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2018 BET Awards: Kendrick Lamar Wins Big at Youth-Centered Show

Jamie Foxx took a moment to address the recent death of rapper XXXtentacion during the 2018 BET Awards on Sunday. “We can’t get too used to these types of things. We’re too used to young people being killed. It’s like we don’t even trip anymore,” he said.

Foxx, who served as the host of the evening — which saw Kendrick Lamar take home prizes for album of the year for “DAMN.” as well as best male hip hop artist — challenged artists to utilize their platforms to address important issues. “We all have to figure out a way to not become too used to what’s going on right now. If you can in your music. If you can in your entertainment, try and sneak a message in there.”

Meek Mill chose to address senseless violence during his surprise performance. Wearing a hoodie with XXXtentacion’s face on it, he debuted a new single titled “Stay Woke,” featuring Miguel. The song speaks to the experiences of young men in impoverished communities. A powerful moment that served as his first live performance since he was released from prison in
April.

XXXtentacion’s death stirred up many conversations within the hip hop community. The Florida-based rapper had a troubled record that consisted of domestic abuse and violence. As a result, many have questioned whether we can separate art from the artist.

Rotimi, of “Power,” doesn’t think so. Speaking with Variety on the red carpet, he said, “I think we have to wake up. We have to know that we affect people with what we do and use it for the positive, instead of ignorance. When we sign our contract to become artists, we sign our entire lives over to the public.”

Actor and musician Jacob Lattimore disagrees. “I think we have to sometimes. I don’t know what his personality was like. I don’t know what his life was like. I don’t know if he was mentally stressed.” He continued, “I think we have to have more love for people like that. If that’s what’s going on in their personal life, I feel like that comes from a lack of love.” Lattimore presented the best group award to rap group, Migos.

The show featured performances from numerous hit artists like Nicki Minaj, Migos, Meek Mill, Janelle Monae, Miguel, Snoop Dogg, YG, 2 Chainz, and more.

Tyler Perry presented the lifetime achievement award to legendary singer, Anita Baker. During her speech, Baker encouraged veterans in the industry to uplift younger artists. “I would ask the singers that are veterans here. When you see the young ones, tap them on the shoulder. They need you,” she said. “Let’s take care of each other. We need each other. We can’t do it alone.”

For the full list of the night’s winners, click here.

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