Arts & Entertainment

7 reasons to watch the 2016 BET Awards

Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for BET
Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Drake in the video "Hotline Bling."
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Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Alicia Keys performs during the outside broadcast of the MTV EMA's 2014 at on November 9, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for MTV)
Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for MTV
Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
D'Angelo has just released his first album in 15 years, "Black Messiah."
Vallery Jean/FilmMagic
Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 07: Singer Jennifer Hudson (C) performs with the MJ Show Company dancers and the Andrae Crouch singers at the Michael Jackson public memorial service held at Staples Center on July 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Jackson, the iconic pop star, died at the age of 50 at UCLA Medical Center after going into cardiac arrest at his rented home on June 25 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mark Terrill-Pool/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jennifer Hudson
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Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES, FEBRUARY 28: R&B performer Usher and Soul Train producer Don Cornelius arrive at the 19th Annual Soul Train Music Awards at Paramount Studios on February 28, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Usher; Don Cornelius
Vince Bucci/Getty Images


Tonight, Los Angeles will host another awards show — the 2016 BET Awards. Unlike most awards shows, which stick to one genre or medium, this one honors the best in music, acting, movies and sports. 

Drake is the frontrunner, earning nine nominations. Beyoncé and Rihanna each received five. But this year, it may be less about the competition and more about the performances, especially the Prince tribute. Here are a few other reasons to watch.

The BET Awards will take place at the Microsoft Theater in downtown L.A. The show will be broadcast live on BET starting at 8 p.m. PST. 

1. A Celebration of Prince

Janelle Monae, Sheila E., D'Angelo, The Roots and Stevie Wonder are teaming up to honor the Purple One. For many fans, the tribute to the music icon will be a palate cleanser after Madonna's version of "Purple Rain" the Billboard Music Awards. After that show, BET tweeted: "Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We Got You." The tweet was deleted, but once the shade has been thrown, it cannot be reeled back in.

 

2. The Performers

The lineup includes Usher, Alicia Keys, Maxwell, Future, Erykah Badu and Jennifer Hudson. Alicia Keys is excited.

alicia 

3. The Hosts

Blackish co-stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson will emcee the awards show. They're have good chemistry as an onscreen couple so we're hoping for some snappy banter instead of the stilted patter these kinds of shows usually produce.

 

4. Muhammad Ali

BET hasn't announced any official plans to pay tribute to the boxing legend, who died earlier this month, but there are reports he'll be celebrated in some manner. 

5. Surprise Guests

Beyoncé hasn't performed at the awards show since 2009 and with "Lemonade" (and her "Formation" video and her Super Bowl show) still on people's minds, she seems like an ideal candidate to show up for a stealth performance. 

6. The Drama

Nicki Minaj is up for Best Female Hip Hop Artist. She's already won the award five years in a row. Who know's what'll happen if she doesn't win again — or if she does.

7. The Commentary

We'll let DeRay McKesson's Twitter feed do the talking. Just follow the hashtag #BETAwards.

deray