Blakanda and the Beautiful: The Best, the Boldest and the Bad(dest) Looks of the 2018 BET Awards

Maiysha Kai 06/27/2018. 15 comments
RED CARPET STYLE 2018 BET Awards Black Hollywood Black Celebrities Black Music Janelle Monae Comes Out Janelle Monae K Michelle Erica Ash Pride Month

“Blakanda” was the theme, and black Hollywood didn’t disappoint at the 2018 BET Awards Sunday night, when black excellence took center stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Since several of our Root crew were in attendance, we left it to them to fill you in on all the details about the show, while we’ll do what we do best here at The Glow Up—recap the fashion.

As a ceremony that brings together the worlds of film, television, music and activism, the BET Awards is reliably full of surprises when it comes to style, ranging from typically elegant awards looks to completely out-there style. But we can always count on the awards being, in the words of departing CEO Debra Lee, “unapologetically black.”

At this year’s ceremony, at least one star was also unapologetically proud: Janelle Monáe, who recently came out as pansexual, gave what we hope was a Pride Month-worthy nod to her LGBTQIA+ brethren, with a dramatic and prismatic rainbow-hued tulle ball skirt, which she paired with a beaded bustier, ornament-like jeweled minaudiére and conductor’s cap.

Equally colorful was actress Erica Ash, who gave us some serious “black is beautiful” vibes in gorgeous beaded cornrows and a sparkling ’70s-style shift dress that fit to perfection. If Ash looks like she’s floating, we can’t say we blame her; the look was flawless.

But one of the best looks of the night was South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha, who gave us Diana Ross realness in a stunningly elegant ivory beaded gown with blouson sleeves and a plunging neck, which she paired with a matching headscarf, naturally textured hair and a dazzling smile.

But while those were our favorite looks of the night, there were plenty more fashion moments to behold at Sunday night’s ceremony. As usual, we’ve gathered them here for your viewing pleasure—with a little light commentary, of course. Until next year ... enjoy!

(Correction: Monday, June 25, 2018, 1:19 p.m. EDT: An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha as American singer and reality star K. Michelle. The article has been revised to reflect this correction.)

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