The BET Awards came back for a 23rd edition last night. The ceremony rewarded the entertainment industry’s top Black artists and highlighted this past year’s notable achievements. Gen Z artists displayed their talents through showstopping performances and by taking home some of the most coveted awards of the night. Here are some of the main highlights.
Coco Jones won Best New Artist.
This year, the category was stacked with fan-favorite artists such as Ice Spice, Lola Brooke, GloRilla, Doechii, FLO and Ambré. Coco Jones took home the award, which marked a successful comeback to the music industry after leaving Disney, where she pursued a career as a child star.
“I just want to thank God so much for keeping me when I didn’t understand,” she said during her acceptance speech. “And for all of my black girls: we do have to fight a little harder to get what we deserve but don’t stop fighting even when it doesn’t make sense and you’re not sure how you’re going to get out of those circumstances, keep pushing because we are deserving of great things and I’m going to continue to give yall my everything.”
The 25-year-old artist released her debut album, What I Didn’t Tell You, in November 2022.
Latto won Best Female Hip Hop Artist.
Latto’s career reached new heights this year. From giving a memorable performance at Coachella, to using her music to make a statement against the repeal of Roe v. Wade and collaborating with the world’s top artists – Latto is here to stay.
“I’m not going to cry this year,” she said during her acceptance speech. “But shout out to God. Shout out to all the other women in the category and the women who paved the way for this to even be possible. This category is going crazy this year.”
The category included artists such as Cardi B, Coi Leray, GloRilla, Ice Spice, Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj. Latto also mentioned artists who she believes should have been included in the nominations, including Doechii, Maiya the Don and Flo Milli.
“Shout out to the women; we killing it. This is the year of the female, the year of women. Hopefully, we will see an all-female tour very soon,” she said.
Latto was also nominated for Best Collaboration for her single “Big Energy” (Remix) featuring Mariah Carey and DJ Khaled.
Ice Spice brought the Bronx to the BET stage.
The “Munch” rapper brought her home borough to the BET stage with elaborate sets and a themed performance. Ice Spice opened her set by rapping to her first viral hit and sitting on a basketball hoop. Dancers dribbled before joining in on the choreography. The NYC native then performed “Princess Diana” in front of a yellow and orange corner bodega. The performance’s DJ took place behind the counter as he added adlibs in support of Ice Spice. Again, some of the dancers participated as extras as they posed in front of the bodega as New Yorkers do when the weather gets warm. For “In Ha Mood,” Ice Spice rapped and walked towards a recreation of the Bronx 4 train stop, Fordham Road. The rapper was joined by dancers as she performed while going up the station’s stairs and as trains passed by behind her.
Ice Spice was nominated for Best Female Hip Hop Artist, Best New Artist and the BET Her Award for her hit song “Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2,” released with PinkPantheress.
Coi Leray paid homage to the rap world with her performance of “Players.”
Busta Rhymes received the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2023 BET Awards. For the occasion, the rapper performed several of his most iconic songs and brought out Coi Leray. The 26-year-old performed her viral hit “Players,” while accompanied by several dancers dressed in 1990s inspired black-and-white outfits. The rapper’s pants and jacket featured the names of female rappers as an homage to some of the top artists. The names of Missy Elliott, Def Loaf, Latto, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Ice Spice, GloRilla, BIA and more could be seen sown onto her outfit.
Coi Leray’s music is heavily influenced by old school rap. “Players” samples the 1982 hit “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Last March, Busta Rhymes collaborated with Leray on an official remix to her hit single.
Leray was nominated for Best Female Hip Hop Artist and the BET Her Award for the song. She released her second album, COI, last Friday.
Doechii showcased her talent with a beach-themed performance.
Doechii wowed the crowd during last year’s ceremony. This time around, the artist further cemented her status as one of the most talented rising figures in the industry. The Florida native opened her performance with her dance-infused track “Booty Drop” while on a pink scooter. Doechii wore a metallic pink cut-out swimsuit with a belt chain and spat bars in a pink bedazzled microphone. She danced alongside dancers on beach chairs and held a foil reflector as she transitioned into the next song. Doechii sang her hit single “What It Is” as she walked towards a pool on stage. The song samples the 2004 track “Some Cut” by Trillville. For the occasion, she brought out the Southern rappers to the stage as they performed a medley of the original song to conclude the performance.
Doechii was nominated for Best New Artist. She will be performing as a supporting act on Doja Cat’s upcoming The Scarlet Tour.
GloRilla brought vintage glamour to her performance of “Lick Or Sum!”
The Memphis rapper performed her latest single, “Lick Or Sum!,” during the 2023 BET Awards. She opened her performance on a lip-shaped sofa while the stage projectors shone tinted pink light on her. Her performance featured red bedazzled outfits and giant lollipops as stage props and on the screen behind her. “Lick or Sum!” samples the 1999 hit “Slob on My Knob” by DJ Paul, Juicy J, Lord Infamous and Project Pat’s.
GloRilla was nominated for Best New Artist, Best Female Hip Hop Artist, Album of the Year for her project Anyways, Life’s Great…, Video of the Year for “Tomorrow 2” and Best Collaboration for “Tomorrow 2” and “F.N.F.”.