BET Hip Hop Awards Adding International Honor

Little Simz - P 2019
Courtesy of BET International (Jack Bridgland)

Viacom International Media Networks Africa top executive Alex Okosi says the network is expanding its push to recognize "the influence of international artists globally" amid their growing appeal.

Viacom's BET International on Thursday unveiled the launch of a new category to honor artists from around the world during the BET Hip Hop Awards in the latest sign of fans' growing interest in performers from foreign countries.

Performers from Africa, Europe and Canada will compete for the new best international flow honor at the BET Hip Hop Awards, which are set to be held Oct. 5 in Atlanta, with the U.S. TV premiere set for Oct. 8. Internationally, the awards show will air on BET Africa on Oct. 9, as well as on on BET UK, BET France and BET South Korea on Oct. 10.

BET started recognizing international acts at the BET Awards nearly 10 years ago, now expanding that to the Hip Hop Awards. At the BET Awards, more than 100 artists have been nominated across all regions and categories to date, with Nigerian singer/songwriter/producer Davido winning the 2018 best international artist honor. 

The international category has been elevated amid the growing appeal of artists from around the world, according to the network. For the first time ever, it was incorporated into the 2018 BET Awards live broadcast rather than being featured in pre-recorded segments only airing during the international versions of the show. 

This year’s nominees for the inaugural best international flow prize at the BET Hip Hop Awards are Canadian singer-songwriter Tory Lanez; hip-hop/grime star Ghetts and rapper-singer Little Simz from the U.K.; hip-hop artist Sarkodie from Ghana; South African rapper, songwriter and producer Nasty C; Nigerian rapper, songwriter and actor Falz; and French rapper Kalash.

"The award will be presented on-stage during the live broadcast, confirming BET’s commitment to recognizing the influence of international artists globally," Alex Okosi, executive vp and managing director, BET International and Viacom International Media Networks Africa said in a statement. "I believe that opportunities like the BET Hip Hop Awards position international artists for global success long after the winners are announced."

Said Connie Orlando, BET U.S.'s head of programming: "We are committed to celebrating the global impact of hip-hop culture. By introducing the best international flow category, artists of all backgrounds, regardless of location, will have an opportunity to reach BET’s audience of over 90 million viewers worldwide."

Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment, will serve as executive producer of the BET Hip Hop Awards, along with Orlando and Jeannae Rouzan–Clay, vp specials at Jesse Collins Entertainment.