Popular singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, 38, had a message for the audience at this year’s BET Awards.
During the ceremony, Beyoncé was presented with a Humanitarian Award by former first lady Michelle Obama, who congratulated Beyoncé on her commitment to the Black community.
“You can see it in everything she does, from her music that gives voice to Black joy and Black pain, to her activism that demands justice for Black lives,” Obama said. Obama also honored Tyler Perry, Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, and others.
“You’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” Beyoncé said as she accepted the award. “I’m encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system. We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does.” The singer from Houston dedicated her award to protesters around the country.
Several celebrities have become increasingly involved in philanthropy focused on struggling communities. They include Beyoncé, Pusha T, Trey Songz, Common and John Legend. Trey Songz and Pusha T have both participated in large efforts in their hometowns of Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia to feed needy families as part of the ‘Feed Your City Challenge.’
Thousands have benefited from their events, including the literal tons of food that have been given away to help families in those communities. Pusha T had previously been involved in philanthropy with a focus on giving back to his community in Norfolk. The rapper has said the work of The Ricky Davis Legacy Foundation in Houston inspired him to replicate a similar effort in Hampton Roads, Virginia. On June 3, a large food giveaway drive-through event took place in Norfolk and Trey Songz hosted a large drive-through food giveaway event in Petersburg on June 20.
Beyoncé was honored at the 20th annual BET Awards in part because of her BeyGOOD initiative. BeyGOOD is a philanthropic initiative that teams up with local charities in places of need to help the homeless, sick children and the unemployed. BeyGOOD joined with Bread of Life, Greater Houston Community Foundation, and Texas Southern University to assist people displaced after Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.
Beyoncé, whose net worth is over $400 million, recently released the song ‘Black Parade,’ celebrating Black pride. “I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle. Please continue to remember our beauty, strength and power. ‘Black Parade’ celebrates you, your voice and your joy and will benefit Black-owned small businesses,” the description reads under the YouTube Video of ‘Black Parade.’
(Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast Burkefile. She is also a political strategist as principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at <LBurke007@gmail.com> and on twitter at @LVBurke.)