When the BET awards took place last year, the show was still a work in progress.
The streaming service had not yet launched a streaming service for music and had not announced an upfront deal with major labels like Apple or Sony.
But the showrunners were able to put together a big-ticket event in the Hollywood Bowl, with a big stage and a ton of star power.
“I don’t think there’s been an awards show in years that was as big as it was,” said BET CEO Rhett Reese.
“There was a lot of talent, a lot more people in the arena than we had in years past, and there was a very big audience that came out.”
“We just wanted to make sure we did everything we could to make the show the best experience it could be,” said executive producer Paul Lieber, who was also behind the BET Original Movie Awards, which aired in 2020.
“It was very exciting.”
Lieber said the big-budget event was important to show the network and its fans that the network was a serious player in music.
“We wanted to show that the BET network is a major player in the industry, that we are on a par with some of the big labels, and we’re making it work,” he said.
“So we really wanted to put the BET experience in front of the people.
It’s a real show of respect for the network.”
Lieberg and Reese also gave a special shout-out to Beyoncé, who appeared on stage for the first time as a nominee, and her husband Jay-Z, who also appeared on the show.
“Beyoncé is such a big part of the show, and she’s such a superstar, and to be able to bring her in as a regular performer, and see how big of a role she’s playing in this, it was an honor to be there,” Reese said.
Beyoncé is the star of the smash hit “Lemonade,” which received three nominations in the Best Pop Vocal Performance category at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Jay-ZA is best known for his hit single “I’m Ready.”
The showrunners also revealed a special behind-the-scenes video for “Latch,” which showed the production crew making the show’s signature signature dance move.
“Latches is a dance move that we put in place because we wanted to capture the feel of a party in the backyard,” Lieber explained.
“When you make it on this show, it’s just one of those things that you do to make your friends laugh.”
Liebert said they had to get creative with how they presented it.
“This was a big event for us and it was going to be a big celebration for us,” he added.
“For some of us, it would have been a lot easier to just do the music video, and have all the music and the people there, and then just have it come to the stage and go to the mic, and just be in the middle of the crowd.”