Taraji P. Henson Eager to See Will Smith’s Performance at the 2024 BET Awards

Henson eagerly anticipates Will Smith’s new song debut at the 2024 BET Awards

Taraji P. Henson and Will Smith. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, IMAGE PRESS AGENCY/NURPHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK; JASON LAVERIS/FILMMAGIC)
Taraji P. Henson and Will Smith. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, IMAGE PRESS AGENCY/NURPHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK; JASON LAVERIS/FILMMAGIC)

The 2024 BET Awards are shaping up to be a night to remember, and Taraji P. Henson, who is hosting the event for the third time, couldn’t be more thrilled.

The 53-year-old actress, known for her roles in Fight Night and The Color Purple, spoke to PEOPLE about her excitement ahead of the ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, June 30.

“It’s going to be an incredible show,” Henson said. “You know, it’s Culture’s Biggest Night. The performances are going to blow us all away. We got Will Smith, guys. I am so excited to see what he has up his sleeve.”

This year’s BET Awards will feature a highly anticipated performance by Will Smith, who is set to debut a brand-new song live.

This will be his first new music release in over five years. The 55-year-old Bad Boys: Ride or Die star recently hinted at an upcoming project in an interview with Extra, stating that he plans to release it in the next “month or so.”

In addition to Smith’s performance, Henson expressed her admiration for Usher, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Will Smith and Taraji P. Henson at the 'The Karate Kid' Los Angeles Premiere Afterparty in Westwood in June 2010. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, WIREIMAGE/GETTY)
Will Smith and Taraji P. Henson at the ‘The Karate Kid’ Los Angeles Premiere Afterparty in Westwood in June 2010. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, WIREIMAGE/GETTY)

The R&B superstar has enjoyed a long and successful career, and Henson feels honored to host the show where he will be celebrated.

“Usher is getting his flowers and I’m so honored to host the show where he’s receiving his flowers,” she said. “I’m just proud of him. It’s just a proud moment. It’s a proud moment for the culture.”

Henson returns to host the BET Awards after holding the role in 2021 and 2022. She was ready to return in 2023 but couldn’t due to the WGA strike, which ended in September after 146 days.

Despite her extensive experience and numerous accolades, Henson revealed she still gets nervous before such events.

“Absolutely. I love nerves,” she shared. “I get nervous on the first day of shooting. It’s a live show. Anything can go right or wrong, you know, but that’s what’s so exciting.” She added, “If I’m not nervous, I would be nervous.”

The 2024 BET Awards will kick off with a star-studded lineup of performers, including Megan Thee Stallion, Ice Spice, Lauryn Hill, Tyla, GloRilla, Latto, Muni Long, Sexyy Red, Victoria Monét, and Shaboozey.

Taraji P. Henson hosts the BET Awards at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on June 26, 2022. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, KEVIN WINTER/GETTY)
Taraji P. Henson hosts the BET Awards at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on June 26, 2022. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, KEVIN WINTER/GETTY)

There will also be surprise artists hitting the stage to honor Usher with a special tribute performance.

Leading the pack for BET Award nominations this year is Drake, with seven nods, including Album of the Year.

Nicki Minaj follows closely with six nominations, while J. Cole, Sexyy Red, SZA, and Monét have five each. Beyoncé, 21 Savage, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Tyla, and honoree Usher all have nominations in four categories each.

Henson’s enthusiasm for the upcoming event is palpable. As she prepares to host once again, she reflects on the significance of the BET Awards and the impact it has on the culture.

“It’s such an important night,” she said. “The BET Awards celebrate our culture, our music, our stories. It’s a night where we come together to celebrate each other and the incredible talent in our community.”

The night promises not only to showcase musical talent but also to highlight the achievements and contributions of artists across various genres.

With performances from some of the biggest names in the industry and tributes to those who have made a lasting impact, the 2024 BET Awards are set to be a memorable celebration of Black excellence.

As the anticipation builds, fans are eagerly awaiting Will Smith’s performance and the debut of his new song. The actor and musician’s return to the stage is sure to be a highlight of the evening, adding to the excitement of the night.

The 2024 BET Awards air live on Sunday, June 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the BET network.

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