ATLANTA- BET Social Awards 2019 kicked off with dance performances from viral sensations, including moves from host Jess Hilarious. The award show aims to highlight the ability to shift the culture with a hashtag.
BET’s celebration of black talent on social media came with many moments; some good, some bad, but all viral.
Awarding Shaun King the Social Movement award added awkward energy to an otherwise lighthearted event. Not in the building to accept the honor, BET aired a recorded thank you from the activist.
Awarding Shaun King reads as tone deaf to real-time social media movements. King recently came under fire for allegedly mishandling donated funds. Called into question by writer and activist Clarissa Brooks, King retreated to defense mode, threatening Brooks with legal action. He has since apologized, albeit not accepted by Brooks. Additionally, King has yet to provide documentation supporting his own claims.
Still, BET’s efforts to celebrate social media stars and movements, provide the necessary attention black culture lacks from other platforms. Although Shaun King received praise, so did other social stars who deserve the warm embrace of public recognition.
Like any BET award show, the fun extended from the stage to the audience. Rising internet creatives such as SuperBitch, busting ninja-like fighting moves in thigh-high pink boots and comedian Ricoh Jamal Patilla of Hood News at 6 were able to show their skills on and off stage. Rising artists BlueFace and DaniLeigh performed on television for the first time.
— BET (@BET) March 4, 2019
Soulja Boy’s biggest comeback continues, receiving recognition for his use of social media and creating a career. Essentially opening the door for rappers to transform viral clips and digital presence into hit records, Soulja Boy graced the stage with a throwback medley of his old songs as well as new music. On BET’s black carpet, the rapper said fans will not only get new music, but also a new energy drink he’s invested in.
Taking the Issa Wave category, Yung Miami continues to hold the City Girls down while her partner JT finishes her sentence behind bars. Recognizing social media as an asset, engaging with fans and launching opportunity, Yung Miami says she is down for another contest following her viral twerk contest.
For a second year on the air, the BET Social Awards showed growth from the inaugural event with high energy performers and hosts. Going forward, the platform hopefully grows beyond the constraints of an hour-long, live broadcast; developing into a full production truly for the people.
View the full list of winners and honorees below:
LMAO Award – That Girl Jay Cole
ISSA WAVE Award – City Girls
SOCIAL HUSTLE Award – Supa Cent / The Crayon Case
BEST CELEB FOLLOW Award – Cardi B
SOCIAL VERIFIED Honoree – Soulja Boy
SOCIAL MOVEMENT Honoree – Shaun King