The 2023 BET Awards honored Black music and culture’s history, present, and future on Sunday, June 25, live from California’s Microsoft Theater.

The annual awards program returned for a 23rd year with some delightfully unexpected, tearjerking, and all-around proud moments, despite people’s apprehensions prior to the event, such as the absence of a host owing to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.

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Here are 5 best moments from BET Awards 2023:

  1. Quavo and Offset reuniting to honor Takeoff

Nobody anticipated Quavo and Offset to perform together for the first time since Takeoff’s tragic death in November of last year when it happened about an hour into the show to remember “The Rocket.” The two remaining members of Migos huddled around a lone spotlight and sang “Hotel Lobby” off Quavo and Takeoff’s 2022 collaborative album Only Built For Infinity Links while a floor-to-ceiling projection of a rocket emerged on the screen.

Watching the animated rocket soar into the sky and leave behind a life-size image of their lost member, they yelled, “Do it for Take!” The tone of the live and TV audiences soon changed from dejected to jubilant when Quavo and Offset performed their three-week Hot 100 No. 1 song, “Bad and Boujee,” featuring Lil Uzi Vert for the ultimate sing-along moment. The BET Awards will continue to produce moments like this since everyone in the Microsoft Theater was standing the entire time they performed.

2. Kid Capri’s tribute to Jamaican culture

This evening, Kid Capri paid tribute to Jamaica with performances that included Mad Lion (“Take It Easy”) and Patra (“Romantic Call”), noting the genres’ lasting influence on hip-hop. But there were other visual representations in the house in addition to the backing dancers waving the green, yellow, and black Jamaican flag. Busta Rhymes reminded the crowd that DJ Kool Herc was “a bloodclot Jamaican” during his tribute performance by projecting photographs of him onto a screen.

Before Busta mentioned Spice (“So Mi Like It”), Skillibeng (“Whap Whap”), and Cutty Ranks (“A Who Seh Me Dun (Wait Deh Man)), speakers wearing the Rastafarian colors of green, yellow, and red appeared on screen.

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3. The moment Busta Rhymes receives the lifetime achievement award

When Swizz Beatz and Marlon Wayans presented Busta Rhymes with the Lifetime Achievement Award, he was unable to stop the tears from running down his cheeks. He said, “Alright, so, I’mma wear it on my sleeve. I do wanna cry,” and the thunderous applause that followed started the tears. Before continuing with the rest of his statement, Busta wiped his face with a towel. He then discussed his concurrent problems with being a solo rapper and a father, as well as how he “pioneered the feature.” Below is a video of his whole acceptance speech.

4. Teyena Taylor’s big moment

Teyana “Spike Tey” Taylor was unable to personally accept her video director of the year award, but her mother Nikki Taylor came up with a resourceful solution. “I’m sorry, this is a little off-script, but this is her night, I’m going to let her have her night, I’m calling her right now. Sorry, BET!” Before grabbing her phone and video-chatting with her kid from the podium, Nikki made that announcement. Teyana was speechless as her mother turned the camera toward the live audience, and she became even more frightened when she learned that she would be receiving another BET Award for video director of the year, which she had already received in 2020.

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5. Davido’s performance

Although Davido was not the first Afrobeats musician to perform on the BET Awards main stage, his imposing presence on Sunday night made it clear that the continent’s biggest talents are deserving of dominating the most popular platforms in the United States. He took Lagos to Los Angeles with his performance of “Feel” and his summer hit “Unavailable,” which features Musa Keys, just after the release of his Timeless album. Davido, one of the biggest Afrobeats artists in the world, reminded American listeners that Black music celebrations need to be international.