With the BET Awards back in person, Black women are taking center stage

A woman in formal attire
Taraji P. Henson will host Sunday’s 2021 BET Awards from L.A.

After ringing in their 20th anniversary with last year’s virtual show due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BET Awards are returning in person with a spotlight on Black women.

Live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, the 2021 BET Awards will air Sunday.

While Black Entertainment Television was founded more than 40 years ago, 2001 marked the network’s first flagship celebration of Black excellence. The BET Awards “honor achievements in the Black community” from the year’s best in music, sports, entertainment and activism.

The 20th anniversary of the BET Awards featured a host performing in front of a green screen and a protests-fueled update of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”

June 28, 2020

Coupled with the pandemic’s toll on Black communities, last summer was marred by police brutality and protest, which took center stage at the 2020 BET Awards.


Ranging from DaBaby’s reenactment of George Floyd’s murder to French Black Lives Matter activist Assa Traoré receiving the BET International Global Good award, last year’s broadcast sought to speak to the moment.

A woman in a blue top
Queen Latifah will be honored at Sunday’s BET Awards.

This year, the awards show is an ode to those who are often on the frontlines in more ways than one. Hosted by Taraji P. Henson, the 2021 theme is the “year of the Black woman,” celebrating and honoring Black women’s impact on the culture. As such, musician, producer and Golden Globe and Grammy winner Queen Latifah will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement BET Award.

Here’s what viewers can expect from Sunday’s ceremony.

Where and when can I watch it?

BET will broadcast the BET Awards on Sunday for 3½ hours starting at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. The event will be filmed live in L.A. but air on a time delay for the West Coast.

The show will also be live on BET Her, Logo, MTV, MTV2, TV Land and VH1. Viewers can watch online at with a TV provider login as well as on Hulu+ Live TV, AT&T TV Now and FuboTV.

In addition to rolling out the red-carpet looks, the BET Awards countdown preshow kicks off at 7 p.m. Pacific with performances by rappers Coi Leray and SpotEmGottem and more.


The aftershow, “DJ Cassidy’s Pass the Mic: BET Awards Edition,” will premiere immediately after at 11:30 p.m. Pacific, featuring hip-hop and R&B artists such as Ashanti, Ja Rule, Nelly and Kelis singing their greatest 2000s hits.

Ahead of the ceremony, on Saturday at 8 p.m. Pacific, BET and BET Her will be televising a one-hour “BET Awards: Year of the Black Woman” special. The documentary explores the homes and lives of today’s top Black women artists, such as Megan Thee Stallion, H.E.R. and Jazmine Sullivan, while accompanied by an intimate, behind-the-scenes four-episode series on

A woman in formal attire
Megan Thee Stallion has seven nominations at Sunday’s 2021 BET Awards.
(Aaron J. Thornton / Getty Images for BET)

Who are the nominees and performers?

Racking up seven nominations each, Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby lead this year’s nominations, with Cardi B and Drake trailing closely with five nominations apiece. From sister duo and “Grown-ish” stars Chloe x Halle to Silk Sonic frontrunners Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, viewers can find a full list of nominations here.

The show will also include a star-studded lineup of presenters such as Issa Rae, Naomi Campbell, Regina Hall, “Pose” star Mj Rodriguez and others.

In addition to Megan Thee Stallion, performers include Andra Day, City Girls, DaBaby, DJ Khaled, H.E.R., Jazmine Sullivan, Kirk Franklin, Migos, Lil’ Durk and Lil Nas X, who has hinted that he’ll perform “Montero (Call Me by Your Name).”

Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Griselda and Michael K. Williams will be honoring the late, great DMX with a tribute curated by producer Swizz Beatz.