The ceremony celebrated and honoured artists in the entertainment industry for their contribution in music, sports, television, and movies at the annual awards held at the Microsoft Theatre, Staples Centre.
A night to remember for most South Africans was the historic win by Sjava, who earned his first international accolade, the BET International Viewers’ Choice.
He is the first South African hip/hop artist to bring home the celebrated statue.
Known for his originality and authenticity, the man of the moment, dressed in full traditional Zulu attire, was nominated alongside Nigeria’s Niniola Apata and Kwesi Arthur from Ghana.
Sjava, whose real name is Jabulani Hadebe, made history at the show dressed in isiZulu attire, bare feet and ucansi (grass mat).
The Ngempela musician thanked his hometown, South Africans and Africans as a whole.
“Where I came from, few people make it to this stage, just being here and winning this award will make a lot of people happy and be inspired. They will see that it is possible to go far, just be yourself, be proud of yourself and where you come from,” the 32-year-old said.
Kgosi Mahumapelo, CEO of his record label Ambitiouz, said the win was thanks to the support of fans and partners who voted.
“In our first year of existence as a record label, Emtee was nominated for a BET Award; year two Amanda Black got the nod too; today on year three Sjava won the BET International Viewers’ Choice Award guess it’s third time lucky.”
Nigerian singer and BET International Viewers’ Choice nominee, Niniola, may have fallen short of winning any award but looked beautiful in a fairytale creation by Nigerian designer Yemi Shoyemi.
Niniola’s fellow Nigerian, Davido, also represented Africa in a simple all-black outfit, and later won Best International Act, where he was nominated alongside Cassper Nyovest, Distruction Boyz, Tiwa Savage and Fally Ipupa.