What To Expect at First-Ever Virtual BET Awards In Honor Of Network’s 40th Anniversary

BET is celebrating a major anniversary. Not only does 2020 mark the 40th year since the network debuted, but this year is also the 20th anniversary of the BET Awards. The network had a series of live events planned to honor the corresponding anniversaries and found themselves having to adjust amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thankfully, BET has decided not to let the shutdown put a halt to their plans and have opted to move forward with the BET Awards with its first-ever virtual ceremony and honor the greatest acts in Black entertainment.

BET announces 2020 Award Show will proceed virtually

Fans look forward to the BET Awards every summer. Each year, the ceremony is jampacked with amazing performances and some surprises, and this year was set to be huge due to the network’s 40th anniversary and the award show commemorating its 20th year.

The show was planned to be broadcast live in June from the Microsoft Theater in LA. BET executives announced their plan to have the ceremony as scheduled without a studio audience in a virtual experience. President Scott Mills released an official announcement regarding the decision:

The BET Awards are a seminal event — the biggest celebration of black culture, black accomplishment. Our community, and the many millions who love black culture, look to the BET Awards for signature moments of enrichment, entertainment, and empowerment. Recognizing the unique role the BET Awards plays for so many, and the challenging times we find ourselves in, we know it was more important than ever to deliver the BET Awards in 2020.

The annual three day BET Experience event that mirrors a festival and typically features parties, performances, and panel discussions leading up to the award ceremony has been canceled due to new safety guidelines. The event will return in 2021.

What to expect at the 2020 virtual BET Awards

The award ceremony is currently scheduled for Sunday June 28 at 8:00 PM EST. While a list of performers and nominees have not been revealed yet, it’s expected to be a mixture of current popular artists and legends to honor the anniversary. The show is normally jam-packed to celebrate music, highlight entertainers in philanthropy, and introduce new artists. 

Historically, the ceremony has been hosted by comedians. Previous hosts include Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey and Cedric The Entertainer, Mo’Nique, Leslie Jones, and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

There are always several highly anticipated moments, including the opening performance – which is always from the hottest performer of the year. Other moments that fans look forward to are the Lifetime achievement award and mini skits curated throughout the show by the host.

The 2019 awards featured a heartfelt tribute to late rapper Nipsey Hussle and honored Tyler Perry for his contributions to film, television, and theater. Actress Regina Hall hosted the ceremony for the first time. Performances included Lil’ Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, Cardi B, and Lizzo. Mary J. Blige received the Lifetime Achievement Award and delivered a stellar 20-minute performance with appearances by Lil’ Kim and Method Man.

The network is looking forward to bringing fans a phenomenal experience and feels it is much-needed during this time.

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