Megan Thee Stallion, H.E.R. and Queen Latifah were among the stars who were honored Sunday night with hardware during the 2021 BET Awards hosted in person at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles that aimed to highlight the achievements of Black women in the entertainment industry.
Taraji P. Henson hosted the award show celebrating Black excellence under the theme of “Year of the Black Woman.”
Megan Thee Stallion, who led all nominations tied with DaBaby at seven, won a four awards, including Best Female Hip Hop Artist.
While accepting the statue on stage before a live audience, she thanked her late mother, Holly Aleece Thomas, for inspiring her to become a performer.
“Thank you, Mama, for putting it in me to even want to be a female rapper and putting a work effort inside of me and the drive and the push,” she said. “She can’t be here with me today, but I still think about her every day and she’s the reason I keep going.”
Megan Thee Stallion, who performed “Thot “Sh*t” during the night, also won the Viewer’s Choice Award. With Cardi B, she won Best Collaboration and Video of the Year for their hit “WAP.”
Rapper and actress Queen Latifah won this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and gave an impassioned and emotional speech during which she thanked God, her friends and family and BET for creating an outlet “for beautiful Blackness to thrive, to shine.”
“When we couldn’t get played on the radio in other places, when we couldn’t get our videos played in other places, there was BET that allowed us to be in our fullness and to shine to this night, right now, right here,” she said. “Be Black. Black is beautiful.”
Other women to pick up awards during the show include H.E.R. for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Andra Day for Best Actress and Naomi Osaka for Sportswoman of the Year.
Men were also honored during the night with the late Chadwick Boseman winning Best Actor, Lil Baby winning Best Male Hip Hop Artist, Chris Brown taking home the Best Male R&B/Pop Artist award and LeBron James winning Sportsman of the Year.
Album of the year went to Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan. During the night, Cardi B performed with the group Migos and unveiled that she was pregnant with her second child by wearing a tight sequenced outfit with the belly section cut out.
A press release published as she went on stage proclaimed: “Taking the stage wearing custom Dolce & Gabbana, Cardi showed off her baby bump as she shared wonderful news with her husband by her side,” Variety reported.
Cardi B and Migos member Offset have been married since 2017. Lil Nas X, H.E.R. and Silk Sonic were among others to perform during the night.