BET Weekend BET Awards

BET Weekend 2023 Recap: A Celebration Of Hip-Hop And Black Excellence

Nearly three million people tuned into the 2023 BET Awards last month, which paid homage to the legacy of hip-hop and honored an esteemed cohort of Black entertainers, musicians, and athletes.

Held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on June 25, legendary DJ Kid Capri kicked off the annual award show with a set celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, featuring rap pioneers The Sugarhill Gang, MC Lyte, D-Nice, and Big Daddy Kane. The celebration continued throughout the entire program, with a wide range of performances spanning multiple regions, eras, and subgenres of hip-hop.

BET Weekend
Big Daddy Kane performs during the BET Awards 2023 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

According to a press release, this year’s award show amassed 2.8 million total views across nine Paramount channels, including BET, BET Her, Comedy Central, MTV, and VH1.

Dubbed “Culture’s Biggest Night,” the BET Awards featured performances from current hitmakers Coco Jones, GloRilla, Ice Spice, and Lil Uzi Vert. Hip-hop veterans like T.I., Jeezy, Kid ‘n Play, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray, Redman, and Master P also took the stage, along with stars from the aughts like Ja Rule, Soulja Boy, the Ying Yang Twins, Trick Daddy, and Trina.

“They thought it was a fad. They thought it was just a bunch of kids from the hood that was just making noise and taking other people’s records and cheating the game,” comedian and artist Affion Crockett told BLACK ENTERPRISE when asked about the legacy of hip-hop. “But we showed them that no, we respect your music, but we have another form of creativity to put on top of that.”

“We are celebrating 50 years of hip-hop and I’m just here for the celebration,” said TV and radio host Big Tigger. “I’m here to see everybody come out and celebrate the genre and music that put all of us on this red carpet today.”

With the hip-hop industry topping $7 billion, rapper and entrepreneur Styles P from The Lox encouraged artists to venture outside of music to create other streams of revenue.

“Use everything as a stepping stone to grow and do other businesses. You don’t want to have your life just depend on the record industry [or] the music industry. You want to venture out to other things you love,” he told BE at the award show.

BET Weekend
Honoree Busta Rhymes (2nd R) accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award from (from L) Spliff Star, DJ Scratchator, and Marlon Wayans onstage during the BET Awards 2023 (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

This year, the BET Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Busta Rhymes for his remarkable 30-plus-year career as a lyrical MC, producer, songwriter, and trailblazing hip-hop artist.

“I’m gonna wear it on my sleeve. I do want to cry,” said the Brooklyn rapper during his emotional acceptance speech. He later performed a mashup of some of his biggest hits with an all-star line-up that included Bia, Coi Leray, Cutty Ranks, Dexta Daps, M.O.P., Patra, Rah Digga, Scar Lip, Spice, Super Cat, and Swizz Beatz.

Another notable moment of the night was a tribute to late legendary singer Tina Turner performed by Patti LaBelle, who admittedly stumbled through the lyrics of Turner’s hit “(Simply) The Best.” There was also a surprise reunion performance from Migos’ rappers Offset and Quavo, who commemorated their late groupmate, Takeoff.

SZA was one of the biggest winners of the night, walking away with the award for video of the year and best female R&B/pop artist. She also tied with Beyoncé for best album of the year.

Prior to the show, a number of industry events and parties celebrating 50 years of hip-hop, Black Hollywood, and Black excellence were held in Los Angeles.

Below are three highlights from BET weekend.

ASCAP Honors Dr. Dre

ASCAP Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
Legendary multi-platinum-selling producer and artist Dr. Dre and platinum-selling rapper Snoop Dogg at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Celebration of 50 Years of Hip-Hop in Los Angeles on June 22, 2023. (Photo Credit: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for ASCAP)

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) presented its inaugural ASCAP Hip-Hop Icon Award to hip-hop legend Dr. Dre at the London West Hollywood on June 22. The rap billionaire was honored for his groundbreaking solo debut album, The Chronic, establishing Aftermath Entertainment, discovering superstars such as 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem, and creating Beats Electronics and Beats Music, which were both acquired by Apple.

“He’s revolutionized music,” said rap star Snoop Dogg. “If Dre had only been a member of NWA, we’d still remember him forever. If he had only given us The Chronic, he’d still be a hip-hop legend. He’s earned eight Grammys, sold millions of records, [and] founded some of the most successful businesses in music. But Dr. Dre has never stopped working, never stopped pushing the music forward. And I can honestly say that Dr. Dre has changed my life in so many ways.”

ASCAP Dr. Dre Snoop Dogg
Grammy Award-winning producer DJ Kid Capri, platinum-selling rapper Snoop Dogg, and legendary multi-platinum-selling producer and artist Dr. Dre (Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for ASCAP)

Celebrities in attendance included Big Daddy Kane, Grammy Award-winning producer Warryn Campbell,  gospel superstar Erica Campbell, television industry maverick Mona Scott-Young, Grammy-nominated rapper Wale, singer and songwriter artist Muni Long, rising New York hip-hop artist Scar Lip, ASCAP President Paul Williams, and ASCAP Senior Vice President of Membership, and Executive Director of The ASCAP Foundation Nicole George-Middleton.

