Nigerian Afro-fusion popstar Burna Boy won his third consecutive BET Award in Los Angeles on 27 June.
The BET Awards, which were established in 2001 to celebrate black entertainers in music, acting and sports, returned to a live show format from the Microsoft Theatre after being held virtually in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. This year’s edition was hosted by actress Taraji P Henson and ran under the theme, Year of the Black Woman.
The ‘Kilometre’ singer edged Nigerian colleague Wizkid, Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz and French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura to secure the Best International Act Award, whose other nominees included Headie One (UK), Young T & Bugsey (UK), Emcida (Brazil) and Youssoupha (France).
“I made it this time to collect my award myself,” Burna Boy quipped about not being present onstage to receive his previous BET trophies. He also expressed gratitude to his mother, Bose Ogulu, who has traditionally received the award on Burna Boy’s behalf and whose BET Award speeches have made it onto her son’s previous two albums.
Burna Boy’s 2021 BET victory adds to his growing list of musical accomplishments, most notably his historic Grammy win at the 63rd edition of music’s biggest ceremony earlier this year.
Elsewhere, Nigerian singer Tems and South Africa’s Elaine lost the BET Viewers’ Choice: Best New International Act Award to English artist Bree Runway.
US rapper Megan Thee Stallion was the biggest winner on the night, sweeping the awards for Best Female Hip Hop Artist Video of the Year and Best Collaboration for ‘WAP’ with Cardi B, as well as the Viewer’s Choice Award for 2020’s ‘Savage (Remix)’ featuring Beyoncé.
R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan won the Album of the Year Award for Heaux Tales, while hip hop veteran Queen Latifah was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The night also witnessed a special tribute performance for rapper DMX who died in April. The set featured Busta Rhymes, Method Man and Swizz Beatz performing some of the late rapper’s best-known songs as well as new tracks from his posthumous album, Exodus.
Meanwhile, Burna Boy will be heading back on tour this year. His Space Drift World Tour will see him perform in the US, UK, France, Finland, Spain and Portugal, among others.