Meek Mill gave a powerful performance, John Legend honored real-life heroes, Snoop Dogg brought out his biggest hits and more from Sunday night's show.
On Sunday night, the 2018 BET Awards returned to Microsoft Theater to honor the best in black entertainment. Hosted by Jamie Foxx, the star-studded event featured performances from R&B icons and newcomers alike, including Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, J.Cole, H.E.R and more. Big winners on the night included Black Panther, which was recognized for best movie and actor (Chadwick Boseman), and Kendrick Lamar, who won for best male hip-hop artist and album of the year.
Among the night's most memorable moments were a moving acceptance speech from Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, an impromptu rendition of "This Is America" by Childish Gambino and a powerful performance by Meek Mill. Read on for more of the BET Awards' most noteworthy bits.
Jamie Foxx went off-script several times throughout the awards show, including when he unsuspectingly called Childish Gambino — also known as Donald Glover — to the stage.
"This young man, Childish Gambino, Donald Glover — singer, songwriter, philanthropist, movie star, overall badass. A true artist. I wanna acknowledge you," Foxx praised the Atlanta star.
"I really was not expecting to get up here," Glover laughed.
Foxx then prompted the rapper with the opening beats to his most recent single "This Is America," to which he proceeded to riff a few verses from the song.
In the midst of a live broadcast, preshow hosts Terrence J and Cassie received a surprise interruption by security personnel.
During a preshow interview, a police officer appeared in front of the camera asking those involved in production to move. The abruptness of the event led viewers to wonder if the interruption had been staged.
Watch a clip of what happened in the tweet below:
Since his release from prison in April, Meek Mill has successfully returned to the rap scene — this time, utilizing his platform to push for criminal reform. The rapper hit the stage on Sunday night with similar intentions with the performance of his new song "Stay Woke."
Mill, donning a t-shirt bearing the faces of the late XXXTentacion and Jimmy Wopo, was joined onstage by Miguel, who is featured on the track. The performance heavily emphasized social issues of mass incarceration and police brutality.
Watch a clip of the performance below.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Black Panther continued its reign in film and pop culture, winning best movie. Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler made their way to the stage to accept the award.
"I'm gonna go ahead and let my director take this one," Jordan said, introducing Coogler. "He don't like talking too much, but if it wasn't without him, we wouldn't have this movie."
Coogler went on to thank the audience, specifically "Black Twitter," for their support. The director also urged the audience to stay connected to their roots, emphasizing the importance of remembering the influence of Africans who came before them such as Patrice Lumumba and Jomo Kenyatta.
"The film is about our experience being African-Americans, and also trying to capture the experience of being African on this planet," Coogler said. "For us, it was about tapping into that voice that we always hear that tells us to be proud of who we are and proud of where we come from."
Watch the speech below.
After winning the award for best new artist, SZA won over the crowd with a joyous acceptance speech.
"I've never won anything in front of other people," the R&B singer said.
SZA is coming off a whirlwind of a year in which her debut studio album, Ctrl, premiered at No. 3 on the Billboard charts. She then went on to become the 2018 Grammy Awards' most nominated female performer.
Watch the singer's acceptance speech below.
True to form, Tiffany Haddish hilariously accepted her win for best actress, while still managing to relay an inspiring message to kids watching at home.
"Guess what? You can achieve whatever it is you want in life, you just gotta believe in yourself," the actress expressed. "You can do anything!"
Haddish then gave a "special shoutout" to all her past boyfriends who didn't believe that she would make it in the industry.
R&B legend and eight-time Grammy winner Anita Baker was honored with BET's lifetime achievement award. Jamie Foxx, along with Ledisi, Yolanda Adams and Marsha Ambrosius, paid tribute to Baker by singing some of her classics. Foxx showed off his vocal chops and skills on the piano, while encouraging the audience to sing along with him to Baker's "Same Ole Love."
Watch a clip of the tribute below.
Rap icon Snoop Dogg performed a medley of some of his hit songs, including "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)" and "The Next Episode." The artist was then joined by Jamie Foxx and Tye Tribbett for a rendition of "Sunrise" and "You," backed by a gospel choir.
Watch the performance below.
Nicki Minaj took to the BET stage for a high-energy performance of her latest single "Chun Li." The stage was decorated as a video game backdrop to Minaj's performance, which soon turned into a sultry affair with a rendition of "Rich Sex."
The female rapper finished it off, joined by 2 Chainz and Big Sean, performing "Big Bank."
Watch the performance here:
Singer-songwriter John Legend honored six humanitarian heroes of the African-American community who demonstrated heroic bravery over the course of this past year.
"Typically, the BET Awards honors a celebrity humanitarian who has done something extraordinary for our world," Legend said. "But tonight, we want to honor a few of the individuals who have had the opportunity in their everyday lives to do something unexpected and impactful for our community."
Among the honorees were Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor Anthony Borges, Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr., 11-year old Naomi Wadler and more.