Beyonce & Kendrick Lamar opened the BET Awards with ‘Freedom’: amazing?

The BET Awards were held last night, and it seemed like a really nice event. They paid tribute to Prince throughout the evening, with Jennifer Hudson singing “Purple Rain,” Sheila E delivering a speech about Prince and Janelle Monae doing her own amazing tribute too – go here to see. You can see the full list of BET Award winners here. Beyond the Prince tributes, everyone’s talking about Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar opening the show with an extended version of Bey’s “Freedom.” That song is easily one of my favorites off of Lemonade, and Kendrick’s work on the track is GENIUS. Plus, it just feels like Beyonce and Kendrick are two artists at their absolute peak right now, and BET spent some serious money on the staging for this performance. It’s perfect.

Awesome, right? God, I love Kendrick.

Anyway, here are some fashion photos from the event. Beyonce didn’t walk the carpet or anything, but the hostess did – here’ Tracee Ellis Ross in a vintage Thierry Mugler gown. The skirt is too tight and the wrong length! But otherwise, I do love her.


Gabrielle Union wore Marc Jacobs. This was one of the best looks of the night.


Alicia Keys wore a jumpsuit/onesie and no makeup. It’s the turban that made me go “hm?” though. I thought for a second that she had silver hair now.


Karrueche Tran looked beautiful, right? But the dress is too tight.


And finally, here’s Janelle Monae in Sass and Bide. This was one of my favorite looks of the night too.


Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

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47 Responses to “Beyonce & Kendrick Lamar opened the BET Awards with ‘Freedom’: amazing?”

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  1. Tiffany27 says:

    Y’all she started singing and I swear my baby woke up and started watching. Freedom is my 2nd fave off of Lemonade so I was super happy to see this performance.

    • QQ says:

      Listen/……. I caught My life just now again at this water Spatzing out, I really really still am Taken aback by the genius of Lemonade, I mean Before Self Titled I would conscientiously abstain from Beyonceing as too lame and vapid and fluff

      • Santia says:

        Beyonce’s social voice went from a whisper to a roar real quick. But ya’ll don’t hear me ‘tho.

      • HH says:

        This performance was EVERYTHING. PEAK BLACKNESS. And I’m HERE.FOR.IT.

        And yes, prior to the “Beyonce” CD, I was just liked some of her songs, but wasn’t necessarily a fan. Now this girl has me buying Formation tickets. My first concert in years.

    • Fee says:

      Written By: John Lomax Sr., Alan Lomax, Frank Tirado, Kendrick Lamar, Dean McIntosh, Carla Williams, Beyoncé & Jonathan Coffer
      That’s a lot of talent who wrote Freedom. Lomaxs are exceptional in writing lyrics. Good work.

  2. mme says:

    Lordy Lord. I caught the holy spirit. They both have the range!!!

  3. mme says:

    Beyoncé’s voice is very underrated and I think it’s because she dances a lot but good Lord this woman can sing Rihanna, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift under a table. This performance is the best thing ever and they way she flips her hair makes me want to be a better person. Sweet Lord I’m stanning tf out. Slayyyy Queen

    • Naya says:

      I didnt realise how amazing her voice was until the Stevie Wonder tribute show. Then somebody sent me video of her and Alicia Keys (who I love) singing live duet together and I was blown away. Beyonce has one of those voices thats understated and easy to dismiss when it stands alone and then you hear it juxtaposed against other singers and you realise how much range and power it has.

      • Cee1 says:

        Bey also suffers from what I call too-goodism. She is consistently good so she gets overlooked on certain things. Like her voice. Strip away the lights and spectacle and she has an amazing voice. She is really underrated in that aspect. Do yourself a favour and check out her acapellas and rehearsals videos on youtube. When she gets tired of putting on a show she can still safely make a living on that voice alone.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I saw her in concert a few years ago (2013, I think) and though I’m no stan, I was blown away by how great her voice is. IMHO sometimes it’s “overshadowed” by the show itself, but yeah, she definitely has the pipes!

      I haven’t seen this performance yet but I am for sure going to watch it before the day is done. Freedom is one of my favorite tracks off of Lemonade, so I can’t wait to see it.

      • mme says:

        I shoulda added Adele to the people Bey can outsing in her sleep. And I f-king love her but let’s not act like Adele doesn’t sing on same 1.5 octaves in every damn song… oh and she never hits the high notes while on stage.
        Even though everyone thinks she does, she doesn’t have the range. Beautiful timbre tho

    • Lucinda says:

      I don’t really follow her but this is the first time I’ve ever seen her perform where I thought “Wow, she’s singing with something real!” It was truly beautiful, passionate and inspiring. I wish she sang like this more often.

      • Fee says:

        I agree, when she works with great writers she has Beautiful songs, I think she’s past her f u c k me Jay type songs.

  4. GiGi says:

    It was a great show! Sheila E.’s performance with Mayte, the Twinz, etc. was perfection!

  5. Colette says:

    I loved Bey and Kendrick and the Prince Tribute,especially Jennifer Hudson.The highlight of the show was Jessie Williams speech after receiving Humanitarian Award,IMO.

    • Melanie says:

      I’m not a Beyonce fan but I got my grandpa’s civil right’s sign out that closet after that one. Bilal singing “The Beautiful One” was everything. Jennifer Hudson yes child (clutching my pearls). Great idea to honor Prince through out the night.

