Actor, activist and entrepreneur Jesse Williams was honored at Sunday night’s BET Awards, and his acceptance speech was everything!The Advancement Project board member not only gave an emotionally charged speech, but also dedicated his award to his fellow organizers.
“This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers of students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do,” said Williams, who linked arms with Ferguson activists in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in the fall of 2014 and executive-produced Stay Woke, a documentary which traced the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement and debuted on BET in May.
Williams also paid homage to black women, who are often times the unsung heroes of the movement.“Black women who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves.” “We can and will do better for you,” he said. Williams reminded attendees to remember those who died and why we’re still fighting to make people understand that black lives do matter. And he also spoke a word about the culture vultures.
Last night, Black Entertainment Television held its 15th annual BET Awards celebration, honoring musical legends Janet Jackson and Smokey Robinson, as well as radio and television personality Tom Joyner with special tributes and awards. Jason Derulo, Ciara and Tinashe did a tribute in dance to Jackson before she received her Ultimate Icon Award from longtime producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Performances by Alicia Keys,Janelle Monae, Jidenna, Kendrick Lamar, Tyga and Chris Brown, to name a few, also energized the event, and it was no surprise when Best Acting awards went to deserving “Empire” darlings Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. To see the full list of winners, read below:
Best New Artist Sam Smith
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist Kendrick Lamar
Common Big Sean
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Nicki Minaj
Best Actor Terrence Howard
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist Beyoncé
Kyemah McEntyre stole the show yet again through a gorgeously handcrafted ensemble designed for singer-songwriter and Power actress Naturi Naughton at the 2015 BET Awards.
McEntyre’s orange Afrocentric-print dress featured a low cut V-neck, open cross back and trumpeting mermaid bottom. Posing gracefully in the dazzling number by McEntryre, Naughton and photographers alike were clearly impressed with the New Jersey teen’s work. Naughton specifically requested a dress reminiscent of her African roots, Pop Sugar reports. The Notorious actress also wanted to debut her hometown’s talent to the small screens, and what better opportunity than the largest Black excellence celebration of the year? The New Jersey teen told Necole Bitchie that Naughton shot her an email explaining her vision for the dress.
“Naturi and her beautiful soul welcomed me despite my experience with Fashion Designing,” McEntyre said. “She wanted to shed light on young people from her community [East Orange, New Jersey] and that she did. I enlisted a local seamstress by the name of Markell Mockabee, who brought my design to life.”
The 18-year-old first drew attention when she posted her stunning custom-made prom dress to Instagram, complete with a ravishing Afro and V-shaped headpiece. Penning a letter regarding the inspiration for her dress and messages of self-acceptance, the blossoming young designer’s gown went viral. Her story was even more gripping after she revealed that she had been bullied throughout high schoolfor her appearance.
Since the debut of her prom dress, she said that her mailbox was never the same, but it hasn’t affected her faith nor her drive. The college-bound beauty plans to use her success to motivate other young girls to be themselves.
“People ask me all the time how does it feel, and I tell them it’s just amazing to be celebrated for just being myself. I consider myself to be an artist, fashion designer, and self-identity activist.