(July 1, 2024). Here are DJROBBLOG’s 12 takeaways from last night’s 2024 BET Awards show (held Sunday, June 30, at L.A.’s Peacock Theater).

The show was one for the ages, especially if you’re an Usher or Lauryn Hill fan, or a fan of modern-day hip-hop/R&B in general.  But there was much more (or less) to the show, depending upon one’s perspective, so let’s get right to what left the biggest impressions on this blogger.

(Spoiler alert: my perspective may not match that of the many younger viewers the show is clearly targeting.)

One.  Lauryn Hill was definitely “on time.”

Ms. Lauryn Hill at the 2024 BET Awards

It was good to see Ms. Lauryn Hill perform with Wyclef Jean, her former and current Fugees group mate.  Ms. Hill, who self-mockingly uttered the words “on time” into a hot mic before beginning her performance, also shared the stage with her son YG Marley (grandson of Bob) who performed “Praise Jah in the Moonlight” with his mom.  Marley and Hill have made appearances together earlier this year, and the Fugees (with Lauryn) are set to continue their “Miseducation Anniversary Tour” — commemorating her landmark 1998 solo album — later this summer.  The Fugees (with Pras Michel, who was absent from BET, joining them on tour) are back!

Two. Hill and her Miseducation Still Stand Above the Rest.

Ms. Hill — who donned a long, multi-layered dress that appeared to dwarf the legendary rapper/singer — was likely cloaked in more cloth than all 18 of the night’s other female performers combined!  Was Ms. Hill sending the new generation of scantily clad female performers a not-so-subtle message?  It also spoke volumes that, in a year where female rappers are clearly in abundance, the show’s producers had to go back to a 30-year veteran to find just one socially conscious MC whose lyrics didn’t carry the bad bitch/booty-bouncing theme de jour.  Hill, for her part, performed the title track of her landmark album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, followed by a rousing performance of “Lost Ones.” Hmmm, no strays fired there.  

Three. Women Easily Dominated.

Megan Thee Stallion emerges from a large snake egg while performing “Boa” at the 2024 BET Awards

Speaking of the other performers, there were 19 female acts in all, including host Taraji P. Henson. That compared to only eight male performers: Will Smith, Shaboozey (w/ rapper J-Kwon joining him, see No. 9 takeaway below), rapper Gunna and Afrobeats artist Skillibeng (both in a featured role for South African artist Tyla), multi-hyphenate Childish Gambino (as part of an otherwise all-female, multi-artist tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award winner Usher), plus YG Marley and Wyclef Jean — the latter two sharing the stage in support of Ms. Lauryn Hill.  That means only Will Smith and Shaboozey were male headliners at this year’s show. Yep, the women clearly owned the night!

Four. Taraji P. Henson “Popped out” as host.

Taraji P. Henson gives us a Kendrick Lamar nod in his absence at the 2024 BET Awards

Henson’s performance was part of her grand entrance where she donned a Kendrick Lamar-styled red hoodie (similar to what the rapper wore during his “Pop Out” concert in L.A. last month) and did a mock version of K.Dot’s No. 1 Drake-diss track “Not Like Us” titled “It’s About Us,” a nod to the night’s celebration of Black culture (and Taraji’s recent headlines about pay inequality — specifically hers — in Hollywood).  Henson has made some great points about Hollywood’s double standards, but she probably didn’t do herself any favors with the Hollywood brass last night.

Five. No Love for Drake, lots for Kendrick.

While we’re discussing Kendrick, who wasn’t present at the show, the “Euphoria” rapper won one BET Award for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist.  That’s one more than his chief rival, Drake (also absent), who was the night’s most nominated artist with seven nods but zero wins. Of course, those nominations came before he was rendered hip-hop’s persona non-grata by K-Dot. That fact, plus the host’s entrance using the beats that essentially muted the Canadian rapper’s Spring and early Summer, mean that even during a celebration of “culture’s biggest night,” Drake can’t seem to catch a break.

Six. The “bad bitch/viral beef” era is here to stay.

