Taraji P. Henson opened the 2022 BET Awards addressing both the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and gun violence.
Henson first thanked opening performer Lizzo for pledging $1 million to Planned Parenthood before using the singer’s song titled, “About Damn Time” to make a point.
“It’s about damn time we step into our power,” Henson said. “It’s about damn time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman. It’s a sad day in America.”
“A weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman who can give life if she chooses to,” Henson added.
That sentiment was on the minds of many women in the entertainment industry around the world. At the Glastonbury music festival in England over the weekend, Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish and several other artists blasted the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday, which overturned a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy after nearly half a century.
At the BET Awards, singer and actress Janelle Monáe presented the first award of the night, best female/R&B artist, and hailed Black artists - women in particular.
“Owning our truth and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies, my body and our decisions,” she said. “My decision. F*** you, Supreme Court.”
Jazmine Sullivan won the award and during her acceptance speech addressed the men of the world.
“It’s a hard time right now for us [women] and I want to speak directly to the men,” Sullivan said. “We need y’all. We need y’all to stand up for us, stand up with us. If you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing with us.”
“This is not just a woman’s issue,” she said. “This is everybody’s issue. And we need you more than ever.”
A slide reading “Roe v Wade” was also included in the show’s “In Memoriam” segment.