Black lives celebrated and mourned at emotional BET Awards

Free Press wire reports | 7/2/2020, 6 p.m.
Black power, suffering and the fight for justice took center stage at the BET Awards on Sunday, the first Black ...

Gymnast Simone Biles and basketball star LeBron James were named sportswoman and man of the year, respectively. Nigerian musician Burna Boy was named best international act.

On a virtual stage, Lil Wayne paid tribute to the Black Mamba, honoring the late Kobe Bryant with a performance of his song “Kobe Bryant,” highlighting the NBA icon’s biggest moments. He paid tribute to Mr. Bryant who died in a helicopter crash in January that killed eight oth- ers, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The singer weaved in new lyrics as Mr. Bryant’s No. 8 and 24 jerseys flashed behind him. His performance showed video clips of the Los Angeles Lakers star dunking on Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, hitting game-winning shots and highlights from his 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.

“I call him King Bryant,” Lil Wayne rapped. “Now let the crown show.”

Wayne Brady transformed from his normal actor-comedian self into the flamboyant character of the late Little Richard.

Wearing a gold glittery tuxedo, Mr. Brady put on his best emulation during a tribute to Little Richard, who died of bone cancer in May. He rolled around on top of a piano as he sang a medley of hits from Little Richard, considered one of the chief architects of rock ’n’ roll.

“Shut up!” Mr. Brady blurted out in the same manner as Little Richard. Some of Little Richard’s hits that Mr. Brady performed included “Lucy,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly” and “Tutti Frutti.”