The 22nd BET Awards took place last night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hosted by Taraji P. Henson, the star-studded event had no shortage of talent both new and old.
Among the night’s biggest winners was Kendrick Lamar, who took home awards for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist and Video of the Year (for “Family Ties” with Baby Keem). The Weeknd won for Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, while Anderson .Paak took the prize for Video Director of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Group. He shared the latter two with Bruno Mars, as the two of them make up the winning duo, Silk Sonic. .Paak wasn’t on hand, so Mars stepped up to claim the honors for both of them.
Jazmine Sullivan took it away for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist and Megan Thee Stallion rode away as Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. While Latto nabbed the Best New Artist award, one of the evening’s most attention-getting moments came from a young woman who was Latto’s competition for that honor. Muni Long left it all on the stage after her performance of her blockbuster hit “Hrs and Hrs.”
One of the biggest surprises arrived when Kanye West turned up with hat, dark glasses, and his face completely covered by a full-face mask, to help honor Sean “Diddy” Combs, the recipient of the evening’s lifetime achievement award. During his speech, West declared Diddy his favorite artist and observed, “back then it was so many rules to hip hop. He broke all of them. Broke down all the doors.” An all-star tribute followed, with artists like Mary J Blige, Jodeci, and Busta Rhymes performing a medley of Diddy’s biggest hits.
But that wasn’t the only surprise of the night. When Latto took the stage to sing “Big Energy,” a song that samples the Mariah Carey classic “Fantasy,” she was joined by a very special, unannounced guest: none other than Carey herself. Other memorable pairings included Ella Mai, Roddy Ricch, and Babyface, plus Brandy, Jack Harlow, and Lil Wayne.