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South African Stars Tyla And Makhadzi Win Big At BET Awards

SOUTH African singer Tyla emerged as one of the standout winners at this year’s BET Awards, often referred to as ‘culture’s biggest night.’ She was honoured with both the Best New Artist and Best International Act awards.

During her acceptance speech for Best New Artist, Tyla, adorned in a sleek black dress, expressed her gratitude and pride. ‘This is such a gift to be here. I want to dedicate this one to Africa,’ she declared. ‘I want to dedicate this one to all the African superstars before me. Africa to the world!’


Tyla captivated the audience with a dynamic performance of her hit song Jump, featuring US rapper Gunna and Jamaican dancehall DJ Skillibeng. Her act commenced with dancers in tiger print bodysuits, paying homage to her fans, affectionately known as Tygers. The performance was further enhanced by a giant elephant statue and stilt-walking performers.

The BET Awards, established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network, celebrate and honour black and underrepresented individuals in the entertainment industry. This year’s ceremony was held at the Peacock Theatre in California.

Tyla wasn’t the only South African to take home an award. Limpopo-born artist Makhadzi won the Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act. ‘I started music from the streets and today I’m here. My dream just came true. I’m just speechless. This is the best birthday ever,’ Makhadzi said, stunning the red carpet in a playful pink ensemble.

Newly appointed Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Gayton McKenzie, took to social media to congratulate the two stars. ‘Things are happening already, congratulations to both ladies. We want to assure South Africans that we will not be a Ministry content with congratulating artists and creatives only, but will go out and unearth more Tyla’s & Makhadzi’s. Help us find more future superstars,’ he said.

The event also showcased remarkable fashion statements. South African rapper Focalistic, nominated for Best International Act, looked striking in a red suit, mirroring the sartorial choice of Senegalese-American singer Akon.

Nigerian singer Tems won the Best Gospel/Inspirational Award with her song Me & U, besting competitors like Kirk Franklin and Halle Bailey. However, Tems was absent from the ceremony as she was performing at the UK’s Glastonbury Festival. She was also nominated for Video Director of the Year but did not win.

Ayra Starr and Asake were also in the running for Best International Act but ultimately lost to Tyla, who had a memorable night celebrating the achievements of African artists on an international stage.

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