Beyoncé wants you to vote “like our life depends on it”

The winner of BET’s Humanitarian of the Year Award 2020 used her speech to push for Americans to head to the polls.

by Douglas Greenwood
29 June 2020, 1:48pm

Still from the trailer for Beyoncé's 'Black Is King'

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter: singer, actor, philanthropist; arguably the most famous and valued person in the entertainment industry. There is little she hasn’t done by now, but every award she’s handed only continues to prove that no one can do what she does quite like her. A new addition to her already illustrious plume of prizes? BET’s Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Yep, at the digitally-staged ceremony which celebrated 20 years of the awards’ history, as well as 40 years of BET as a network, Beyoncé took home the night’s crowning prize for her charity work as the founder of the BEYGOOD network; her work with her mother Tina to ensure Black communities were given fair access to coronavirus tests in their hometown of Houston, Texas; and her unyielding ability to imbue all of her work with a socio-political importance.

Her prize was presented by Michelle Obama, who praised Bey’s “generosity of spirit” and “love for her community". Michelle continued: "You can see it in everything she does, from her music that gives voice to Black joy and Black pain, to her activism that demands justice for Black lives, and no matter how big the stages get, I know my girl isn't satisfied unless she's sharing all that shine she has with the next generation."

Beyoncé started by dedicating her prize to all of her Black peers who were “marching and fighting for change,” telling them: “Your voices are being heard, and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.” But she also used her speech as an opportunity to call for voter registration, and for those watching and listening to head to the polls: “We have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power,” she said, “and that is to vote.”

“I’m encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system,” Beyoncé -- who yesterday shared the trailer for her visual album Black Is King -- added. “There are people banking on us staying at home during local elections and primaries happening in states across the country. We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does.”

Hopefully, her power, platform and voice will help encourage fans across the USA to head out and make necessary change happen.

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