Zendaya’s Beyoncé homage and Lil Nas X’s Cinderella moment turn heads at BET Awards

Lil Nas X wears a Cinderella-like blue and white gown with images of pople and buildings on the red carpet
Wearing a Cinderella-like ball gown from Andrea Grossi, Lil Nas X appears on the 2021 BET Awards’ red carpet in Los Angeles.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)

With a live, fully vaccinated audience, the 2021 BET Awards took place Sunday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hosted by Taraji P. Henson, who made her grand entrance by descending from the ceiling on a gold swing, the show highlighted “the year of the Black woman.”

Golden Globe winner Andra Day kicked off the evening, taking home the BET Award for best actress for her role as Billie Holiday in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” The culture’s biggest night, as BET calls it, returned with full force after last year’s virtual ceremony.

And it was full of show-stopping moments, from Cardi B revealing her second pregnancy on stage to Lil Nas X’s steamy performance that ended Pride month with a bang (and a kiss).

A woman in formal attire accepts an award onstage
Queen Latifah accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday’s BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
(Johnny Nunez / Getty Images)

In addition to performances by Kirk Franklin and Lil’ Baby, Megan Thee Stallion, H.E.R., Silk Sonic and City Girls, the night culminated in honoring Queen Latifah with the BET Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award and a tribute to late rapper DMX.

To celebrate the women who have made an immense impact, Henson gave them their flowers — literally handing roses to Issa Rae, Zendaya, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and Jazmine Sullivan (who won for album of the year for “Heaux Tales”).

Throughout the show, the host dressed up as some of her favorite Black female icons, including Diana Ross, Erykah Badu and Betty Boop.

A woman stands on stage with a microphone.
Host Taraji P. Henson speaks at the BET Awards 2021.
(Bennett Raglin / Getty Images )

However, Henson wasn’t the only one vying for a major fashion moment. From bold slits and silhouettes to elegant ensembles and over-the-top looks, Sunday’s attendees captivated on the red carpet, reminding viewers why they missed the glitz and glamour of in-person events.

Black stylists such as Jason Bolden, Hodo Musa and Ade Samuel emboldened celebrities’ looks, and “image architect” Law Roach gave us a blast from the past. As a tribute to Beyoncé’s performance at the third BET Awards in 2003, Roach styled Zendaya in a Versace look, which she captioned “Crazy in love” on her Instagram account.

Lil Nas X performed his controversial hit single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” on Sunday’s BET Awards.

June 27, 2021

On Instagram, Roach posted a reel of Zendaya walking in slow motion, with the caption, “Paying homage to the Queen Beyoncé wearing @versace SS2003 .... get you a stylist with a ARCHIVE!!!!” Though she didn’t win the award for best actress, Zendaya definitely won the top spot for best dressed.

Here’s a roundup of the top style moments from the 2021 BET Awards red carpet.


A woman in black, yellow and pink formal attire with a high slit showing her leg
Styled by Jason Bolden and wearing Versace, host Taraji P. Henson attends Sunday’s BET Awards.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
A woman in formal beaded attire with her lower torso exposed
Musician Sevyn Streeter attends the BET Awards 2021 in La Roxx, styled by Deonte’ Nash.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
A man in black formal attire with white ribbing on a red carpet
Giveon makes his mark on the red carpet in Chanel before winning his first BET Award for best new artist.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
A man in formal attire with pink and red flowers and lace on the white bell-bottomed suit on a red carpet
Styled by Hodo Musa, Lil Nas X wears a floral suit from Richard Quinn.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
A woman in formal attire with purple strips of fabric and a high slit on a red carpet
Styled by Wilford Lenov and Kyle Hayes, rapper Saweetie attends the 2021 BET Awards in a flowy Dolce & Gabbana look.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
A woman in white formal attire with sections cut out and a high slit on a red carpet
Styled by Ade Samuel, Ari Lennox graces the BET Awards red carpet wearing a radiant white Bishme Cromartie gown with pleated details.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
Two women in formal attire on a red carpet. One is in a black dress with necklace, the other is in a purple see through gown
Styled by Law Roach, Zendaya, right (with rapper Lil’ Kim), wears Stuart Weitzman shoes, Bulgari yellow diamonds and an archival 2003 Versace dress.
(Bennett Raglin / Getty Images)