  6. Jess says:

    Gabrielle is beautiful in that dress but Janelle is stunning. I have never loved a jumpsuit but that look is perfection.

  7. OriginallyBlue says:

    Jessie Williams speech was amazing. Love that man.

  8. Brittney B. says:


    You say they’re at their peak, but they both just keep climbing higher.

  9. MorningCoffee says:

    I am not a rap fan, but I am simply mesmerized by Kendrick Lamar. I can’t stop watching him. This was a fantastic performance. Bey brought it, big time.

    • Jen says:

      I think a lot of people probably feel that way-even if you’re not a rap fan, you can’t deny his talent and that there’s importance in his lyrics. I love him. You have to feel something when you hear this song, too.

  10. Ayra. says:

    I’m about to go find a puddle to dance this song in. I love Kendrick so much, lord help me.

  11. Almondjoy says:

    BET has REALLY stepped their game up. The show was just excellent. And I love how they honored Prince and stretched his tribute throughout the night instead waiting til the end to do it. Anthony and Tracee were hilarious as always and the performances were pretty good as well. Erykah Badu, Jhud, Sheila E, Chloe and Halle, Bilal, Maxwell… It was perfect. And Sam Jackson getting the lifetime achievement award was everything.

    • GiGi says:

      It was the best awards show I’ve seen in YEARS! It was fantastic!

      • Almondjoy says:

        Agreed! I was truly impressed. There was a point where I would cringe at the thought of the BET Awards but it was wonderful.

    • Nicole says:

      Agreed they delivered in a big way. I can’t remember the last time I watched the BET awards and I was only going to tune in for the Prince tribute…but then I saw on twitter that the Bey dancers were in Formation and I flipped the channel. So good

  12. jeanpierre says:

    Bey peaking since 2006. Can’t wait to see her tearing up stade de France! You go Bey! Great performance with kendrick. I love her dancers too. Gosh I can’t wait!
    My faves on lemonade are :
    1/ Don’t hurt yourself
    2/All night
    3/ Freedom
    Janelle monae is rocking That suit. Very pretty and talented girl.

    • Santia says:

      all night and sorry

    • Veronica says:

      “All Night” is my favorite, too. “Love Drought,” “Hold Up,” and “Freedom” are some of my other faves. “Sandcastles” isn’t my favorite lyrical piece on the album, but the emotional intensity with which she sings it really elevates it for me.

  13. Brea says:

    It was a top quality performance, the whole concept and the lyrics of the song are amazing. I really enjoyed all the tributes, especially Janelle Monaé.

  14. claire says:

    It was AMAZING! Powerful. And I love Kendrick so much!

    An aside…any SYTYCD fans looking for Jasmine, I think she was to B’s right in the back. Hard to tell for sure with all the flashing red and white lights over faces, but I think that was her.

  15. Mar says:

    Good for BET for putting an excellent show together.

  16. OhDear says:

    Whoa, what a performance!

  17. Nicole says:

    Freedom is hands down my favorite song from Lemonade. It was one of my favorite parts of the concert and we didn’t even have Kendrick there! This was amazing.

  18. Tiffany says:

    I love Kendrick as well. That is all.

  19. Kitten says:

    Wow Janelle Monae is PERFECTION.
    She’s like living pop art..her hair is on-point as well.

  20. Cee1 says:

    And that’s why she is so loved by her fans. She brings it. Every. Single. Time. I got goosebumps when she started singing. She and Kendrick were just mesmerising. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. It was like they were both giving off sparks of electricity. Pure black excellence.

  21. scooter says:

    Don’t mind me, I’m just over here trying not to cry at work.

    POW-ER-FUL. Damn. Damn on all the levels.

  22. Naddie says:

    Can anyone here do some charity and tell me how can I download or at least listen Lemonade? Up until now I only heard Hold up and Sorry.
    And oh, I loved the ladies here, but Janelle and Gabrielle Union are the best. Damn, Gabrielle is such a sight with this hair, smile and dress.

    • claire says:

      You could download Tidal and do the trial version. Then, you can see the actual videos/film for all of the songs. That’s not something to miss. Just set a reminder on your calendar to cancel before the 30 days is up. That’s what I did.

  23. Veronica says:

    Apparently, this was a surprise performance, and she had to take off before the show ended for London because her Europe tour is starting tomorrow. Which means that she went out of her way to perform for BET, showing that she felt is a valid forum. Say what you will about inherent celebrity narcissm, but this is clearly a cause she feels very passionate about and is utilizing her financial and media power to highlight. I can’t hate somebody who puts 110% into everything she does like that.

    • rudy says:

      I thought it was an amazing performance. Beyonce and her dancers were spectacular.

      My only criticism was the choreography. I loved the splashing water everywhere and the high kicks, the knee drops, but….there was something missing.

      And then out came Kendrick and all was well. He brought another type of energy. They made a great duo. I was impressed. I am RARELY impressed by live performance. lol

      I am a dance videographer and have seen so many shows over the years. Beyonce always leaves me wanting. But watching her show on Vimeo last night I was enthralled despite myself.

      • Veronica says:

        I’ve seen footage from her tour, and the choreography seemed more or less the same as what she performs there. I suppose they might have taken the moves down a notch for safety reasons – even barefoot, I’m sure that’s a less stable stage to be moving around in. I agree that I’d love to see more of the high intensity moves she usually does, but I also kind of understand why they used water – something essential to life that can be both serene and violently powerful, and of course, the unavoidable imagery of a baptism and rebirth.