Not only do acceptance speeches serve as opportunities for people to give thanks to everyone who saw them to their victories, but they also provide a platform to share in on what those victories personally represent. At the 2017 BET Awards, notable members from sectors across entertainment walked the main stage to claim their respective awards, some delivering words that would resonate in our minds long after returning to their seats. Below are some of our favorite speeches from Sunday night (June 25). Did yours make the cut?
Solange – Centric Award
Presented by Burlington, The BET Centric Award recognizes neo-soul and R&B singers and is named after one of BET’s sister stations. This year, Solange Knowles came out on top with her song “Cranes In The Sky.” In true Solange fashion, the ethereal songstress first thanks the universe for “aligning the stars for this moment right here.” She also notes BET’s important representation of powerful women artists such as Missy Elliot, Lil Kim and Erykah Badu – among others – as an incentive for her teenage self to dream bigger and aim higher.
Chance The Rapper – Humanitarian Award
Chance The Humanitarian is recognized for his commitment to uplifting the youth of Chicago and making his hometown a better, safer place to grow his family. Among his contributions to the city, Chancelor Bennett donated one million dollars to the Chicago Public School system in 2016 to create an arts fund called Social Works. He also headed a project called Warmest Winter during which winter coats that double as sleeping bags were given to and produced by homeless people in Detroit and Chicago, to reduce hypothermic deaths and provide downtrodden citizens with a steady income. During his speech, the 24-year-old remarked on how he feels about garnering such an award so young. “It feels a little early to get something like this, but my God doesn’t make mistakes and I like to think that he’s putting this enormous pressure on me to see how I react.”
Yara Shahidi – YoungStars Award
The YoungStars Award recognizes a rising star etching a distinctive path in their industry, and this year’s winner Yara Shahidi has definitely been laying the groundwork for greatness. The Black-ish star and recent Harvard University enrollee took the time allotted to recognize the birthday of Tamir Rice, who would have turned 15 years on Sunday, June 25, and to recognize the importance of celebrating blackness.
Kendrick Lamar – Best Male Hip-Hop Artist Award
After the wild success of his fourth album DAMN., K-Dot being named Best Male Hip-Hop Artist came as a surprise to very few. During his speech, Lamar shared that his first mixtape Y.H.N.I.C was inspired by Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, who passed away June 20, 2017. “I was inspired to study my skills and work on my connection with my neighborhood and how can I inspire them the same way he inspired the streets.”
Remy Ma – Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Award
For anyone who questioned whether Remy Ma would snatch up the title of Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, the Bronx MC only had one question: “Are you dumb?” Remy also spit a few choice words in the form of a verse from her Nicki Minaj diss-track “shETHER.” With this win, Remy has ended the “No Frauds” rapper’s seven-year winning streak in the category.