BET Awards: Beyonce, Megan Thee Stallion and More Highlight Black Lives Matter Movement

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Megan Thee Stallion

From impactful performances to moving acceptance speeches, here's how the 20th annual BET Awards showed solidarity with the anti-racism and anti-police brutality movement.

The Black Lives Matter movement took center stage at the 2020 BET Awards.

The Sunday night awards ceremony, hosted by comedian and actress Amanda Seales, saw a number of impactful musical performances and moving acceptance speeches from the evening's winners. 

Black Power fists adorned performance sets for a number of artists including Roddy Ricch, Anderson .Paak and Megan Thee Stallion. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery's names were among those that echoed throughout the program as artists also took time during their performances to bring attention to the victims of racism and police brutality. 

One of the first of many noteworthy moments of the evening was Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" performance. Preceded by a short clip of Keedron Bryant's chilling "I Just Wanna  Live" song, the musical number featured footage of Black Lives Matter protesters marching across the nation. The rap group's performance also brought attention to the recent killings of Taylor, Floyd and Arbery, calling out their names in the middle of their lyrics. 

"Fight for Breonna Taylor and the pain of her mother," Rapsody sang. "Racism is a cancer, Black thought is the answer," said the Roots' MC Black Thought. 

Performances also invoked imagery of the recent killings by police officials. DaBaby kicked off his "Rockstar" performance re-creating the killing of George Floyd as he rapped lyrics facedown on the ground with a knee to his neck. In their performance, DaBaby and Roddy Ricch highlighted the protests as background actors donned T-shirts reading those whose lives were lost to police violence and racism, including Trayvon Martin.

Alicia Keys performed a moving piano number called "Perfect Way to Die" that also brought attention to the lives lost to police brutality. The singer performed on an empty street as murals of the victims shined brilliantly on towering buildings. 

"I'll think of all you could've done. You'll stay forever young," Keys sang to the victims. "I guess you picked the perfect way to die."

The singer brought her number to a close by leaving her piano to kneel on a street colorfully decorated with the names of scores of lives lost.

Sunday's awards ceremony also saw a number of Black artists, including Billy Porter, Kendrick Lamar, Sterling K. Brown, Idris Elba, Ava DuVernay and Spike Lee, read the names of police brutality victims as they scrolled across the screen. 

Later in the evening, Beyoncé dedicated her humanitarian award win to her "brothers and sisters" marching in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. After receiving the honor from Michelle Obama, the singer asked protesters to continue pushing for change when they go to vote in November. 

"I encourage you to take action, to continue to change," she said. "We have to vote like our lives depend on it, because it does,"

The 2020 BET Awards aired on June 28 at 8 p.m. on ViacomCBS' networks including BET and BET HER.