By Mekishana Pierre‍ And Mona Khalifeh‍, ETOnline.com.

Taraji P. Henson hosted this year’s BET Awards for the second time in a row in style! The actress served as the night’s emcee and used the opportunity to show love for some iconic Black men and women who have impacted pop culture.

The Color Purple actress kicked off the show by taking the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and wowing the audience with an unforgettable opening monologue, which amid all the celebration, called attention to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade over the weekend.

Sauntering onto the stage in a stunning sparkling gold gown and short black bob, Henson began her monologue by showing love to black excellence as she addressed her kings and queens in the audience on “culture’s biggest night.”

“Thank you. All right, y’all. Oh, my god. Kings and queens, stand up. This night is for you, baby. We back outside. Yeah, that’s how you do it. Welcome to the 20222 Bet Awards! I’m your host, Taraji P. Henson. Y’all can sit down. Sit down. Rest yourself. This is culture’s biggest night and look at all y’all. Back excellence y’all,” Henson exclaimed.

She continued, “I see you kings, just shining. I see you queens, shining. Look, y’all just making culture’s biggest night look like a room full of luxury. You look successful, expensive, you look like you can afford these gas prices. We’re going to celebrate, recognize and honor us and everything that we do.”

Henson then reminded those in the audience and at home, the power of the BET Awards and its celebration of the Black community.

“Let tonight be a reminder that we don’t need any other show accolades that we can give ourselves. This night is for my kings, black men. We love you. We hear you. And throughout the show, we are going to celebrate you.”

She also applauded Lizzo for opening the show with her jaw-dropping performance of “About Damn Time,” noting her body positivity and her philanthropy, after donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood amid the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Thank you to the amazing Lizzo, right? That’s how you start a show! Body positivity up in here. Also thank you, Lizzo, for pledging $1 million to Planned Parenthood,” Henson shared. “And you are damn right it’s about damn time we step into our power. It is about time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman. It’s a sad day in America.”

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

White Henson’s opener addressed the impactful issues of the past weekend, it also included a few jokes, with the actress congratulating Rihanna while urging the new mom to make her return to music.

“Speaking of giving life, Rihanna. She had the baby, that’s right. Congratulations on becoming a mother. Put Revlon out of business. You are shining bright like a diamond,” Henson said before briefly breaking into song to the tune of RiRi’s “Diamonds.”

“Get back to rhyming, we need you back rhyming, Rihanna. We need you,” Henson quipped.

She also took the moment to honor Diddy Combs, who is being honored with BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


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Ellen Bullock