BET Awards Host Regina Hall Talks ‘Shaft’ Remake, Cardi B and Abortion

Actress and comedian Regina Hall is set to host the 2019 BET Awards. The show, which is in its 19th year, airs live from downtown Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on June 23 and recognizes winners across 20 categories. Cardi B leads with 7 nominations, followed by Drake with five, and Beyonce, Travis Scott and J. Cole, each with four.

Best known for roles in the “Scary Movie” franchise, “Girls Trip,” and “The Hate U Give,” Hall currently stars in Showtime’s “Black Monday” and will next be seen in the movie “Shaft,” opening June 14 — “a classic,” she says of the 1971 original. At the BET Awards, she’s up for best actress, alongside Issa Rae, Regina King, Taraji P. Henson, Tiffany Haddish and Viola Davis.

Variety caught up with Hall to talk about her preparations for the big night, love for Cardi B, and thoughts on the recent spate of state-legislated abortion bans.

What did it mean to get the call to host this year’s BET awards?
It was really exciting. I’ve watched the BET Awards since its inception so I’m honored to be able to host it. It’s scary though! [Laughs] It’s a big audience. You wanna have a show that’s entertaining for the live audience and the people watching it.

How do you overcome your nerves?
Gosh, you just do it. There’s something about just doing something that makes you move past it. That’s what keeps you thinking, practicing and figuring it out — the nerves are what make you prepared with everything.

What are you most looking forward to?
Other than for them to be over? I’m excited to see the performances and all the people being honored. There will be some great achievements celebrated.

Cardi B is poised to be the queen of the night, coming in with seven nominations. 
I love Cardi! She’s honest and really true to who she is. I could say a bunch of things I love about her but most importantly, I love her music. Her sound, her songs, her style, I like the way she rhymes with the accent. She’s really talented.

Are you a Drake fan, too?
Yeah, Drake’s great.

How challenging is it to do what he did — transition from teenage actor to global music star?
It’s pretty phenomenal, [but] I don’t look at what people graduate from, I look at what they do and how well they do it. He’s unique and talented, it’s wonderful to watch him have success like that. … More than anything, he just continues to evolve as an artist. More than growing into a global superstar, he’s grown into a young man and still kept his Canadian roots and honesty. He’s Drake, shit. What can you say?

Do you have a favorite Drake record?
It’s so hard because Drake has a million songs. I like “Sicko Mode” with Travis Scott.

You play Mrs. Shaft opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the “Shaft” remake. What can you tell us about the role and how you approached the character?
Just that she’s the perfect counterpart for Shaft. When people see it, they’ll feel like they’re made for each other. The writers have done a great job in writing it and creating who she was. At that point, you’re just trying to live up to what’s on the pave and see what you can bring to it individually.

Scenes from “Shaft” were filmed in Georgia, where a bill aiming to outlaw abortion is on the table. What are your thoughts on the abortion ban?
I’m a believer in pro-choice.

What do you think needs to happen?
What happened has already happened, that’s why we have Roe V. Wade. I think we just need to leave what happened alone.

More Music

  • Deborah Dugan Recording Academy Head

    Deborah Dugan’s Attorney Slams Grammys With Fiery Statement After Ouster

    Less than 12 hours after news broke that Deborah Dugan had been placed on administrative leave from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy, her attorney fired back with a statement. “What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told. When our ability to speak is not restrained by [...]

  • Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan participates

    Grammy Shocker: Deborah Dugan Ouster Was a ‘Coup,’ Insiders Say

    UPDATED: As the music industry reeled in the wake of Deborah Dugan’s sudden removal from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy on Thursday — a mere five months after she’d taken charge, and just ten days before the Grammy Awards — even insiders were stunned by the abruptness of the move and perplexed [...]

  • Alfred Hitchcock and Eminem covers

    Eminem Pays Homage to Alfred Hitchcock With 'Murdered' Album Cover and Title

    Eminem may not be the Master of Suspense: He just dropped his new album, “Music to Be Murdered By,” Thursday at midnight, without even milking it with any prior warning. But he appears to be a fan of Alfred Hitchcock anyway. The new set shares its title and cover concept with the one and only [...]

  • Mac Miller Circles Album Review

    Mac Miller's 'Circles': Album Review

    If you were cynical, you might think releasing a posthumous, pieced-together Mac Miller album 16 months after his passing from an accidental drug overdose would be just one more part of the current death march of releases from deceased young rappers with pleadingly emotive lyrics and sonically rock-ist edges. Like late Soundcloud emo-rappers such as [...]

  • Deborah Dugan Recording Academy Head

    Grammy Awards Head Deborah Dugan Placed on 'Administrative Leave'

    Recording Academy head Deborah Dugan has been placed on administrative leave, ten days ahead of the Grammy Awards. An internal memo provided to Variety states: “In light of concerns raised to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team, the Board [...]

  • Ariana Grande 7 Rings

    Ariana Grande Hit With Copyright Suit Over '7 Rings'

    Ariana Grande was sued on Thursday by a hip-hop artist who claims she ripped off the chorus of his song for her hit “7 Rings.” Josh Stone, who performs as DOT, wrote and recorded “You Need I Got It” in 2017. He alleges that he took the song to music industry executives, including producer Tommy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content