Will Smith Set to Perform on 2024 BET Awards

Will Smith Set to Perform on 2024 BET Awards

Will Smith is just two years into a 10-year suspension from attending Academy Award events, a penalty for his well-documented behavior at the 2022 Oscars, but he’s being welcomed back to the 2024 BET Awards on Sunday, June 30, where he is set to debut a new original song.

Smith, 55, has a long history with the BET Awards. He and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, hosted the show in 2005. Smith is also a three-time BET winner for best actor — for Ali (2001), Hancock/Seven Pounds (a dual entry in 2009) and King Richard (2022).


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“From his start as a rapper to The Fresh Prince to being a box office king as one of the Bad Boys, Will Smith is truly a global icon, and we are honored to welcome him back to grace the BET Awards stage,” Connie Orlando, EVP specials, music programming & music strategy at BET, said in a statement. “We look forward to Will adding to yet another defining night for the culture that is not to be missed.”

This won’t be Smith’s first major TV appearance since the 2022 Oscars debacle. He and Jeff Townes, his partner in DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, reunited to perform on A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop, a two-hour CBS special which aired on Dec. 10.

Moviegoing audiences have also welcomed Smith back to their good graces. Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the fourth installment in the Bad Boys franchise, in which Smith stars with Martin Lawrence, has grossed nearly $147 million in the U.S. and Canada since its release on June 7, making it the sixth-highest-grossing film so far in 2024.

BET touts Smith’s performance as an “exclusive” and “a major addition to Culture’s Biggest Night.”

Previously announced performers are GloRilla, Ice Spice, Latto, Ms. Lauryn Hill & YG Marley, Muni Long, Sexyy Red, Shaboozey, Tyla and Victoria Monét. Additionally, Tanner Adell will perform on the BET Amplified stage.

Taraji P. Henson will host the show for the third year. Usher will receive BET’s lifetime achievement award — an award Smith has inexplicably yet to receive. The 2024 BET Awards will air live on Sunday, June 30 on BET at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

BET touts its annual awards show, which dates to 2001, as “the ultimate platform to showcase the best, brightest and most beautiful aspects of the Black experience — honoring the present and future of Black music, creativit and sportsmanship, by celebrating the culture and being a driving force for social change.”

Drake leads the 2024 nominations with seven nods. He is followed by Nicki Minaj with six; J. Cole, Sexyy Red, SZA, Victoria Monét, and Beyoncé with five each; and 21 Savage, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Tyla and Usher with four each.

Voting for the 2024 Viewer’s Choice Award ends June 30 at 6:30 p.m. PT/ 9:30 p.m. ET.

Orlando will oversee and executive produce the annual show, with Jamal Noisette, SVP of tentpoles & music community engagement, to also executive produce for BET. Jesse Collins Entertainment is the production company for the show, with Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay also serving as executive producers.

On April 8, 2022, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced that Smith will not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs for the next 10 years in the wake of his conduct at the 94th annual Oscars ceremony on March 27 of that year.

In one of the most infamous episodes in Oscars history, Smith rose from his seat and slapped presenter Chris Rock following a joke the comedian made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. (Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, which causes hair loss, though it’s unclear if Rock was aware of her condition.) After returning to his seat, Smith twice yelled at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—in’ mouth.”

Compounding the strangeness, Smith received a standing ovation when he subsequently won best actor. And he was allowed to give a nearly six-minute acceptance speech.

On April 1, 2022, just five days after receiving the biggest accolade in his profession, Smith resigned from the Academy.

“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful and inexcusable,” Smith said in a statement. “The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.”