BET wasn’t for the shade that followed Beyoncé’s pre-recorded performance in 2014.
The network quickly got critics who joked Beyoncé had gotten too big for the awards show in Formation on Sunday, opening the 2016 BET Awards with a surprise performance from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar.
The Lemonade collaborators kicked off the night with an electrifying rendition of Freedom, the 10th track from Beyoncé’s platinum-selling sixth album.
Beyoncé helmed the performance, blessing fans at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater with the miraculous sight of her walking on water – aka, a lap pool, the same setup she’s incorporated onstage at her Formation world tour stops.
Flanked by tribal dancers, Queen Bey proceeded to stomp for the ancestors, chanting, “Freedom, freedom, w are you? ‘Cause I need freedom too. I break chains all by myself. Won’t let my freedom rot in hell. I’ma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.”
Fellow BET Award nominee Lamar later joined the Hold Up songstress, launching into unapologetically political bars.
“Open correctional gates in higher desert. Open our mind as we cast away oppression,” the self-proclaimed King of Compton rapped.
“Open the streets and watch our beliefs. And when they carve my name inside the concrete, I pray it forever reads…”.