Miss Diddy’s Toast to Black Hollywood

Miss Diddy A Toast to Black Hollywood
Miss Diddy, J. Alphonse Nicholson, and Eva Marcille (Photo by Freddyo courtesy of The Brand Group)

The presence of Black star power was effervescent at Miss Diddy x The Brand Group Presents: A Toast to Black Hollywood 2023. Held at The Penthouse in LA on June 23, the ceremony recognized young Black trailblazers in music, film, sports, entertainment, and philanthropy for their impact on the culture. Miss Diddy, the founder of The Brand Group, created the event in 2014 to celebrate the next generation of tastemakers and trendsetters who carry the legacy of Black excellence.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” the LA-based lifestyle specialist told BE. “We have incredible people here, we have great partnerships with UBS [and] with Doritos. Every single year, they are still happy to come to support it. That genuine love is a reason why I do what I do, and it keeps me energized.”

Miss Diddy A Toast to Black Hollywood
Miss Diddy (Photo: Jorge Meza courtesy of The Brand Group)

This year’s honorees included actress and model Eva Marcille; Catherine Brewton, vice president, creative at Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI); rapper and songwriter Lady London; Kimberly Paige, chief marketing officer of Paramount/BET Global; Wale Ogunleye, managing director, head of sports and entertainment at UBS; corporate marketing powerhouse and author Bozoma Saint John; political commentator and TV personality Dr. Wendy Osefo; Dorion Renaud, actor, model, and the founder of Buttahskin; actress Ashley Blaine Featherson–Jenkins; actor and percussionist J. Alphonse Nicholson; and Emmy Award-winning costume designer and fashion stylist Zerina Akers.

Miss Diddy A Toast to Black Hollywood
Sevyn Streeter performs at Miss Diddy x The Brand Group Present: A Toast to Black Hollywood 2023 at The Penthouse in LA on June 23, 2023. (Photo: Jorge Meza courtesy of The Brand Group)

“Every time Miss Diddy does an event, it is just beautiful, it’s Black, [and] it’s purposeful,” said singer and songwriter Sevyn Streeter. “It’s just amazing just to be here to honor legends in our field. Catherine Brewton is a mentor of mine. I love her dearly. She’s been a big sister to me for years. So, to see these people get their flowers while they’re still here to smell them means everything to me.”

The Culture Creators Honor Busta Rhymes, MC Lyte, and More

Culture Creators Awards Brunch
Busta Rhymes speaks at the Culture Creators Innovators and Leaders Awards brunch presented by Netflix Strong Black Lead at The Beverly Hilton on June 24, 2023. (Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Culture Creators)

Culture Creators hosted its highly anticipated 7th Annual Innovators and Leaders Awards Brunch on June 24, at the illustrious Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Dozens of industry executives, artists, and influencers gathered for the star-studded event to celebrate the achievements of Black leaders in the entertainment industry and commemorate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

Presented by Netflix and empowered by the Pronghorn Company and Lexus, the award ceremony also included a preview of original movies and series starring Black actors slated for release this summer under Netflix’s Strong Black Lead.

Music executive Joi Brown founded Culture Creators in 2016 to recognize and celebrate trailblazers in entertainment and fashion. This year’s honorees included singers and actresses Chloe and Halle Bailey, music industry veteran and investor Troy Carter, TV executive Stephen Hill, fashion designer Karl Kani, artist Busta Rhymes, business honoree Candace Rodney, video/film honoree, art and style honoree Laurieann Gibson, and up-and-coming LSU basketball star and rapper Flau’Jae Johnson.

Netflix and Culture Creators honored MC Lyte with the “Strong Black Lead Icon Award” for her impact as an MC and a trailblazer for other women in hip-hop.

MC Lyte
MC Lyte (L) speaks at the Culture Creators Innovators and Leaders Awards brunch presented by Netflix Strong Black Lead at The Beverly Hilton on June 24, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Culture Creators)

“Thank you to this wonderful community of hip-hop for me, made up of artists, producers, videographers, dancers, DJs who break records, who have pushed the limits to get the genre where it stands today,” said the “Cha Cha Cha” rapper during her acceptance speech. “Someone asked me, ‘Did I think hip-hop would make it this far?’ No, but here we are.”

Brown presented Chloe and Halle with the Innovators of the Year Award, applauding them for “capturing our hearts and our minds with their fearless, fierce artistry” and becoming “symbols of strength and role models for young women, knocking down barriers, and proving that dreams can be realized.”

Chloe Bailey
Chloe Bailey speaks at the Culture Creators Innovators and Leaders Awards brunch presented by Netflix Strong Black Lead at The Beverly Hilton on June 24, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Culture Creators)

“I see all of my peers and all of the people who have inspired my sister and I here. Thank you so much,” said Chloe Bailey while accepting on behalf of her sister. “Whenever we’re together as Chloe x Halle, it’s special. One of our favorite quotes is ‘Individually we are a drop, but together we are an ocean.’ Whether we’re doing our solo music or acting projects on our own, we are forever Chloe x Halle because our sisterhood is a forever thing.”

Busta Rhymes received the last trophy of the night, giving a long and emotional speech about his storied career journey and upbringing in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York.

“I get a lot of love because I’m a giver of love, but I don’t get awards. Not in this form, so it’s a little overwhelming for me,” said the rap star.

He continued by talking about the innumerable contributions of Black Americans in history.

“We are the founders of civilization, the makers and the owners of the planet, the gods of the universe,” he said. “Our culture is the greatest. And with that being said, even when they gave us nothing, we created every culture.”