Beyoncé on Sunday night was handed BET’s highest honor, its humanitarian award, which she dedicated to protesters taking to the streets around the nation. The singer was given the award by Michelle Obama, who said that Beyoncé’s activism “demands justice for Black lives.” In her acceptance speech, Beyoncé urged Americans to vote “like our life depends on it” in the upcoming U.S. election, and called on people to help “dismantle a racist and unequal system” in the country. “I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” she said. “Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote.” The BET awards celebrate Black artists and sports figures—previous recipients of the humanitarian award include legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and actor Denzel Washington.
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