Wednesday, March 22, 2023

20 Key Moments from the 2016 BET Awards

The 2016 BET broke the internet with a show pulsating with black empowerment – from the powerful performances by the likes of Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and more, to Jesse Wallace’s important speech.

Below is our rundown of the bets moments at the awards, including Prince’s tribute from the stars and must-see red carpet looks – take a peek and let us know what parts were a major key for you.

Red Carpet Outfits

1. Bey’s Backup Dancers’ Red Carpet Formation


So Beyonce’s army of dancers shut it down even before they got on stage, posing on the red carpet then marching into the event dressed to kill, and letting us know that their leader, Mrs Carter, was coming to slay.

We loved the details of their ensembles – those ‘fros, braids, the frills, neckties – but their stoic attitude was what gave us chills, along with their confirmation that yes, a Beyonce performance was on its way.

2. Nandi Mngoma’s Self-Designed Dress

Hitting the BET red carpet in monochrome was singer Nandi Mngoma, who wore a look from her own upcoming line, called “Colour.”

Plunging and hugging her figure in all the right places, the dress made sure we’ll be watching out for her collection, launching at AFI Fashion Week this August.

3. 2 Chainz’s Patched Ensemble

Rocking a Spring/Summer’16 trend, rapper 2 Chainz attended in a patched-out look made up of a denim jacket with a fleecy lining, plus white skinny jeans.

He crowned the look by sporting a new ‘fro ‘do and while he came out super casual, we kinda like it.

4. Janelle Monae’s Monochrome Suit


Keeping to her continued monochromed theme, singer Janelle stepped out in a striped suit and round hat for the 2016 BETs, and we were at her wardrobe’s mercy.

The powerful look played with the print and our hearts, with Team SPICE loving the way the pattern accentuated the wide leg style of the pants – and the red lip and gold jewels just set the whole thing off.

5. Falz’ Black & White Wears

Rapper Falz the Bahd Guy wore black and white to the event, keeping his brand of cool on point as he posed for photographers.

The casual vibes of the trainers, tee and cap combo were lifted by the touches of gold, and the fact that bruh wore a white suit – one he pulled off with plenty of swagger.

6. Fantasia’s Metallic Dress


We loved Fantasia’s look too, which combined metallic gold details and a touch of sheer.

The placement of the gold highlighted the singer’s tiny waist and proved that the girl is still very much at work.

7. Nomzamo Mbatha’s Well-Woven Style

Nomzamo Mbatha

Singer and actress Nomzamo Mbatha also stunned on the scene, wearing this unusual, semi-sheer ensemble.

We liked its raw, unwoven texture plus how it worked with her fluffy curls and pillar box red lips.

8. Tinashe’s Racy Lace Number


Singer Tinashe brought edgy amounts of sexy to the red carpet, wearing a black sheer number with strappy neck detail.

We like the way the neckline matched her shoes, and how the star pulled off an outfit that had her knickers so on show…

9. Chloe & Halle’s Trendy Twinning


Beyoncé’s musical protégés Chloe and Halle also attended the event, stepping out in coordinating cool.

The fashion-forward looks included frayed denim and stripes, and put the duo firmly on our style radar from here onward.

10. Jesse Williams’ Sexy Suit


Actor Jesse Williams also stopped our hearts from the 2016 BET red carpet, wearing this sleek, almost all-black-everything look.

The suit’s white piping had the two-piece popping, but when you’ve a face like Jesse’s, you can’t really go wrong…

11. Jidenna’s Play on Prints


Classic man, Jidenna also attended the event, opening the red carpet with a performance he styled out with colourful clothes.

The star wore an ankara print shirt paired with a turquoise trouser, and added an unexpected scarlet slipper to complete the look, which we loved.

Red Carpet Beauty

1. Yemi Alade’s Bantu Knots


BET-nominated singer Yemi Alade went for it with her beauty look, bringing out the bantu knots to top off her girly, floral ensemble.

The pink lip and eye combo is super cute, and really bounced off the ‘tough-but-chic’ vibes of the ‘do. In fact, we loved the look so much we’re trying to recreate it here – try it out and tag us in your attempts.

