Tyla wins big as SA artists triumph at BET Awards


South African singer Tyla was one of the big winners at this year’s BET Awards, dubbed ‘culture’s biggest night’.

The artist was named best new artist and best international act.

“This is such a gift to be here. I want to dedicate this one to Africa,” she said during her acceptance speech for best new artist, wearing a slinky black dress.

“I want to dedicate this one to all the African superstars before me. Africa to the world!”

She went on to give an electrifying performance of her hit song ‘Jump’, featuring United States (US) rapper Gunna and Jamaican dancehall DJ Skillibeng.

Dancers wearing tigerprint bodysuits – a nod to her fan base she affectionately calls Tygers – opened her act, which also included a gigantic elephant statue and performers on stilts.

The BET Awards is an American award show founded in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate and honour black and underrepresented people in the entertainment industry.

This year’s ceremony was held at the Peacock Theatre in California.

Tyla was not the only South African winner, as Makhadzi, a Limpopo-born artist, won the viewer’s choice: best new international act award.

“I started music from the streets, and today I’m here. My dream just came true. I’m just speechless. This is the best birthday ever,” she said.

She stunned in a fun pink ensemble for the red carpet.

Newly appointed minister of sport, arts and culture Gayton McKenzie congratulated the two home-grown stars on X.

“Things are happening already, congratulations to both ladies, we wanna assure South Africans that we will not be a ministry that will be content with congratulating artists and creatives only, but will go out and unearth more Tylas & Makhadzis. Help us find more future superstars,” he said.

It was also a chance to see great fashion.

South African rapper Focalistic, who was nominated for best international act, looked dapper in a red suit, while Senegalese-American singer Akon got the colour-same memo.

Nigerian singer Tems won best gospel/inspirational award, beating Kirk Franklin and Little Mermaid actress Halle Bailey, with her song ‘Me & U’.

She was, however, not in attendance as she was performing at the United Kingdom’s Glastonbury Festival.

Tems was also nominated as video director of the year, but didn’t win.

Ayra Starr and Asake were nominated for best international act, but lost to Tyla. – BBC Entertainment

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