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On the Night of 25th of June 2023, the prestigious BET Awards took place at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. It was a night that was full of colour and beauty, with Beyonce and SZA emerging as the stars of the night, with most award wins (three each). Beyoncé won two awards for Break My Soul, a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100: the BET Her Award and the viewer’s choice award. These awards extended her lead as the artist with the most wins in BET Awards history. Beyonce is the first three-time winner of the BET Her Award, which honours motivational and empowering songs that centre on black women. She previously won for Formation and Brown Skin Girl (featuring her daughter Blue Ivy, Wizkid and Saint Jhn). SZA edged in to win best female R&B/pop artist for the first time. Her popular song Kill Bill won video of the year. Drake, who led the field of nominees with seven nods, won two awards. He won best group for his collaboration with 21 Savage, and best collaboration for Future’s Wait for You, on which he was featured along with Tems. This was Drake’s second win for best group. He won seven years ago for his collaboration also with Future. The Lifetime Achievement Award, which was introduced in 2001 (an award given to a veteran artist or group who has made notable contributions to the music industry) had hip-hop legend Busta Rhymes as its recipient. The twelve time Grammy nominated rapper had his award handed to him by Swizz Beatz. Legends such as Diddy, Janet Jackson, Missy Elliot, and Pharell Williams recorded a video tribute to Busta Ryhmes. Latto, the winner of last year’s Best New Artist award, won best female hip-hop artist for the first time. She beat three past winners in the category – Nicki Minaj (a seven-time winner), Megan Thee Stallion (a three-time winner), and Cardi B (a two-time winner). Coco Jones won best new artist, prevailing in an all-female field that included GloRilla and Ice Spice. Jones is the first female R&B singer (as opposed to rapper) to win in this category since SZA five years ago. Latto was nominated in the same category at the Grammys, though she lost to jazz singer Samara Joy. Nigerian Superstar Burna Boy won Best International Act for the fourth time in the past five years, making him the most awarded Nigerian in this category. The winner last year was Tems, who also hails from Nigeria. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won best movie, five years after the original Black Panther had won. This marks the first time that a sequel has won in this category. Angela Bassett (who played Ramonda in that film) won best actress here, a few months after she lost the Oscar for best supporting actress to Jamie Lee Curtis. Surprisingly, this is Bassett’s first win in that category. The gloomy part of the Awards show was that only six awards were presented during the show that ran for nearly four hours, and just two winners (Latto and Coco Jones) were present to accept their awards on stage. Teyana Taylor won the award for Best Video Director and the award was accepted by her mother, who called Teyana to give her the good news and showed her image on the phone to the camera. Burna Boy and Beyonce were not present to receive their awards, in person or via video-call.

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