NEW YORK — Cardi B’s “WAP” has new meaning at the BET Awards: winning and pregnant.
The Grammy-winning star debuted her baby bump during a live performance Sunday alongside husband Offset as well as Quavo and Takeoff of Migos. She also won video of the year for her Megan Thee Stallion-assisted No. 1 hit “WAP.”
Cardi B didn’t stay to accept the honor at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, but Megan Thee Stallion rushed to the stage in a new dress to pick up the award after her performance, forgetting to thank Cardi during her speech.
But the “Savage” rapper made up for it when she won best female hip-hop artist moments later.
“I really forgot to say thank you Cardi for even putting me on ‘WAP’ because it makes me feel so good to be acknowledged by one of my peers, who I think so highly of,” Megan Thee Stallion said. “I think so highly of all the women who was nominated in this category. Everybody knows I’m a girls’ girl.”
During her speech, the Grammy winner also paid tribute to her mother, who died in 2019.
“Thank you momma for putting it in me to even want to be a female rapper and putting the work ethic inside of me and the drive and push,” she said. “She can’t be here with me today but I still think about her everyday and she is the reason why I keep going.”
The awards show celebrated “the year of the Black women,” as actor and host Taraji P. Henson put at the top of the show.
Rep. Maxine Waters said her signature phrase — “reclaiming my time” — before Jazmine Sullivan hit the stage for a sultry, top-notch performance featuring fellow R&B singer Ari Lennox. Sullivan won album of the year for her critically acclaimed EP “Heaux Tales.” Like Megan Thee Stallion, she honored her mother, who is battling cancer and stood next to her during the show.
“Two years ago we would have never expected to be here. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago so we didn’t see any of this happening, but God has been so faithful to us and my mom is in remission,” Sullivan said. “This is my prize. This is my gift. It means more to me than anything that she’s her with me. She supported me all my life.”
The first award of the night went to Andra Day, who won best actress, while Darnella Frazier — the teenager who pulled out her cellphone and began recording when she saw George Floyd being pinned to the ground by a police officer — was given the Shine a Light Award.
Frazier didn’t attend the awards show but the honor came weeks after she was awarded a special citation by the Pulitzer Prizes for her video that helped to launch a global movement to protest racial injustice.
H.E.R., who also wowed the audience with her performance, won best female R&B/pop artist. The Grammy winner told the crowd that it is “important for us to recognize each other and celebrate each other.”
“If we don’t, who else will?” she added.
The rest of the BET Awards will feature more Black Girl Magic: Grammy-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Queen Latifah will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and Lil Kim, City Girls and Rapsody will perform.
Rapper Lil Baby and gospel performer Kirk Franklin joined forces to kick off the show with a performance that got Issa Rae, Queen Latifah, DJ Khaled and Zendaya bouncing in their seats. In all white, the artists performed the anthemic song “We Win” and were joined by dozens of background dancers and band members for the top notch performance.
Swizz Beatz is curating the tribute to DMX, who died in April at age 50. Performers include Busta Rhymes, Method Man and Griselda. Lil Nas X and DJ Khaled will also hit the stage during the show.
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