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Queen Latifah Reigns, DMX Remembered: The 2021 BET Awards

By Stereo Williams

The 2021 BET Awards certainly lived up to this year's theme:  “Year of the Black Woman.” 

Taraji P. Henson hosted the event, which marked its return to the live show format after last year's pandemic-shifted virtual event. This year, the BET Awards returned to an in-person, vaccinated audience complete with a red carpet.  Working with Los Angeles County to support community vaccination efforts and ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols, the show was big for the ladies, for fans and for Hip-Hop. 

Megan Thee Stallion, who took home "Video Of The Year" with Cardi for their hit "W.A.P.," stated during her speech:

“Black women — we are the culture, we been the culture, and in the future, we’re still gonna be the culture. So shout out to us.”

Queen Latifah was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and artists like H.E.R.,. SZA and Jazmine Sullivan, and actress Audra Day took home honors and made headlines. And the late, great DMX was honored by his Ruff Ryders compadres and collaborators with a heartfelt tribute. 

Monie Love, Rapsody, MC Lyte and Lil’ Kim performed a tribute to Latifah, including hits like "Ladies First" and “U.N.I.T.Y,” as the Oscar nominee looked on, getting emotional at several points. 

“I am so extremely moved, I don’t even know what to say,” Latifah said during her speech, thanking her loved ones for supporting “every crazy-ass thing I’ve done over the years" and praising BET for “creating an outlet for beautiful Blackness to thrive, to shine. When we couldn’t get played on the radio in other places, we couldn’t get our videos played in other places, there was BET that allowed us to be in our fullness and to shine to this night, right now, right here.”