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Will Smith will perform at the BET Awards with Taraji P. Henson hosting. Here's what to know

By The Canadian Press

Published 11:53 PDT, Fri June 28, 2024

NEW YORK (AP) — The 2024 BET Awards are fast approaching. Last year's show celebrated 50 years of hip-hop with tributes to the genre’s earliest voices, late legends and new talent during a show packed with spectacular performances that consistently felt like a party. This year is stacking up to be just as exciting with award-winning performers — Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion and Will Smith, anyone? — and presenters.

Oscar-nominated actor Taraji P. Henson will host the BET Awards for a third time.

“If we didn’t have a BET, how would the little ones know all this greatness exists? How will we be able to inspire each other if we didn’t see each other,” Henson told The Associated Press. "And so this is a safe space for us where we get to lift each other up — where sometimes in this industry, we don’t get to see ourselves lifted and celebrated in this way.”

Here's everything you need to know before the June 30 show.

WHEN ARE THE BET AWARDS?

The BET Awards will air live on June 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern on BET from the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles. It will be simulcast on MTV, Comedy Central, MTV2, TVLand, Nickelodeon, Pop and Logo.

WHO’S NOMINATED FOR THE BET AWARDS?

Drake leads the nominations with seven, including an album of the year nod for his eighth studio album, “For All the Dogs.” One of the awards he’s up for is the music video for “First Person Shooter,” his collaboration with J. Cole that may have been the catalyst for his recent beef with rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Nicki Minaj follows with six, including for album of the year for her highly anticipated “Pink Friday 2” release. Two of her nominations were for her song with Ice Spice, “Barbie World,” part of the blockbuster “Barbie” soundtrack.

J. Cole, Sexyy Red, SZA and best new artist Grammy winner Victoria Monét tie with five nods; 21 Savage, Beyoncé, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Tyla and Usher boast four each.

A few months after wowing audiences while headlining the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show, Usher will also receive the lifetime achievement BET award.

The film nominees this year are: “American Fiction”; “Bob Marley: One Love”; “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé”; “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”; “The Book of Clarence”; “The Color Purple”; “The Equalizer 3” and “The Little Mermaid.”

Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, Steph Curry, LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes are among the sports stars competing for awards.

WHO IS PERFORMING AT THE BET AWARDS?

Performers will include Hill and her son YG Marley, Ice Spice and Tyla. Megan Thee Stallion will serve as the show's opening act.

The show announced on Monday that Smith will perform a new song, though no details were announced. The Grammy and Oscar winner is still emerging from the infamous Oscars slap two years ago, with the successful launch of “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” helping boost his comeback. 

“Anything Will sings, I’m just going to be there to enjoy it because we know he got some hits," Henson said. “But you know, it is summertime. I just thought I’d throw it out there,” she added, referencing the 1991 Grammy-award winning “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.

"I’m excited to hear his new music.”

Country musician Tanner Adell will also perform on the BET Amplified stage.

Previously announced acts also include GloRilla, Latto, Muni Long, Sexyy Red, Shaboozey, and Monét.

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AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. contributed to this report.

– Maria Sherman, The Associated Press

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