The Root Is at the 2018 BET Awards and All You're Getting Is This Liveblog

2 Chainz (L) and YG perform onstage at the STAPLES Center Concert Sponsored by SPRITE during the 2018 BET Experience on June 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Ser Baffo (Getty Images for BET)

Today’s the day!

We’ve picked out our best bougie girl, not-for-the-BET-Awards-outfits and are going to the 2018 BET Awards, with all the cool kids. Yes, your Editor-in-Chief, Danielle C. Belton, and The Root’s Deputy Managing Editor Yesha Callahan, are in Los Angeles, ready for primetime (sort of), when the show starts at 7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST at the Microsoft Theater. This year’s host is Jamie Foxx and he’s welcoming us to “Blakanda,” which I’m sure will be hilarious — one way or the other!

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This year’s performances are hip-hop heavy, featuring Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, YG, Meek Mill, Migos and more. Representing on the R&B front is Danielle’s fave Janelle Monae, along with Miguel (who Danielle also adores) and H.E.R. for which neither of us can name one song because we are old. We do know she likes to hide her face tho.

Of the nominations to watch:

  • Kendrick Lamar takes on ... Kendrick Lamar for “Album of the Year” as the Pulitzer Prize winning DAMN. goes up against his Black Panther soundtrack. (As much as we love the “Bleck Pentha,” DAMN. is the far superior joint. Again, that shit won a Pulitzer!) But competition is stiff for the double-dipping Lamar, who’s up against Jay Z’s “Lemonade for Dudes,” aka the brilliant 4:44, SZA’s CRTL, DJ Khaled’s Grateful and Migos’ Culture II.
  • Also interesting — the best female hip-hop artist category where the heaviest of hitters is hip-hop’s “it girl,” Cardi B., riding high off the success of “Invasion of Privacy.” She’s up against the usual suspects who rule BET’s best female hip-hop artist category, formerly known as the Nicki Minaj Award for Nicki Minaj. Cardi’s competition includes ... obviously Nicki Minaj, Dej Loaf, last year’s performer at The Root 100, Rapsody, and last year’s winner of this award, Remy Ma. Our money is on Cardi who is literally EVERYWHERE. On the radio. On the stage. On your magazine covers. 2018 is clearly her year to take home Nicki Minaj’s award and possibly rename it for herself.
  • Who will win in the “Best Male Hip-Hop Artist” category is a bit less obvious. Sure, you have Jay Z in there, but you also have Drake, DJ Khaled, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. So basically everyone on the radio right now that you actually listen to. Kendrick is probably the favorite considering he killed at not one, but two albums this year. But never count out Jay, who recently shocked the world when he dropped The Carters album with his iconic wife and still hottest chick in the game, Beyonce.
  • For Best Female R&B/Pop Artist this award is clearly going to Beyonce. While SZA, H.E.R., Kehlani and bad gyal Rihanna are all boss, 2018 (like 2017 and 2016 and 2015 and ...) was Bey’s year. She ruled Coachella, turning it into Beychella. She dropped that surprise The Carters album with the husband. She took the top off her Maybach. And she dropped two twins all while her daughter Blue Ivy perfected the greatest side-eye in the history of 6-year-olds. We’re not even stans, but we’d be shocked if this award went to ANYBODY else, but the hardest working woman in show business.
  • We’re not going to pretend to know who’s going to win Best Male R&B/Pop Artist. We like Bruno Mars. He’s in the category. Um. Chris Brown is there (as always ... this is the BET Awards. They know their audience and their audience loves Chris Brown). The Weeknd is representing for Canada. Then you have Khalid and Daniel Caesar. Again, not even going to take a guess here. No clue who’s winning.
  • “Best Movie?” That’s going to Black Panther. Hands down. Sure Girls Trip is in there, that torture porn passing for a movie called Detroit is oddly in there, Dee Rees’ Mudbound makes sense for a nod and so does Ava DuVernay’s Wrinkle in Time, but who are we kidding? They straight up gave the BET Awards a “Blakanda” theme this year. A Black Panther win is in the tank.

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See who wins and more at 7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST tonight, and follow along with us here on this blog, live!

Aaaand that’s a wrap. We survived another crazy, fun, weird, wild and unpredictably bonkers BET Awards that had everything.  From "stay woke" to literally taking folks to church. It was nuts! Catch y'all next year even though we'll never know who the female rap artist of the year was!

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And now Snoop is going gospel. I'm happy he found peace and love out of chaos. No joke. But seriously, aren't there like six more awards to give out?

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I'm majorly into this Snoop Dogg performance. Because I'm old and remember when all these songs first came out.

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Everyone is making a mad dash out of the show, skipping out the final performance.  Pretty sure the camera won't pan to our empty section.

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Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer” is my jam and she's bringing pageantry and professionalism to this award show ... that oddly has stopped giving out awards for a moment.

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There are only less than 30 minutes left in the show. I'm trying to ignore my growling stomach and focus on Ella Mae's melodic harmonies. It's hard. Really want In and Out Burger right now.

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The guy shouting Rock the Bells through this Debra Lee tribute just because LL Cool J is on the stage is driving me bonkers. But congrats and all the best to Debra who is leaving BET after 32 years.

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Well, the last 10 minutes took quite a turn to the woke with real life heroes to Meek Mill being introduced by Philly’s finest.

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I always am impressed by Jamie Foxx’s singing voice. He was an unlikely choice for an Anita Baker tribute, but a great one.

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Bobby Brown bowed to the folks in the orchestra pit after they played the trailer to the Bobby Brown Story on BET because they were singing "Every Little Step" into the break.

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I have so much secondary embarrassment for the return of Wanda the Ugly Girl. So much.

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Jamie Foxx has complained repeatedly about the lack of enthusiasm from the crowd. He’s cursed at the crowd, spit jokes, nothing makes a difference. I just wish folks would take their seats and stay in them.

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Our row, JJ in the orchestra section, seems pretty popular since literally every break people keep getting up and walking all over us. Fun times.

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Nicki Minaj literally did the most. I’m not even sure what I watched, but I was entertained. And her part on “Big Bank” features her humping a sparkly pink horse with dancing jockeys.  Very Nicki.

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I can’t get over Jamie Foxx in these pajamas and underpants talking about beefs, before introducing Nicki Minaj.

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Jason Mitchell on BET’s stage, “911 is for emergencies not your insecurities.” Just a PSA for all the cop callers of late.

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The awards show seems a little disjointed this year. Did Jamie Foxx fall out with the writers or something?

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Yesha doesn't know any Miguel songs but I know all these so I'm loving it.

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Jamie Foxx is saying all the curse words right now as he gives props to Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, for his song “This is America.”

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Tiffany Haddish just won Best Actress and gave the most adorable taped speech. She's winning and I hope she keeps winning. 

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Tyra Banks? All right. Come through jumpsuit!

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Just realized Gizelle Bryant from Real Housewives of Potomac is sitting right behind me. Hopefully since her costars aren’t running the show she won’t get thrown out.

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I’ve seen at least three dudes from Love and Hip Hop Various Seasons are here in the audience. I remember none of their names, so don’t ask.

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Despite the Blakanda theme, the only folks I've seen in wax print is Yesha and one lost looking lady. And despite being told not to record literally everyone has their phones out for Migos "Walk It Like I Talk It."

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During the commercial break you can hear a pin drop in here as celebrities are ushered in from the front to their seats. The only noise is Jamie Foxx cracking jokes.

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