2. Gabrielle Union’s Braids


We are so here for the un-aging beauty that is Ms Union, rocking a braided mane.

Framing her flawless face and bringing the feels we want for Summer’16, Gabriel reminded us that a trip to the salon is well overdue…

3. Alicia Keys’ No Makeup Look


Keeping true to her pledge to stop wearing makeup, singer Alicia Keys showed off her glowing, freckled skin on the red carpet and made us want to join her campaign.

The star topped her look off with a head wrap, and looked just as ‘complete’ as the rest of the stunners on the red carpet – just with way less product.

4. Meagan Good’s Faux Locs


Wearing a beautifully-fitted cutout gown and a powerful red pout, actress Meagan Good wore a set of faux locs (again) to the 2016 BET Awards and left us wishing we had her style too.

Wearing them long and to one side, she proved to any doubters that locs can look sleek too – no matter the event or the ensemble you put them with.

On Stage

1. Beyonce’s Show Opener (& Internet Closer)

2016 BET Awards - Show

We can’t talk about the stage without talking about Beyonce’s magnificent “surprise” performance.

Opening the show, Bey brought black power, buckets of water and Kendrick Lamar out for her track “Freedom” – and she shut the internet down within minutes, having both “Beyonce” and”Freedom” trending on Twitter.


Asides the usual fire that ‘Sacha Fierce’ delivers (flawless vocals, moves like no other), we also fell in love with Bey’s braids and the fringed, cutout leotard she cut it up on stage with.

2. The Prince Tribute


Honouring Prince with various epic performances, pals and past collaborators Sheila E., Janelle Monau, Jennifer Hudson, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Maxwell, Bilal, The Roots and more took to the stage for a series of musical dedications.


Performing the icon’s classics, including “The Beautiful Ones”, “I Would Die 4 U” and “Purple Rain” celebrities paid tribute to the late star throughout the night, and reminded us what the music industry will be missing now that (according to the remixed lyrics of Maxwell’s version of “Nothing Compares 2U”) it’s been circa “7 hours and 66 days since [Prince] took [his] music away.”

3. Wizkid Wins Award


When Nigerian star Wizkid won the award for ‘Best International Act’ we did a little salute to our screens (despite the fact he didn’t attend the event, and also beat stylish singer Yemi Alade).

It was great to see Wiz acknowledged on the same stage Beyonce tore it up on (and won the most awards of the night), and where other talents like Drake, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Serena Williams and Samuel L Jackson were also honoured. More power to him.

4. Usher’s Political Statement


While bomber jackets are a must-do this season, for Usher (and many people, worldwide), Donald Trump is a just ‘don’t’ – thoughts the R’n’B star made clear on stage yesterday, with his jacket emblazoned with the slogan “Don’t Trump America”.

Though the whole night was politically charged, with many of the night’s presenters advocating for gun control and urging people to vote in the upcoming US election – co-host Tracee Ellis-Ross even endorsing Hilary Clinton in one monologue – Usher made one sartorial statement we bet will be trending sometime soon…

5. Jesse Williams’ Acceptance Speech


The moment that got the whole internet talking though? Actor Jesse Williams’ ‘Humanitarian Award’ acceptance speech on black empowerment.

The Grey’s Anatomy star and activist, who produced the revered documentary Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement, took to the stage saying;

“…The award, this is not for me, this is for the real organisers all over the country: the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the teachers, the students, that are realising that a sysytm buit to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

…The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilise.”


The star went on to dedicate the award to “black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves”, saying;

“We can and will do better for you.”

Closing by delving into police brutality (naming Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner and Sandra Bland), misappropriation and oppression, Mr Williams said;

“So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country, or we will restructure their function and outs.

6092016 BET Awards - Show

[…] we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight/out of mind while affecting out culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, like gold, demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.

[…] just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

But were you watching? What did you think? Tell us about your key moments from the 2016 BET Awards, and what you thought to Jesse’s speech, Beyonce’s performance, the Prince tribute and the star outfits from the red carpet.

 Image source:,,,,,,,,, @Nomzamo_m

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