The 2022 BET Awards took place just two days after the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning 50 years of abortion rights granted by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Stars at the show including Janelle Monáe and host Taraji P. Henson spoke directly to the court when they took the stage at the awards show.
Taraji P. Henson called out the Supreme Court
Empire star Taraji P. Henson returned to the BET Awards stage for the second year in a row in June 2022. The longtime actor wasted no time in addressing the elephant in the room — the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade — by calling out the court directly in her opening monologue.
Henson praised Lizzo for pledging to donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood in the wake of the decision. Henson then referenced Lizzo’s hit song “About Damn Time” to make a point about abortion rights.
“It’s about damn time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman,” Henson said plainly. “It’s a sad day in America. A weapon that can take lives has more rights than a woman that can give life — if she wants to.”
Janelle Monáe didn’t mince words: ‘F*** you, Supreme Court’
While Henson was more diplomatic with her words, her Hidden Figures co-star Janelle Monáe was more frank with her sentiments when she took the stage to present the award for best female R&B/pop artist.
“F*** you, Supreme Court,” Monáe said, putting up a middle finger. “I know we’re celebrating us right now, which we should. We absolutely deserve to celebrate. Especially now, we must celebrate our art by protecting our right and our truth.”
“I’d like to give a special, special shoutout to Black women, to Black queer artists, to Black nonbinary artists,” Monáe said. “These artists 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, my decision.”
Latto and Jazmine Sullivan expressed their support
Henson and Monáe weren’t the only stars to use their voices for good at the BET Awards. Monáe presented the best female R&B/pop artist award to singer Jazmine Sullivan, who then used her speech to shine a light on what’s happening.
“Men: we need y’all,” she said. “We need y’all to stand up for us, stand up with us. … This is not just a woman’s issue — this is everybody’s issue. We need your support more than ever. Y’all got us? ‘Cause we got y’all.”
After Latto won the best new artist award, she was emphatic in her acceptance speech. “It’s giving pro-choice,” she said forcefully. “It’s never giving a man policing my body.”
The cast of Tyler Perry’s Sistas also used their time on stage wisely, encouraging viewers to go out and vote, adding, “In light of the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade, it’s time for sisters across the world to lift our voices.”