By Philtrina Farquharson, Contributing Writer

Deemed culture’s biggest night, “BET Awards” 2022 took over the Microsoft Theater for a night filled with Black excellence not only in music but in television, film, and sports. This year’s show presented nominees for more than 20 categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award honor given to Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, presented by Babyface and surprise guest Ye. BET kept their audience and viewers on their feet with back-to-back icons gracing the stage. 

Latto hit the stage to perform her hit single “Big Energy” but she really got the crowd going when she announced that this was the remix, and then Mariah Carey’s silhouette appeared. Lo and behold it was the diva herself, helping Latto close out her performance with godly vocals. Not only did Latto shut down the stage, but she also snagged the award for Best New Artist. 

More notable wins included Luke Lawal Jr. CEO, and founder of HBCU Buzz was honored with the ‘Shine a Light Award’ for his selfless efforts to give back to his community through his many ventures, including HBCU Buzz. Three-time category winner, Marsai Martin graced the stage to accept the Youngstar Award. There were also a few winners that were not able to attend, including The Weekend who won Best Male R&B/ Pop Artist, and Zendaya and Will Smith who took the award for Best Actress and Best Actor. 

Gospel singer Kirk Franklin with his wife on the red carpet of the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Philtrina Farquharson)

This weekend was not only for entertainment but a time for Black influencers and changemakers to come together to make a difference. In the midst of the show, many celebrities, including the cast of Tyler Perry’s Sistas took the time to speak on current news, including the repeal of Roe v Wade and gun control, to keep the Black community aware. Ahead of the actual awards show, some opportunities and events focused on elevating the Black community. 

This past Saturday, BET, Taraji P. Henson, and the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation joined forces to host a BET Dinner to raise funds to provide 1 million hours of mental health services in the communities that need it most. 

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Henson to honor her father Boris, who suffered mental health challenges. Their mission is to create new ways of healing with the resources they offer, including a Black therapist directory, African-American cultural competency training, and accessible mental health services. 

“I am so excited to be here, I think that one of the things that are so amazing right now is that people are actually talking about mental health and mental care a lot more than they used to, especially our people,” said Cynthia Bailey, model, and reality television personality. Eva Marcille, Paula Patton, Tracie Jade, and Niecy Nash were also in attendance in an effort to bring awareness to the important work that is being done at this foundation. 

New this year to BET weekend was the “House of BET”, which had a weekend packed with live performances, panels, and immersive experiences. One of the highlights included Kandi Burress as she stepped into the “House of BET” to tell the audience how to monetize their influence within the culture. Kandi was able to drop gems and speak based on experience with her 9.9 million followers.

This weekend the Black community came together to celebrate each other and build on the culture that outsiders strive to be a part of. If you cannot get enough or want to relive the BET Awards, you can visit BET.com/bet-awards.