Beyoncé not only made a rare appearance tonight, she gave an even rarer speech at the BET Awards while accepting the Humanitarian of the Year award.
She was presented with the award by none other than Michelle Obama, who delivered a heartfelt tribute to the music icon.
"Talk about the queen, you know the one," the former first lady said while introducing Bey. "Ever since she was a little girl in Houston, Beyoncé Knowles Carter has been lighting up the stage and gracing the world with her talent, with her generosity of spirit, and with her love for her community."
"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. That's why she's always pulling up young performers like Chloe x Halle and that orchestra that dazzled us in her Homecoming special."
"That's why she's calling out sexism and racism when she sees it, paving out a new path for artists who are trying to navigate the music industry. That's why she went out of her way to rewrite 'Get Me Bodied' for the White House's 'Let's Move!' campaign and got a whole lot of kids shaking it on the dance floor."
"She's always turning up, looking out, and making us all a little bit better, a little more fierce — and she's doing it all while staying devoted to her children and the loved ones she holds dear," she added. "So to my girl, I just want to say: You inspire me. You inspire all of us."
Beyoncé then delivered a powerful plea for everyone to vote in the upcoming elections: "Thank you so much for this beautiful honor. I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there [and] all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching, and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard, and you're proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain," she said.
"Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power and that is to vote. I'm encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system. We have to continue to do this together: Continue to fight for each other and lift each other up, because there are people banking on us staying at home during elections happening in states across the country. We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does. So please continue to be the change you want to see."
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