Stars hit out at US abortion laws at ceremony

June 28, 2022 7:35 am

Host Taraji P Henson said "a weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman that can give life". [Source: BBC]

Janelle Monae, Jazmine Sullivan and Taraji P. Henson were among the stars at this year’s BET Awards speaking out against the US Supreme Court rolling back abortion laws.

The show, founded in 2001, celebrates black music and entertainment.

It was held in Los Angeles on Sunday, days after the Roe vs Wade ruling was overturned.

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Protests have taken place in the US, despite a lot of support for the change in laws.

“It’s about damn time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than women,” said host Taraji P. Henson, after Lizzo performed her current hit About Damn Time at the event.

“A weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman that can give life – if she chooses to.”

Following last week’s ruling, Lizzo pledged a $1m (£810,000) donation to Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organisation providing reproductive health care in the US.

Janelle Monae made her comments as she introduced nominees for the best female R&B/pop artist at the ceremony at LA’s Microsoft Theatre.

“These artists are making art on our own terms, owning our truths and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies, my body and our decisions,” she said.

And when the winner was announced as Jazmine Sullivan, she used her moment to continue the same message – and call for support from males as well.

“I want to speak directly to the men: We need y’all. We need y’all to stand up, stand up for us, stand up with us,” she told the audience.

“If you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing.

“This is not just a woman issue. This is everybody’s issue. We need your support more than ever.”

Other award winners included The Weeknd, who took best male R&B/pop artist, Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, who won best group as Silk Sonic, Megan Thee Stallion, who was named best female hip-hop artist, and Kendrick Lamar for best male hip-hop artist.

Kendrick, who didn’t attend the ceremony because he was headlining the closing night of Glastonbury, spoke out against the Roe vs Wade ruling from the festival stage.

“Godspeed for women’s rights. They judge you, they judge Christ,” he said at the end of his performance, wearing a crown of thorns with blood pouring down his face.

Will Smith was also a winner at the BET Awards, picking up the best actor award for his role in King Richard, which was also named best movie.

He caused controversy at this year’s Oscars when he walked onto the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Singer Brandy was a surprise guest during rapper Jack Harlow’s performance, while her brother Ray J was spotted in the audience eating a cup noodle during the show.