Written by Emilee Lindner • June 26, 2017
The 2017 BET Awards went down on Sunday night (June 25), and this time, they were packed with performances. The show capped off the three-day BET Experience festival, which saw sets from Jhene Aiko, Bryson Tiller and Jidenna earlier in the weekend. But on Sunday night, it was DJ Khaled's night to shine, as he brought out his friends -- and his baby son Asahd -- to get the party started. Other performers included Trey Songz, SZA and Big Sean. Catch our recap of the best performances below:
Let's start with DJ Khaled, who has always been known to pull out a few surprises as his gigs. He did not disappoint at the BET Awards, when he ripped through song of the summer, "I'm the One" with Lil Wayne, Chance the Rapper and Quavo. Justin Bieber, who usually guests on the track, was unavailable, but Khaled made up for his absence with another guest star: his baby son, Asahd. "This my best work. I did it for my son," Khaled yelled, referencing his Grateful album, released last Friday.
Bieber wasn't completely gone from the song, however. As his recorded vocals boomed through the Staples Center, Wayne sported a Misfits T-shirt that featured a skull with floppy Bieber hair and his last name printed in a grotesque font.
New Edition accepted 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, and as a tribute to them, the cast of BET's New Edition Story performed a medley of "Candy Girl," Johnny Gill's "My, My, My" and Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative." Soon enough, the real New Edition came out for "Mr Telephone Man," "If It Isn't Love," and "Can't You Stand the Rain," offering up one of the best performances of the night.
If you have yet to get a taste of Bruno Mars live, his performance of "Perm" on Sunday night is an excellent entry point. The singer, who is currently on his 24K Magic Tour, got the BET crowd on their feet as he and the Hooligans shuffled across the stage in matching jerseys. "Throw some perm on your attitude / Girl, you gotta relax / Let me show you what you got to do / You gotta lay it back," he sang on the funk track. Everything was a party -- especially for the band, who danced AND played at the same time. Bruno Mars is cruising to your city this summer, so grab your tickets before they're gone.
Future pulled off his incredibly viral "Mask Off" by trading the memorable "molly, percocet" line with the more PG-rated "chasing checks, always chasing checks." A flute player onstage mimed the song's ethereal flute loop while dancers in black lace pranced around her. The set looked like something out of a haunted mansion -- a grand staircase served as the centerpiece as fake flames consumed the stage. Kendrick Lamar, who appears on the song's remix, hopped next to Future for his verse, and together, they ended the track with a repeated mantra of "mask off, mask off, mask off." Get tickets for Future's recently extended tour here.
Tamar Braxton delivered an electric performance of "My Man" (although it did prompt a debate on Twitter afterward). The vocal legend surrounded herself with loving couples onstage as she sang about a cheating dude who broke her heart and left her with questions, wondering how he could ever betray her. Billboard was wowed by the performance, calling it "spellbinding," while the L.A. Times declared, "This year's BET Awards took a dip in energy — then came Tamar Braxton." Braxton went all out as she sang, chucking her mic stand behind her in anger and bouncing her platinum blonde hair with angst.
Announced just a week before the show, Mary J. Blige was one of the most anticipated acts of the night. In the aftermath of her breakup with husband Kendu Issacs, she declared she was gonna be just fine on "Set Me Free," her opening track that sent a pointed message to her ex: "There's a special place in hell for you / You gon' pay for what you did to me / I'ma tell you, 'cause the truth will see me free." She then launched into "Love Yourself," and preached about self-care before finding a romance with someone else. Kanye West usually guests on the song, but for the BET Awards performance, she brought out ASAP Rocky to fill his spot. Catch Blige on her Strength of a Woman Tour now!
Maxwell made the whole night so much more dreamy with his song, "Gods." Minutes after Chance the Rapper accepted the humanitarian award, Maxwell busted out the 2016 blackSUMMERS'night track with two crosses illuminated behind him. At one point, he slinked down a catwalk, adoring fans starry-eyed as they craned their necks to watch. Maxwell knelt down to their level and then laid down on the floor (still singing, of course). Imagery of the night sky created constellations around him, slowing the pulse of the high-energy event and leaving the crowd swaying to the cosmos.
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