Beyoncé delivered a powerful speech at the BET Awards, telling protesters who have taken to the streets for Black Lives Matter demonstrations their “voices are being heard.”
The chart-topping singer made the comment while accepting BET’s coveted Humanitarian Award.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama presented Beyoncé with the humanitarian honor for her charitable and philanthropic efforts — specifically with her BeyGOOD initiative, which aims to empower young women and provides scholarships to women who were pursuing studies in music, literature, creative arts, or African-American studies.
“Ever since she was a little girl in Houston, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has been lighting up stages and gracing the world with her talent, with her generosity of spirit, and with her love for her community,” Obama said. “You can see it in everything she does, from her music that gives voice to Black joy and Black pain, to her activism that demands justice for Black lives.”
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The ceremony for the 20th annual BET Awards was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In her acceptance speech, Beyoncé dedicated her award to protesters who have taken to the streets in cities across the country following the in-custody death of George Floyd.
“I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change,” she said. “Your voices are being heard, and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.”
She also told protesters to make sure they go to the polls in November.
“Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote. I’m encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system. We have to continue to do this together,” she said. “We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does.”
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Beyoncé’s philanthropic efforts include a partnership with UNICEF to create a clean water initiative in East Africa called “BeyGOOD 4 Burundi,” working to bring safe water to women and children in East Africa. Additionally, she created the #IDIDMYPART initiative along with her mother Tina Knowles-Lawson to encourage Houston residents to get tested for coronavirus.
The singer was nominated in several categories and won the BET HER Award for “Brown Skin Girl” featuring her daughter Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn.
The 2020 BET Awards aired on Sunday, June 28 on ViacomCBS’ networks including BET, BET HER, and CBS.