BET Awards to Return in June With a Live, Vaccinated Audience

A year after the BET Awards became one of the first major awards to take place during the pandemic (two days after the Daytime Emmys ran via a virtual event), the ceremony will return next month as the first to invite vaccinated fans to be a part of the audience.

BET announced Tuesday that the 2021 BET Awards will return with a live event on Sunday, June 27, from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live. The network will invite vaccinated individuals to register (starting May 27) for consideration to be a part of the audience. BET said it will “work closely with Los Angeles County to support community vaccination efforts and ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols.”

BET president Scott Mills said he hoped the BET Awards announcement would help lend to vaccination awareness. The network has helped raise more than $19 million to assist people impacted by COVID-19.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, BET has been at the forefront of recovery efforts for our community, turning entertainment touchpoints into opportunities to empower our audiences and help combat the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19,” Mills said. “Vaccination rates among Black Americans are significantly lower than other communities. We are committed to using our signature programming event – The BET Awards – to encourage vaccination in our community.”

According to BET, last year’s show, which took place June 28, 2020 with a mix of in-studio host Amanda Seales and pre-produced music performances, was the No. 1 cable awards show among adults 18-49 in the 2020 broadcast season. The awards drew 3.7 million total viewers, simulcast live across ViacomCBS networks including BET, BET Her, and for the first time ever CBS. On BET it averaged 1.6 million viewers, with 1.9 million on CBS.

Connie Orlando, EVP specials, music programming & music strategy at BET will oversee the 2021 “BET Awards” and serve as executive producer along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment.

Orlando and Collins also handled last year’s socially distanced event, which featured performances by Alicia Keys, Chloe X Halle, DaBaby, D Smoke, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Jonathan McReynolds, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, SiR, Summer Walker, Usher and Wayne Brady.

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