You knew that the stars were going to bring it in a big way at the BET Awards Sunday night. And as Beyoncé opened the show with a blazing rendition of “Freedom”, things went from “big” to “huge. See the best sartorial tributes to Prince, the most major costume changes of the evening — and all things Queen Bey — below.
You can’t ask for a much bigger way to kick off the night than with a surprise performance by one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and the BET Awards did just that, bringing out Beyoncé for a special rendition of “Freedom” with Kendrick Lamar. The singer wore a custom Julien Macdonald fringed bodysuit encrusted in Swarovski crystals, made specifically for the performance. The look mimicked both her dancers’ costumes and the Yoruba body paint found throughout her visual album Lemonade. In a statement about his design, Macdonald said, “Beyoncé is a fabulous superstar, and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate her strength and power as a woman in these designs. Swarovski crystal is the perfect complement to the tribal tattoo inspired bodysuit; she took the audience’s breath away.”
But believe it or not, Beyoncé’s outfit wasn’t even close to the most jaw-dropping of the evening. That award surely has to go, in a tie, to Janelle Monae and BET Awards co-host Anthony Anderson with their butt-cutout chaps that paid homage to the late singer Prince. Janelle kicked off the butt-baring fashions, performing songs like “Delirious,” “Kiss,” “Pop Life,” and “I Would Die 4 U,” all while wearing an outfit that was the perfect mix between Prince’s iconic white, ruffled Purple Rain suit and his rear-exposing 1991 MTV Video Music Awards look. Of course, Anderson had to be the butt of the joke, walking out right after Monae’s performance in his own take on the look and demanding answers.
(There were plenty of other spot-on style tributes to Prince — just check out Jennifer Hudson’s Christian Siriano minidress — but we gave top honors to the butt-baring duo by a cheek.)
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And while it seemed as though Anthony’s co-host Tracee Ellis Ross had a new head-to-toe look every time she came onstage, she was almost outdone in the costume change department by an audience member: Gabrielle Union, who wore three outfits (with new hairstyles to match) over the course of the show. Union started out the evening in a red and silver, one-shouldered Marc Jacobs gown paired Lorraine Schwartz jewels and newly twisted waist-length locks with metal embellishments. She then pulled her hair into a half-up bun to go with her white and sheer zebra-printed mini dress, a burgundy Monique Lhuillier clutch, and velvet Nicholas Kirkwood platform heels. Finally, Gabrielle went full-blown glam, pulling her hair into an up-do to go with this black cut-out column gown with a snakeskin-print halter neckline and bodice.
And while it’s not exactly style, an honorary mention is seriously in order for Jesse Williams who gave a BET Awards acceptance speech that earned him a spot in the next edition of the dictionary next to the term “Woke Bae.” Don’t believe us? Just watch and try to keep your face from turning into a giant heart-eyes emoji.
What was your favorite part of the BET Awards? What was your favorite of the night?