By Mesfin Fekadu , AP
BET will celebrate its 40th year as a network, as well as it 20th awards show, on Sunday — but the event will go on virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-hour show will be jam-packed with heavy hitters currently dominating the pop charts and streaming services, including DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Summer Walker, Kane Brown and Chloe x Halle. All-stars like Alicia Keys, John Legend, Lil Wayne, Jennifer Hudson, Nas, Questlove and Black Thought of the Roots, Public Enemy and Usher will also perform.
The show is an annual celebration of Black entertainment and culture, and this year’s ceremony will be the first major awards show since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked global protests aimed at reforming police actions and removing statues and symbols considered racist from public places.
Comedian, actress and TV personality Amanda Seales will host the 2020 BET Awards, which will air on CBS for the first time. The show will also air on BET and BET HER at 8 p.m. EDT.
Drake is the leading nominee: He’s up for six honors, including video of the year and best male hip-hop artist. For both best collaboration and the viewer’s choice award, Drake is nominated twice thanks to the hits “No Guidance” with Chris Brown and “Life Is Good” with Future.
Ricch and Megan Thee Stallion follow Drake with five nominations each. Megan Thee Stallion, who recently topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her Beyoncé-assisted “Savage” remix, is nominated for video of the year, best female hip-hop artist, best collaboration, the viewer’s choice award and album of the year for “Fever.”
Ricch, who won his first Grammy Award earlier this year, also topped the pop charts with his upbeat hit “The Box.” The video for that song is nominated for video of the year alongside DaBaby’s “Bop;” DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend’s “Higher;” Doja Cat’s “Say So;” Megan The Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” and Drake and Brown’s “No Guidance.”
The show will feature appearances from famous faces including Quincy Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael B. Jordan, Viola Davis, Billy Porter, Debbie Allen, Naomi Campbell, Sterling K. Brown, Whoopi Goldberg, Misty Copeland, Lena Waithe and Lizzo, who is also nominated for four awards.
Others set to perform include Rapsody, YG, Wayne Brady, Jay Rock, SiR, D Smoke, Kierra Sheard and Karen Clark Sheard, who is nominated for the Dr. Bobby Jones best gospel/inspirational award as a member of the Clark Sisters. Her competition includes Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, PJ Morton and Kanye West, who released a gospel album last year.
FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo, DaBaby performs with NBA basketball player Shaquille O’ Neal at Shaq’s Fun House in Miami. BET will celebrate its 40th year as a network, as well as it 20th awards show, on Sunday, June 28, 2020, — but the event will go on virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. The three-hour show will be jam-packed with heavy hitters currently dominating the pop charts and streaming services, including DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Summer Walker, Kane Brown and Chloe x Halle. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)