Beyoncé urged her fans to cast their ballots during an acceptance speech for the BET Awards on Sunday, adding that their votes are necessary in order to “dismantle a racist and unequal system.”
The mega pop star accepted the BET Humanitarian Award during the virtual ceremony, making a veiled reference to the Black Lives Matter protests and riots that continue to seize the country. “I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there, inspiring me, marching, and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard. And you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” she said.
— Beyoncé Charts (@yoncechart) June 29, 2020
The former Destiny’s Child singer, who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, then turned her focus to upcoming elections.
“Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power. And that is to vote. I’m encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system,” she said. “We have to continue to do this together, continue to fight for each other, and lift each other up. Because there are people banking on us staying at home during local elections and primaries happening in states across the country.”
She concluded on a note of urgency. “We have to vote like our life depends on it. Because it does. So please continue to be the change you want to see.”
The BET Awards on Sunday was dominated by tributes to Black Lives Matter, with multiple artists paying homage to the movement during their televised performances. Michelle Obama helped present Beyoncé with the BET humanitarian award, before the singer gave her politically charged speech.
Among them was pop star Alicia Keys, who ended a performance of her new song “Perfect Way to Die” by taking a knee as the camera pulled overhead showing the names of black people killed written in chalk, and singer Roddy Ricch, who wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt while performing “High Fashion” and “The Box.”