by Beatrice Ambasa
June 28, 2021

While highlighting the accomplishments of today's artists, the Taraji P. Henson-hosted show also took a moment to pay tribute to those Hollywood has lost. DMX, who died at age 50 in April, was tribute in a segment curated by Swizz Beatz, who had a longstanding friendship with the late musician. Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Method Man and Griselda also performed during the tribute, which featured a special appearance by Michael K. Williams.

The segment celebrated DMX from his early beginnings with iconic hip hop label, Ruff Ryders, to his latest work, and included a new song from DMX's posthumous album, EXODUS.

Boseman, who died last August at age 43 after a battle with colon cancer, was honored during the "In Memoriam" segment.

Among those included were Shock G, Johnny Nash, Anthony Chisolm, MF Doom, Bert Belasco, Carol Sutton, Charley Pride, Hank Aaron, Mary Wilson, Clarence Williams III, Bunny Wailer, Black Rob, Paul Mooney, Douglas Turner Wright, Gale Sayers, Natalie Desselle-Reid, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Leon Spinks and Reggie Warren.

Pop Smoke, who died in February 2020, was tribute at the BET Hip Hop Awards in October.

In a statement ahead of this year's show, Henson said it would be something "unlike anything we have ever seen before." The ceremony also aimed to especially highlight Black women. 

"For more than 20 years, the BET Awards have been a celebration of Black creativity, art and excellence," Henson said. "Returning live, this year's show will be unlike anything we have ever seen before, and I am honored to be sharing the stage with so many powerful and prolific women in music and entertainment. The BET Awards will once again be at the forefront of Black culture."