“Blakanda” was the theme, and black Hollywood didn’t disappoint at the 2018 BET Awards Sunday night, when black excellence took center stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Since several of our Root crew were in attendance, we left it to them to fill you in on all the details about the show, while we’ll do what we do best here at The Glow Up: recap the fashion.
As a ceremony that brings together the worlds of film, television, music and activism, the BET Awards are reliably full of surprises when it comes to style, ranging from typically elegant awards looks to completely out-there style. But we can always count on the awards being, in the words of departing CEO Debra Lee, “unapologetically black.”
At this year’s ceremony, at least one star was also unapologetically proud: Janelle Monáe, who recently came out as pansexual, gave what we hope was a Pride Month-worthy nod to her LGBTQIA+ brethren, with a dramatic and prismatic rainbow-hued tulle ball skirt, which she paired with a beaded bustier, ornamentlike jeweled minaudiére and conductor’s cap.
Equally colorful was actress Erica Ash, who gave us some serious “Black is beautiful” vibes in gorgeous beaded cornrows and a sparkling ’70s-style shift dress that fit to perfection. If Ash looks like she’s floating, we can’t say we blame her; the look was flawless.
But one of the best looks of the night was South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha, who gave us Diana Ross realness in a stunningly elegant ivory beaded gown with blouson sleeves and a plunging neck, which she paired with a matching headscarf, naturally textured hair and a dazzling smile.
But while those were our favorite looks of the night, there were plenty more fashion moments to behold at Sunday night’s ceremony. As usual, we’ve gathered them here for your viewing pleasure—with a little light commentary, of course. Until next year ... enjoy!
Soul Inspiration: Honoree Anita Baker looked elegant as ever in accepting a much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 BET Awards.
Come through, legs! Marsha Ambrosius showed off her enviable assets.
Yolanda Adams sparkled in stride.
Ledisi was a black-on-black goddess.
T.I. looked dapper, as usual.
Ella Mai may be new to the business but is already boo’d up with the camera.
Nicki Minaj continued to channel Chun Li—this time, in red latex.
Pink Sunday: A second (or third?) costume change calls for serious sparkle when you’re Nicki Minaj.
Luke Cage does crushed velvet; Mike Colter was surprisingly stiff in this camolike jacket.
Host Jamie Foxx slipped into something more comfortable (we’re still not sure why).
2 Chainz went for the gold in a Gucci short suit (we’re guessing Dapper Dan had a hand in this ensemble).
Woody McClain and Gabrielle Dennis channel their best Bobby and Whitney ahead of the premiere of BET’s The Bobby Brown Story.
You think YG was trying to tell us he has money to spare?
As a pair, Omari Hardwick and Tika Sumpter somehow made the perfect beachside cabana.
H.E.R. got us focused in head-to-toe blue.
Golden girls: Regina Hall and Amandla Stenberg paired up in the color of the night.
Tyra Banks gave us a lot of look in flesh-toned lace.
Anderson .Paak put a new spin on the short set.
Director X kept it cool in khaki.
Miguel went for a white-out.
Bobby Brown was relaxed and ripped.
Asahd Tuck Khaled proved you don’t need to grow into Gucci.
Halle Bailey and Chloe Bailey of Chloe x Halle always mix it up; this time, baring midriffs.
Donald Glover’s pajamalike print-on-print looked crazy comfortable.
Ne-Yo matched his suit to his sneakers. Enough said.
Storm Reid kept it celestial ... and we loved her Bantu knots.
Is Terry Crews the coolest, or what?
Yvonne Orji was radiant in red, getting us excited to see what she’ll be rocking as Molly this season on Insecure.
Takeoff, Quavo and Offset of Migos gave us mariachi chic, as usual.
Amara La Negra looked a bit confused in canary.
Bozoma Saint John gave us big hair and body in the night’s favorite color.
Lil Mama looked all grown up.
Esnavi was breezy and bohemian in all-over floral.
Gucci Mane continued the floral theme in an embroidered tux jacket.
Victor Oladipo’s graphic floral was a daring do-over on the typical suit.
Superfly’s Lex Scott Davis went sexy in black chiffon.
Marsha Ambrosius (left) and family spelled it out for us.
Bryshere Y. Gray looked ready for the ultimate white party.
Keyshia Ka’Oir was all curves in cotton-candy pink.
Trevor Jackson pieced it together.
Brandon T. Jackson gave us his best Morpheus impression.
Camryn Howard got bold (and bare-chested) in black and white.
Luke James looked ... warm (are those latex?).
After three decades, former BET Executive Debra L. Lee made an elegant exit from the company.
Rotimi clearly adores Dior (it was written all over his shirt).
Meek Mill said it simply: “Freedom.”
Serayah McNeill was glistening in gold to match her new bob.
Rick Ross represented for the all-Gucci-everything contingent.
Big Freedia was live and in living color.
Elise Neal was a glittering goddess (and still glowing at 52!).
Besties Blac Chyna and Amber Rose went for bombshell vibes.
Karate kid: Miles Brown mixed prints.
Logan Browning’s look kind of left us hanging out to dry.
We don’t know what look Lakeith Stanfield was going for with his red-carpet wig, but we kind of loved it.
Correction: Monday, June 25, 2018, 1:19 p.m. EDT: An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha as American singer and reality star K. Michelle. The article has been revised to reflect this correction.