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2024 BET Awards Producers Tease Unforgettable Usher Moment (Exclusive)

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Culture’s Biggest Night, also known as the 2024 BET Awards, is jam-packed with some of the hottest acts in the music industry. From Megan Thee Stallion kicking off the night’s festivities to Lauryn Hill, Victoria Monét, GloRilla, Latto and more hitting the stage, fans have a lot to look forward to with the annual show on Sunday. 

ET chatted with show executives Connie Orlando and Dionne Harmon about the upcoming show, and the pair opened up about why this year’s show is the best so far; starting with Taraji P. Henson making her third hosting stint.

“She shows up and she’s so excited — she’s more excited than we are sometimes with the ideas,” Orlando tells ET. “She’s creative. Our audience loves Taraji and we’re so excited to have her back because she’s the full package and she definitely elevates the show.”

Taraji P. Henson will host the 2024 BET Awards, her third year serving as the award show emcee.Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“I agree, and she’s so incredibly talented,” Harmon adds. “You need somebody that’s funny, that can sing, that can dance, that can act and she is all that. She’s going to bring all of that to the show.”

The Golden Globe-winning actress previously hosted the 2021 BET Awards, where she used the opportunity to honor some iconic Black women who have impacted pop culture. Henson, 53, started the show with a memorable opening monologue and had roses handed out to several women in the audience, including Zendaya, Jazmine Sullivan, Issa Rae and “Queen” Maxine Waters. She also donned various ensembles throughout the show that honored and celebrated the styles and looks of some groundbreaking artists.

In 2022, Henson took to the stage as the annual awards show’s official emcee once again, and kicked off the show by bringing attention to SCOTUS’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that protected the right to an abortion.

Henson recently teased ET that she has a “cool AF” surprise for this year’s show’s opening.

“Oh, lord. It’s just another part of my talent that you guys get to see,” she said with a laugh. “You gonna see a lot of things. (It will be) another surprise for a lot of my fans that didn’t know I could do this. I’ve done it before, but not on Culture’s Biggest Night. I think more people will get to see this talent.”

While she’s yet to start formal rehearsals for the surprise, Henson said that she’s working on it in “mirror moments at home, in my sleep, in my head, every waking moment, just so that it’s in my body, so when I get on the stage, it’s second nature.”

Orlando and Harmon play coy when asked if they can share any details on Henson’s surprise, but the latter says it’s “easily one of my favorite parts of the whole show.”

Henson’s opener is part of an overarching theme of the night, the duo tells ET. “I think the women are leading this year’s show, like the performances (and) the nominations too, so it’s a night for the women,” Orlando says. “Like we’re coming out, they’re performing and it’s gonna be an amazing show.”

Harmon adds that the production team tries to “one-up ourselves” every year, and deliver “those (big) moments.”

One of the most highly anticipated moments of the night is Usher being honored with this year’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement BET Award, which is presented to gamechangers and industry pioneers who have left a lasting impact on the culture and entertainment. The 45-year-old will join a list of previous Lifetime Achievement BET Award recipients including Whitney Houston, Prince, Queen Latifah, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, Samuel Jackson, Lionel Richie, New Edition and Busta Rhymes.

Usher will be honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement BET Award this year.Paras Griffin/Getty Images

“He started when he was 14 and to see his whole journey, he’s done it all,” Orlando says of the singer’s cultural impact. “The (My Way Las Vegas residency) was just proof of his catalog. He is a global entertainer and a superstar.”

“Yeah, he is the culture,” Harmon adds. “We’ve grown up with him, and to witness his journey from being a teenager to this global superstar that he is now, it’s really exciting. I saw the show in Vegas at least six times and worked with him (when he was the headliner for the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show) as well, but this is so important to him and something that he’s always wanted.”

Usher’s big moment will include a special tribute that highlights the “Love in this Club” artist‘s accomplishments across music, movies and TV — but Orlando and Harmon are mum on what the celebration will include exactly.

“We’re tight-lipped over here because we want everyone to tune in but it’s something you’ve never seen before,” Orando teases. “It’s different. It’s not what anyone expects, but it’s so amazing. I encourage everyone to tune in and watch.”

Harmon adds, “It is worthy of his stardom.”

The 2024 BET Awards, hosted by Taraji P. Henson, will air live on the BET channel from the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. 

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