BET Awards 2016

BET Awards 2016: Beyoncé's Surprise, Jesse Williams' Powerful Speech and 8 Other Memorable Moments

When an unannounced performance from Beyoncé isn’t the biggest surprise of the evening, you know you’ve done your job. Well played, BET Awards.

From the moment Queen B spilled her first drop of lemonade on the stage to the final note sung in memory of Prince — and there were many performances throughout the night — Sunday’s unpredictable ceremony was so engaging, we almost didn’t realize it was 3 hours and 40 minutes long. (We said almost. For the record, no award show should ever be that long.)

But along with the evening’s sillier gags — including, but not limited to, an unsolicited appearance from Anthony Anderson’s bare butt cheeks — there were also moments of political importance; Jesse Williams‘ passionate speech about racial inequality, for example, is a must re-watch.

Browse our gallery of memorable BET Awards moments below, then drop a comment with your own below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tracee says:

    I’m often critical of BET but that series of Prince tributes were fantastic. THAT is how you do it. THAT is talent.

    I could’ve lived perfectly well without ever seeing Anthony Anderson’s buttocks.

    Beyonce and Kendrick’s performance was powerful beyond words.

    • ekolint48 says:

      Totally agree. Although that stunt by Anderson did have me laughing as it caught me completely off guard.

      • ekolint48 says:

        Also I had to look up and re-watch Jesse’s speech as there is so much to glean from what he said last night.

  2. rita williams says:


  3. Bigdede says:

    Mama Tina got her 15 minutes to shine and she was going to use them all up! Her flowers speech made no sense especially since BET gave Prince a tribute before.
    Bilal killed. He did justice to Beautiful Ones. Erykah Badu sound horrible. Maxwell was good because he was shading folks in his lyrics. Tori saved Stevie. He was out of breathe and off beat. They advertised D’Anglo but he was a no show. Alicia Keys set wasn’t entertaining at all and she had on makeup. Usher new song was just sad. Bryson Tiller showed he can’t sing. That guy who sung Panda embarrassed himself but he’s only 19/20 so most likely he has no self awareness. Love Sam Jackson tribute and how he shouted out the family members who helped him. Jesse Williams was everything. Just beautiful. Liked seeing his parents and wife

    • Angela Lawrence says:

      I agree with everything you just said. You forgot about Jennifer Hudson and how she killed “Purple Rain!”

    • :-) says:

      The flowers comment basically says show honor and love while people are alive to appreciate and participate in it.

      Lots of wonderful talent lost this year. The in memory portion of the night did not do justice to the talent lost.

  4. LADY_in_MD says:

    all the Prince tributes were so good!
    Loved Janelle and Jennifer
    Jesse spoke so well!!!

  5. amber says:

    Mama Time’s comment made all the sense. Honor the greats while they’re alive to love and appreciate it.

  6. Mick says:

    Sheila E was fantastic, they should honor her next and not wait until she is gone.

  7. Bree says:

    Prince tribute was amazing- Janelle was actually one of my first choices for a tribute because her performances are likes Prince’s in that she does more than just sing- she truly puts on a performance

  8. CourtTV says:

    Maybe the best awards show of the year!

  9. D, Cary says:

    Excellent tribute!! But nothing for Natalie Cole or Maurice White? They w.ere legends before Prince. Wow, BET. Don’t be so quick to pat yourself on the back.

  10. Anna says:

    Jesse Williams, I really thought I couldn’t love you more, but here you go, proving me wrong. That speech was everything.