Iconic singer Beyonce was presented with the prestigious Humanitarian Award at the 20th annual BET Awards on 28 June for her sweeping charitable work by former First Lady Michelle Obama.
As she applauded the singer’s “activism that demands justice for black lives”, the ex-First Lady said in a video presentation:
“I’m here to introduce the Queen… She’s always turning up, going out and making us all a little bit better and a little more fierce. To you my girl, I just wanna say, You inspire me. You inspire all of us. Congratulations girl. Love you so much.”
Subsequent footage of Beyonce’s broad-ranging humanitarian efforts work followed. The 24-time Grammy winner dedicated her award to all her “brothers and sisters fighting for racial justice”, saying:
“You’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.”
Beyonce then addressed all viewers and fans to vote in the upcoming US general election in November.
“Continue to change and dismantle racist and unequal systems… There are people banking on us staying at home. We have to vote like our life depends on it – because it does,” urged the singer.
Through her BeyGOOD initiative, in 2017 Beyoncé created “Formation Scholars” to offer support for young women, awarding scholarships to female graduate students pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature, and African-American studies.
One of the most successful recording artists in history was involved in projects to construct low-income housing, assist in disaster relief, especially after Hurricane Harvey, and funding fellowships for Global Citizen, in Africa.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Beyonce and her mother, Tina Knowles Lawson worked towards establishing coronavirus testing sites and clinics in her hometown of Houston, as part of the #IDIDMYPART mobile testing initiative.
Together with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Beyonce offered a programme of mental health relief during the pandemic.
On Juneteenth, the artist released her single "Black Parade" in honour of the Black community.
Netizens were vocal in their appreciation of the iconic artist’s efforts.
Long live the Queen— Wake Up! (@lovestheonlycur) June 29, 2020
Some, however, were somewhat skeptical over the award going to Beyonce.
What she has done?— Jaime de los Angeles (@AngelTaino) June 29, 2020
Money money money. Why does that make you a humanitarian?? Anyone can throw money around when you have it.— yummy fat ninja (@bell01121) June 29, 2020
The star-studded 2020 BET Awards event, hosted by comedian Amanda Seales, was punctuated with references to the coronavirus pandemic and protests that have swept the country against systemic racism and police brutality after the death of black man George Floyd in police detention in Minnesota on 25 May.
The ceremony featured archival video footage in a tribute to Black history.