The 21st BET Awards is set to take place on June 27, 2021. The BET Awards is an American award show that was established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards are presented annually and are broadcast live on BET. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by artists, and some of the awards of more popular interest are presented in a televised ceremony.
BET Awards 2021 announced the nominees for the Best International Act, with three of the eight nominees being Africans, namely: Burna Boy (Nigeria) Wizkid (Nigeria) and Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania). Diamond, the two-time BET nominee took to his Instagram account to express his joy after being nominated for the award. He used the hashtag- #SwahiliNation to share the word across his Swahili-speaking fans with the hopes of receiving abundant support to win the award, as he is overly passionate about his work. The year 2020 was a big year for the artist, having done a major collaboration with Congo’s Koffi Olomide and recently being signed by Warner Music Group, the third-largest record company in the global music industry. Hence rendering him deserving of international recognition.
With Wizkid having won the award two out of four times, this appeared to be a grand moment for East Africans being placed on the map. However, the excitement quickly dwindled after a petition to disqualify Platnumz from the BET award. The Tanzanian star is being accused by Change Tanzania, for supporting an authoritarian rule of the late president John Pombe Magufuli and former governor Paul Makonda, who’s accused of being an unswerving anti-LGBTQ in Tanzania. With more than 21,000 people signing the online petition, Diamond risks being disqualified from the award where he is nominated for Best International Act.
“BET awards have been always held in high esteem by many Africans for their recognition of the talent of exemplary artists. The international act which was established in 2018, has consistently gone to artists who have been very conscientious and stood up for justice for African lives. Both Davido (2018) and Burna Boy (2019 and 2020) have been in the frontline at the #EndSARS protests using their star power and fame to shed light on injustice and even protect civilians from police brutality. Diamond Platnumz chose to protect and expand his personal and business interest by praising and using his star power to soften the image of a brutal dictator and his collaborators. We believe that once BET independently verifies these facts, it will be clear that Diamond Platnumz does NOT deserve ANY recognition in these prestigious awards.” stated Change Tanzania on their online movement.
Despite the claims made against Diamond Platnumz, BET is yet to comment on the matter. The BET nomination process is normally handled by a voting academy that’s made up of about 500 people from the music industry, media, and bloggers. The top nominees are then determined in each category, and the winners are selected via the academy members’ voting process.