed II, If Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and The Hate U Give.
Tyler Perry also won the Ultimate Icon Award for his career in the film and television industry. In a speech that echoed the same themes Lena Waithe attempted to make in her New York Times interview regarding Black Hollywood paying it forward for other Black filmmakers, Perry discussed his own ability to help others in their careers. He mentioned hiring Black actors who were being overlooked by Hollywood, such as Taraji P. Henson, Idris Elba and Viola Davis and creating Tyler Perry Studios in “one of the poorest Black neighborhoods in Atlanta” to inspire kids to reach their dreams. Ironically enough, the land he built his studio on was once Confederate Army base Fort McPherson. “There were Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved,” he said, adding, “Now that land is owned by one Negro.”
“…Rather than being an icon, I want to be an inspiration,” he said. “…I want you to hear this: Every dreamer in this room, there are people whose lives are tied to your dream. Own your stuff, own your business, own your way.”
The Exonerated Five — Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr., Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise–were also a part of the night’s presenters. The group, whose stories were the focus of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries When They See Us, introduced a powerful performance OF “Lord Is Coming” by H.E.R. and YBN Cordae.
Also on Sunday night, the memory of late rapper Nipsey Hussle was honored by his family and a star-studded performance featuring DJ Khaled, Marsha Ambrosius, YG and John Legend. Late director and Snowfall creator/executive producer John Singleton was also honored by Morris Chestnut and Damson Idris.
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Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for BET