In case you missed the three-hour telecast, here were some of the other highlights:
1) Meek Mill’s performance.
Mill returned to the stage after his release from prison in April, when he was granted bail by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after an outcry over the length of his sentence (two to four years) for probation violation.
He debuted a new song, “Stay Woke,” with the night’s most powerful performance, which addressed everything from police brutality to incarceration. It opened with a newspaper that had headlines such as “17-year-old teen killed by local police officer ruled as homicide”; “Trump supports football league’s new national anthem policy,” and “Meek Mill’s fight for freedom still unfinished.” At one point, the performance depicted a young girl being shot by police; the character playing a police officer covered her body with an American flag.
Mill also wore a sweatshirt with the face of XXXTentacion, the 20-year-old rapper who was shot and killed last week in Florida.
2) The “Black Panther” tributes.
During his monologue, host Jamie Foxx gave a shout out to blockbuster “Black Panther”: “We have to address the panther in the room. Let’s not forget, we don’t need a president right now, cause we’ve got our king. Ryan Coogler gave us our king. Give it up for this director,” Foxx said, as the crowd cheered. “‘Black Panther’ is the third-largest grossing movie of all time. A black man did that.”
Then he called up Michael B. Jordan (who plays villain Killmonger) onstage to recite his famous line of dialogue, one that Foxx said “is so significant for today, right now.” After checking to make sure Foxx was serious, Jordan repeated it: “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.”
Coogler also addressed the audience after winning the best movie prize. “The film is about our experience of being African Americans and also trying to capture the experience of being African on this planet — when so many factors try to tell you it’s something you should be ashamed of, it’s something that you should hide,” he said. “For us, it was about tapping into that voice that we always hear that tells us to be proud of who you are and proud of where you come from.”
3) The Anita Baker tribute.
The legendary R&B singer won this year’s lifetime achievement award and got emotional as Foxx, Marsha Ambrosius, Ledisi and Yolanda Adams sang a medley of some of her most famous songs: “Same Ole Love,” “Giving You the Best That I Got,” “Caught Up in the Rapture,” “Sweet Love” and “You Bring Me Joy.”
During her acceptance speech, Baker encouraged new and veteran musicians to stick together.
“When you see the young ones, tap them on the shoulder. They need you. Young ones, now that you’re here tonight, look around the room and find a veteran and tap them on the shoulder and introduce yourself,” Baker said. “Let’s take care of each other. We need each other. We can’t do it alone.”
4) The Childish Gambino moment.
Donald Glover’s (or more specifically, his rapper alter ego Childish Gambino’s) violent music video for “This Is America” earned millions of views almost immediately when it was released last month. Foxx forced everyone in the audience to give Glover a standing ovation.
“Everybody begged me to do a joke about that song. I said, ‘That song should not be joked about,’ ” Foxx said, calling Glover a singer-songwriter-philanthropist-movie star. “They say he’s a young me, but I think he’s better looking. He’s incredible, and his hairline is real.”
Glover looked a bit awkward as he walked on stage (“This is uncomfortable for him,” Foxx informed everyone) and thanked Foxx. He also gave shout-outs to his fellow writers/TV stars, Lena Waithe of “The Chi” and Issa Rae of “Insecure.”
5) Janelle Monáe’s performance.
In the second-to-last song of the night, Monáe — and 20 backup dancers — brought down the house with a combination of “Django Jane” and “I Like That” from her latest album.
6) The possible allusion to #PermitPatty.
While they could have been referencing many incidents, presenters Jacob Latimore and Jason Mitchell of “The Chi” addressed a recent trend, which happened again this weekend when a woman in San Francisco (#PermitPatty) went viral for trying to call the cops on an 8-year-old girl selling water.
“It’s been a recent trend that white people just been calling the police on black people for no apparent reason,” Mitchell said, adding that they wanted to throw out some alternatives.
“If you see a black family barbecuing in the park, instead of calling the cops, practice your dab or something,” Latimore offered. “Play some Coldplay or practice the guitar.”
“9-1-1 is for emergencies. Not your insecurities,” Mitchell said. “So stop calling the cops!”
7) The combination of star power.
YG tried to bring his new music video of “Big Bank” to life, as he collaborated with Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Nicki Minaj on stage. And yes, Minaj did sit on top of a pink horse — just like the video — only this one had more glitter.
8) Shout-outs to politicians.
While presenting the award for best collaboration, Regina Hall and Amandla Stenberg (co-stars in the coming movie “The Hate U Give”) applauded all the “real-life black women superheroes out here.”
“Like Maxine Waters, who has the superpower of reclaiming her time,” Hall said.
“And Kamala Harris, with her real-life Wonder Woman lasso of truth,” Stenberg added.
“Two things I don’t want,” Hall said. “That’s to push off Pusha T or get questioned by Kamala Harris.”
Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B, “Finesse (Remix)”
DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller, “Wild Thoughts” — winner
DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z, Future & Beyoncé “Top Off”
Cardi B feat. 21 Savage, “Bartier Cardi”
French Montana feat. Swae Lee, “Unforgettable”
Kendrick Lamar, feat. Rihanna “LOYALTY.”
Best New Artist
SZA — winner
A Boogie wit da Hoodie
Tiffany Haddish — winner
Taraji P. Henson
Migos — winner
A Tribe Called Quest
Chloe x Halle
Best International Act
Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)
Davido (Nigeria) — winner
Distruction Boyz (South Africa)
Fally Ipupa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
J Hus (UK)
Tiwa Savage (Nigeria)
Stefflon Don (UK)
“Black Panther” — winner
“A Wrinkle in Time”
Best Female R&B / Pop Artist
Beyoncé — winner
Best Male R&B / Pop Artist
Bruno Mars — winner
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Kendrick Lamar — winner
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Cardi B — winner
Video of the Year
Drake, “God’s Plan” — winner
Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow,”
Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B, “Finesse (Remix)”
DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller, “Wild Thoughts”
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
Migos feat. Drake, “Walk It Talk It”
Chadwick Boseman — winner
Michael B. Jordan
Sterling K. Brown
Yara Shahidi — winner
Album of the Year
Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN.” — winner
Migos, “Culture II”
Kendrick Lamar & Various Artists, “Black Panther: The Album”
DJ Khaled, “Grateful”