Beyonce Addresses Protests In BET Award Acceptance Speech, Says ‘Your Voices Are Being Heard’
After receiving the Humanitarian Award at the 20th annual BET Awards on Sunday, Beyonce gave a speech pushing for change. In the speech, which was only a minute long, the singer started by dedicating the award to those who were protesting for change around the country, according to Us Weekly.
“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” she said in the pre-recorded address.
Beyonce added that the next step toward making change came with voting.
“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.”
The singer then called for unity within the movement, saying that protesters need to continue to fight for each other and lift one another up. She said that there were people who hoped that those demonstrating in the streets would stay home during local and state elections.
“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does. So please continue to be the change you want to see.”
The “Single Ladies” singer was awarded for using her platform to contribute to a variety of charitable endeavors, including the efforts that she’s made as part of her BeyGOOD initiative. The initiative has created scholarship programs and partnered with UNICEF to provide Burundi with clean water and sanitation. The singer also worked with her mother to provide coronavirus testing to Houston’s black community.
Michelle Obama was on-hand to present the award to Beyonce while praising her “generosity of spirit” and the love she had for her community during her introductory remarks. Obama continued, saying that the singer called out sexism and racism when she sees it and is a loving mother who holds those she loves close to her. She concluded by saying that Beyonce was an inspiration to her, and to all those watching. Obama’s introduction was followed by clips in which a variety of stars introduced the singer by describing her humanitarian efforts.
The R&B singer’s speech was not the only moment that addressed the protests happening across the country during Sunday’s ceremony. Many of the night’s performances made reference to the moment, according to the BBC. During one powerful segment, DaBaby performed his song “Rockstar” with his face pressed against the ground and a police officer holding their knee on his neck. The image is a direct reference to George Floyd’s death in late May.