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Solange Knowles & Yara Shahidi Give Moving BET Awards Speeches

There were plenty of delightful moments at the 2017 BET Awards, but there were two acceptance speeches that deserve to be singled out and appreciated. Both Solange Knowles and Black-ish star Yara Shahidi gave inspiring speeches as they accepted their respective awards at the BET Awards. While their remarks were on the shorter side, Knowles and Shahidi not only gave thanks to those who supported them, but also made meaningful shows of love and support for their peers; it was truly a thing of beauty.

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Knowles, who appeared overwhelmed with joy as she took the stage to accept the Centric Award, began, “I just want to thank the universe for aligning the stars for this moment right here. My wonderful family and friends who have uplifted me through creating this record. My co-producer of ‘Cranes,’ Raphael Saadiq, it was a pleasure working with him. My incredible husband Alan Ferguson, who directed the video with me and has given me an abundance of love and support through this. My son, who has given me the courage to create art as free as I possibly can.”

She continued, “I want to thank BET for, in my teenage years, giving me images of queens like Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim, Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, Kelis — and the list goes on — and showing me those images and letting me know the sky’s the limit.” Knowles’ sweet thank you to one of the few television channels truly dedicated to delivering strong and powerful imagery of black women thriving in the arts was definitely a highlight of the evening.

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The other highlight of the night was Shahidi’s speech. She appeared to be both excited and humbled by winning the Young Stars Award, but her speech was absolutely perfect.

She began, “Somebody had to remind me I was nominated on the red carpet, so this was a nice surprise. I first and foremost have to say that my peer group is, like, the most amazing and I’m constantly inspired by the work that you put in. I’d have to thank BET for celebrating our culture so beautifully when it isn’t being celebrated everywhere else, as it should be.”

Shahidi then took a moment to give a meaningful shoutout. “Today is Tamir Rice’s birthday. So, amidst this celebration, I’d love to honor his life.” Then she finished up by giving some love back to the BET Awards crowd. “I thank you for supporting blackness and our contribution to society because it is so appreciated and so necessary for my generation to see.” Her words of love for Rice, the young man who was tragically killed by the police in 2014, as well as for BET as a network celebrating black culture seemed genuinely heartfelt and thus made her speech that much better.

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Both Knowles and Shahidi absolutely deserved their awards, but their respective speeches? They made their time in the BET Awards spotlight that much better.

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