Sexyy Red performs “U My Everything” without featured artist Drake at the 2024 BET Awards

Back to the females, they definitely ruled the night. The 19 women (and young girls) who performed were, in order of appearance: Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, Victoria Monét, Sexyy Red, Van Van, Heiress Diana Harris, Tanner Adell, GloRilla, Latto, Tyla, Ice Spice, Keke Palmer, Summer Walker, Coco Jones, Marsha Ambrosius, Chloë, Tinashe, Teyana Taylor, and Ms. Lauryn Hill.  Most of them, particularly the rappers, followed a similar, well-worn blueprint: plenty of dancers with tight, booty-revealing outfits, plenty of twerking, and heavy doses of “I’m the baddest bitch” lyricism.  It was further proof that hip-hop is knee-deep in its “bad bitch/viral beef” era and won’t be coming out of it anytime soon!

Seven. Victoria Monét continues to rise up; kiddie acts show up; Sexyy Red gets political.

Van Van and Heiress Harris get into their kiddie act at the 2024 BET Awards

But women also had some of the show’s best moments.  Aside from Hill’s grand performance, R&B singer Victoria Monét, who won two awards for her stellar No. 1 hit single “On My Mama,” gave a stirring speech supporting higher pay for the industry’s backup dancers and the need to unionize them.  Young emerging rappers Van Van and Heiress Harris — neither of whom appeared to be more than 10 years old — looked cute doing their collaboration on the uplifting kiddie song “Be You.”  New singer Tyla dazzled with a routine that included performers walking on stilts. And, as ratchet as she may be, Sexyy Red has clearly become a fan favorite and is hard not to like with her unapologetic, borderline comedic, hood-ho persona.  Her act featured the rapper twerking to “Get It Sexyy” in front of a large image of the White House as part of a mock “Sexyy for President” campaign for the 2024 election.  I’m sure she’d receive at least a thousand votes if she were actually running for the land’s highest office.  

Eight. The Biden Campaign loomed large, while Trump’s “Black jobs” comment gets spoofed.

And speaking of the upcoming election, Henson and others made it clear on which side of the political isle they stand as the 3-time host was part of a paid Biden campaign ad where she had a pre-recorded FaceTime chat with VP Kamala Harris about the issues at stake for Black folks, women and the LGBTQ+ community in November. It even prompted a “they not like us” quip from Harris, referring to right-wing extremists. Comedienne B. Simone spoofed Donald Trump’s viral “immigrants are taking Black Jobs” comment by polling audience members about whether certain jobs, like a TSA agent, qualified as such (that skit played right into some of Trump’s stereotypes, btw). Taraji also disparagingly mentioned the extreme right wing’s “Project 2025” at least twice, and on multiple occasions implored people to vote to “protect their freedoms.”  She didn’t name candidates but we knew who she was stumping for (and against).

Nine. The Black Country music renaissance continues.

Country rapper Shaboozey and ‘00s rapper J-Kwon square off in mashup of “A Bar Song” and “Tipsy”

Two country performers – female singer Tanner Adell and male rapper Shaboozey — graced the stage (sadly, no Cowboy Carter was spotted in her spurs anywhere).  Adell’s performance of “I Let a Cowboy Break My Heart” was inexplicably cutoff early for a commercial break — not a good look for BET’s inclusion attempts.  But Shaboozey later made good with a rousing performance of his No. 1 Billboard Hot Country Songs chart smash, “A Bar Song (Tipsy).”  The biggest surprise was when Shaboozey brought out J-Kwon, the 2000s-era rapper whose original No. 2 hit “Tipsy” inspired “A Bar Song.”  The two rappers performed lines from their respective hits before doing a mashup of their main hooks in a convincing display of country and hip-hop fusion. Another takeaway: “A Bar Song” — currently at No. 2 — just significantly upped its chances of becoming the next No. 1 song on the Hot 100 (for the week ending July 13).

Ten. Will Smith’s road to redemption is paved in gospel.

