The 2020 BET Awards premiered last night on the network in a virtual presentation amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, during the annual in memoriam segment, the network misidentified one of the deceased as former San Francisco mayor, Willie Brown, Jr.
The legendary politician is still alive at 86.
Former NFL star, Willie Brown, died in October of last year. He was a Hall of Fame cornerback who played with both the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders before going on to coach at California State University-Long Beach.
Will Brown, Jr. served in California’s State Assembly for 30 years, including 15 as speaker of the statehouse. He then ran for mayor and was elected the first African American mayor of San Francisco. Brown was succeeded by Gavin Newsom who is currently Governor of the state of California.
London Breed is the current mayor of San Francisco where she is the first Black woman and, after Brown, the second Black mayor of the city.
Hosted by Amanda Seales, the event made its national debut airing on CBS for the first time in its history.
The annual awards show celebrates creative expression and Black excellence across music, film, television, sports, and philanthropy. The event featured a number of performances and speeches dedicated to police brutality and the coronavirus pandemic.
Beyoncé was recognized with the show’s Humanitarian Award. During her speech, she thanked Black Lives Matter protestors.
“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” she said in her speech.
BET has yet to issue a statement about the mixup.
KQED reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez tweeted that he called Brown and that he responded with his trademark wit: “I’m not gonna correct them. Why correct them? I’m gonna make sure all my creditors take notice. The debt is canceled.”
So @BET just ran an in-memoriam for the WRONG Willie Brown.
So I called Da Mayor, Willie, and he said:
“I’m not gonna correct them. Why correct them?
I’m gonna make sure all my creditors take notice. The debt, is canceled.”
He’s gotten at least 30 calls so far. https://t.co/ups4WLIOKF
— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) June 29, 2020