By Yesha Callahan, The Root

If there’s one awards show out there that will have people glued to their TV screens, it’s definitely the BET Awards. And Sunday’s night show proved to be a spectacular one.

Starting the night off was a surprise opening performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar with the duo performing Beyoncé’s “Freedom,” all while dancing in a pool of water. Can you say cleanup in aisle 5? It was obvious that shortly after the performance, Beyoncé bounced to head to London, and her mother, Tina Knowles, accepted her award for Video of the Year and the fan-voted Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award.

But let’s face it. The only reason so many eyes were on the BET Awards was because of its much-talked-about Prince tribute, and it was definitely worth watching.

Sheila E. appropriately closed the show with her tribute, which included “Let’s Work,” ”A Love Bizarre,” ”The Glamorous Life” and “America.” She was also joined onstage by Purple Rain actor Jerome Benton and Prince’s ex-wife, Mayte Garcia.

Jennifer Hudson, Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly sang “Purple Rain,” while a photo montage of Prince played in the background.

Janelle Monáe, who was mentored by Prince, performed “Kiss,” ”Delirious” and “I Would Die 4 U.”

Then there was Bilal’s soulful performance of “The Beautiful Ones” as the Roots backed him. The Roots also backed Erykah Badu during her performance of “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.”

All in all, the BET Awards not only provided entertainment, as it usually does, but also political commentary, by way of actors Jesse Williams and Taraji P. Henson.

Henson urged attendees to make the right choice when voting.

“I’m really not political, but it’s serious out here, and for those who think that, you know, ‘Oh he’s not going to win’—think again. So we really need to pull together and turn this country around,” she said.

Below is a full list of Sunday night’s winners and nominees:

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Beyoncé (winner)


Andra Day

K. Michelle


Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Bryson Tiller (winner)

Chris Brown


The Weeknd


Best Group

Drake & Future (winner)

2 Chainz & Lil Wayne

Puff Daddy & the Family

Rae Sremmurd

The Internet

Best Collaboration

Rihanna ft. Drake—”Work” (winner)

Big Sean ft. Chris Brown & Ty Dolla $ign—”Play No Games”

Big Sean ft. Kanye West & John Legend—”One Man Can Change the World”

Future ft. Drake—”Where Ya At”

Nicki Minaj ft. Beyonce—”Feeling Myself”

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist

Drake (winner)

Fetty Wap


J. Cole

Kanye West

Kendrick Lamar

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist

Nicki Minaj (winner)

Dej Loaf

Lil Kim

Missy Elliott

Remy Ma

Video of the Year

Beyoncé—”Formation” (winner)

Bryson Tiller—”Don’t”

Drake—”Hotline Bling”

Kendrick Lamar—”Alright”

Rihanna ft. Drake—”Work”

Video Director of the Year

Director X (winner)

Benny Boom

Chris Brown

Colin Tilley and the Little Homies

Hype Williams

Best New Artist

Bryson Tiller (winner)

Alessia Cara

Andra Day


Tory Lanez

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

Kirk Franklin (winner)

Anthony Brown & Group Therapy

Erica Campbell


Tamela Mann

Tasha Cobbs

Best Actress

Taraji P. Henson (winner)

Gabrielle Union

Kerry Washington

Tracee Ellis Ross

Viola Davis

Best Actor

Michael B. Jordan (winner)

Anthony Anderson

Courtney B. Vance

Idris Elba

O’Shea Jackson Jr.

YoungStars Award

Amandla Stenberg (winner)

Quvenzhané Wallis


Willow Smith

Yara Shahidi

Best Movie

Straight Outta Compton (winner)

Beasts of No Nation




Sportswoman of the Year

Serena Williams (winner)

Cheyenne Woods

Gabrielle Douglas

Skylar Diggins

Venus Williams

Sportsman of the Year

Stephen Curry (winner)

Cam Newton

Kobe Bryant

LeBron James

Odell Beckham Jr.

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award

Beyoncé—”Formation” (winner)

Bryson Tiller—”Don’t”

Chris Brown—”Back to Sleep”

Drake—”Hotline Bling”

Future ft. Drake—”Where Ya At”

Rihanna ft. Drake—”Work”

Centric Award

Beyoncé—”Formation” (winner)

Andra Day—”Rise Up”

K. Michelle—”Not a Little Bit”


The Internet—”Under Control”

Best International Act: Africa

Wizkid (Nigeria) (winner)

AKA (South Africa)

Black Coffee (South Africa)

Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)

Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)

Mzvee (Ghana)

Serge Beynaud (Cote D’Ivoire)

Yemi Alade (Nigeria)

Best International Act: U.K.

Skepta (winner)


Krept & Konan

Lianne La Havas


Tinie Tempah