The 7 best moments at the 2021 BET Awards

The annual awards show saw jaw-dropping performances from Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Nas X, Jazmine Sullivan and more

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The 2021 BET Awards was a celebration for the culture, filled with truly memorable performances and tributes.

From chart-topping rappers like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, to honoring industry titans like Queen Latifah and the late DMX, this year’s ceremony left no stone unturned, and featured some of the best live performances of the year. Check out our favorite moments from the show below:

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Lena Waithe presents Megan Thee Stallion with the Best Female Hip Hop Artist award at the BET Awards 2021 on June 27, 2021. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

Kirk Franklin and Lil Baby

Kirk Franklin and Lil Baby opened the awards ceremony this year with a powerful performance of “We Win” from the Space Jam: A New Legacy soundtrack. The high-energy performance saw the two artists performing with a group of soulful backup dancers and singers. The song is the first to be released from the movie soundtrack, which is officially set to drop on July 9.

Cardi B’s big announcement

Cardi B broke the internet and rocked the BET stage at the same time. The rapper joined Migos in their performance at the BET Awards, while simultaneously announcing her pregnancy to the world.

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Cardi B (second from L) and (L-R) Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff of Migos perform onstage at the BET Awards 2021. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

The “Up!” performer shared an official pregnancy announcement to her Instagram page as she performed, creating a perfect storm and a Twitter frenzy.

H.E.R.’s lofty performance

H.E.R. continues to score at every award show, and the BET awards were no exception. The Grammy and Oscar winner descended from the rafters to perform the opening track on her new album, “We Made It.” During the performance, she also showed off her multiple skills, as she not only played the drums but finished off with a thrilling guitar solo.

Megan’s big night

In an ‘icy’ performance, Megan Thee Stallion debuted her hit single, “Thot S–.” In a black latex corset and boots, the rapper took the stage with backup dancers and plenty of bars.

The Houston-based rhymestress also took home almost every award she was nominated for, including Video of the Year and Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.

In one of her speeches, Megan honored her late mother, Holly Thomas, sharing, “Thank you momma for putting it in me to even want to be a female rapper, and putting the work ethic inside of me and the drive and push…she can’t be here with me today, but I still think about her everyday and she is the reason why I keep going.”

Thomas died of a cancerous brain tumor in 2019.

Jazmine Sullivan takes the stage with Maxine Waters

The acclaimed R&B singer premiered her brand new song, “Tragic,” at the BET Awards, with a special guest. As theGrio previously reported, the singer’s latest song features Congresswoman Maxine Waters in the intro reciting her famous line, “reclaiming my time.”

Waters herself took the stage at the beginning of Sullivan’s impressive set, before the singer brought out Ari Lennox to sing their duet from Heaux Tales, “On It.” The singer took home the coveted Album of the Year award at the ceremony, and accepted alongside her mother, who she revealed is in remission after a breast cancer diagnosis two years ago.

Lil Nas X brings Pride to the BET Awards

The openly gay rapper took to the stage and gave viewers a brand new rendition of his hit song, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” The Egyptian-themed performance referenced “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson through its choreography, and showed the rapper expressing his truth via his energetic performance.

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Lil Nas X attends the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images,,)

In a finale fitting for the last weekend of Pride Month, Lil Nas X concluded the song by making out with one of his male dancers as the crowd roared.

After immediately trending on social media, Lil Nas X began to engage with fans and admirers tweeting him, including Diddy. He wrote in a tweet to the “Old Town Road” rapper, “Lil Nas X did that!! Be fearless!!!”

Lil Nas X responded to the tweet in disbelief, writing, “WHATTTT.”

Memorable tributes

Outside of the inspiring performances, the ceremony was also filled with powerful tributes to legends of the culture. As theGrio reported, Queen Latifah was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

After a moving tribute video and star-studded performance of some of her greatest hits by Monie Love, Lil’ Kim, Rapsody, and MC Lyte, the rapper, actress, and producer thanked her family and peers, concluding her acceptance speech by wishing everyone a ‘Happy Pride’ month.

The show also featured an emotional DMX tribute at the end of the ‘In Memoriam’ sequence. Busta Rhymes, Method Man and Swizz Beatz honored the late rapper with renditions of his classic hits.

Michael K. Williams also appeared in the tribute, and Black Twitter immediately called for the actor to play DMX in a biopic of his life.

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