Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar open the 2016 BET Awards ceremony; stars pay tribute to Prince

LOS ANGELES, June 26 (UPI) — Recording superstars BeyoncĂ© and Kendrick Lamar opened Sunday’s 2016 BET Awards by singing “Freedom,” surrounded by dancers stomping and splashing in water against a fiery backdrop.

The show’s co-hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson followed the thrilling act by rapping their monologues while dressed in costumes inspired by the 18th century-set, Broadway musical Hamilton.

A short time later, comedian Dave Chapelle introduced a tribute to the late recording artist Prince, stating: “April 21, 2016. Very difficult morning for many of us. We got that news that one of our heroes had left us and, literally, our hearts were broken. … We miss him dearly, so tonight, the BET Awards are going to celebrate the rich legacy of this remarkable genius that we are all so proud of.”

Erykah Badu and The Roots joined forces on Prince’s “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” after which Bilal sang “The Beautiful Ones.” Stevie Wonder, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Hudson and others later continued the salute by offering renditions of some of his other classic songs.

The BET Awards recognize the contributions of people of color to the entertainment and sports industries.

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