Will Smith goes through hell and back during his performance at the 2024 BET Awards

Will Smith’s return was a fiery welcoming home of sorts.  While his Oscars ouster was self-inflicted two-plus years ago, Smith’s road to redemption included this BET Awards pitstop, where the rapper/actor showed off some MC skills that would’ve surprised even his loyal rap fanbase 30-plus years ago.  The internet is calling his performance Kanye-esque (it did have a gospel Sunday Service choir led by Kirk Franklin), but Smith’s performance of his new song “You Can Make It” was definitely a worthy one.  And his recent successes, including the box-office blockbuster film Bad Boys: Ride or Die plus this appearance, prove that one can indeed make it after serious adversity, self-inflicted or otherwise.

Eleven. Usher, who was definitely the star of the night (even without performing), did some much-needed venting.

Usher receives an award for “Good, Good” at the 2024 BET Awards

Usher is having a landmark year, and deservedly so.  After a record-breaking Super Bowl Halftime show plus a new album earlier in 2024, the “Yeah!” singer was honored with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award and the celebration was befitting his iconic status as a 30-plus-year megastar.  No fewer than ten performers paid a 17-minute tribute with energetic renditions of just some of his many hits.  They included Childish Gambino and nine females: Keke Palmer, Summer Walker, Coco Jones, Marsha Ambrosious, Chloë, Tinashe, Teyana Taylor & Victoria Monét, and Latto.  Usher’s emotional acceptance speech went slightly off the rails (for live TV) and he was muted, overly so it seemed, during a long, expletive-filled, impassioned speech where he gave a nod to his mother and “forgave” his father who left him at a young age, a decision the singer oddly attributed to the issues that Black men face in society.  In a much-needed counterpoint, he also implored all the Black dads out there today to take care of their sons and daughters before acknowledging his offspring in the audience (and at home).  Usher definitely received his well-earned flowers while he was around to smell them. 

Twelve. Super producers Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, L.A. Reid, Babyface, and Jermaine Dupri graced the same stage!

What we didn’t hear during Usher’s speech at the 2024 BET Awards

But the sweetest part of the Usher tribute (and the night in general for this blogger) was seeing Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis on the same stage with their once-rivals L.A. Reid/Babyface — both iconic producer duos whose combined contributions to 1980s and ‘90s R&B and pop music was unparalleled during their heydays.  It was surreal to watch Jam & Lewis introduce Usher’s accomplishments and then have ‘Face and Reid present him with the lifetime honor.  They were later joined onstage by fellow super producer Jermaine Dupri, who was instrumental in Usher’s ‘90s transition from stardom to international icon.  Having all of those producers onstage together was a true show of Black excellence and support for one of the greatest entertainers of our time.  Incidentally, Jam & Lewis are already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It’s time to put Reid & Babyface — and Usher — in there as well!

Overall, I’d say this year’s show was pretty good.  A little monotonous in spots with all the booty-bouncing, but entertaining nonetheless.  If you missed the 2024 BET Awards, I’m sure it is airing on BET+ or any number of streaming services (along with repeat airings on BET itself).


DJRob (he/him) is a freelance music blogger from the East Coast who covers R&B, hip-hop, disco, pop, rock and country genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @djrobblog and on Meta’s Threads.

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By DJ Rob

2 thoughts on “Twelve Takeaways from the 2024 BET Awards: Usher, Lauryn, Will, Megan, Shaboozey, Taraji, and more…”
  1. Okay, imma say it. I need to see a whole lot more talent and a lot less ass. I’m sorry, but in 50 years, I ask what have we come to? I also watched the pre-show #disappointment. My weekend wasn’t good. I’d rather see replays of the Source Awards a-la-a Tupac and Biggie. Plus Douda was smoked on The Chi, and I need Ghost to come back in the end on Power 🤦🏾‍♂️

    1. Poor thing. You’ve got issues that go beyond Sexyy Red shaking her non-sexy ass! As John Mellencamp once said, “don’t confuse the problem with the issue, girl.” Lol

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