During the BET Awards on Sunday, pop icon Beyoncé received the Humanitarian Award presented by former First Lady Michelle Obama. In her pre-recorded acceptance speech, the singer thanked protesters in the Black Lives Matter movement and urged them to help “dismantle the racist and unequal system.”
“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” she said in her speech, as reported by CNN. “Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power and that is to vote. I’m encouraging you to continue to take action. Continue to change and dismantle the racist and unequal system.”
“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” she added.
— Beyoncé Charts (@yoncechart) June 29, 2020
Beyoncé then urged her fans to take action and vote this coming November so that they can “walk in our true power.”
“Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power. And that is to vote. I’m encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system,” she said. “We have to continue to do this together, continue to fight for each other, and lift each other up. Because there are people banking on us staying at home during local elections and primaries happening in states across the country.”
“We have to vote like our life depends on it. Because it does. So please continue to be the change you want to see,” she concluded.
The Black Lives Matter movement was prominently featured during the BET Awards, reaching a particularly controversial apex when rapper DaBaby did a pre-taped performance of his song “Rockstar” during which he reenacted the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. From Fox News:
The music video opens with DaBaby laying flat on the ground with what appears to be a white police officer kneeling on his neck. The image was an obvious reference to Floyd, who died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis.
The remainder of DaBaby’s video shows the artist performing atop a burning police car surrounded by masked protesters wearing shirts that read “Black Lives Matter,” “I Am George Floyd” and more. Other parts of the video show police in riot gear clashing with protesters as DaBaby and Ricch perform amidst the chaos.
Beyoncé urging her fans to get out and vote this November comes weeks after Michelle Obama said that low voter turnout for Hillary Clinton in 2016 was a “slap in the face.”
“I understand the people who voted for Trump,” Obama said. “The people who didn’t vote at all, the young people, the women, that’s when you think, man, people think this is a game. It wasn’t just in this election. Every midterm. Every time Barack didn’t get the Congress he needed, that was because our folks didn’t show up. After all that work, they just couldn’t be bothered to vote at all. That’s my trauma.”
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