Will Smith returns to the stage with new song at BET Awards as he continues career resurgence in first show appearance since Chris Rock slap

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Will Smith took over the stage at the 2024 BET Awards on Sunday in his first major solo performance since the infamous Oscar slap.

Following his surprise gig at Coachella, the Bad Boys star, 55, delivered an uplifting rendition of his new song You Can Make It featuring singer Fridayy and the Sunday Service Choir.

The gospel-charged track hinted at the actor’s challenges in the public eye following his slap of comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards.

‘Believe me, they tried to bleed Will Smith. / In the rearview, I see adversity was the gift,’ the Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum rapped as he stood in a circle of fire on the Peacock Theater stage. 

Gospel icon Kirk Franklin joined him on stage to lend vocals, as Smith told the crowd, ‘Nobody gets an easy ride.’

Will Smith took over the stage at the 2024 BET Awards on Sunday in his first major solo performance since the infamous Oscar slap 

Following his surprise gig at Coachella , the Bad Boys star, 55, delivered an uplifting rendition of his new song You Can Make It featuring singer Fridayy and the Sunday Service Choir

Following his surprise gig at Coachella , the Bad Boys star, 55, delivered an uplifting rendition of his new song You Can Make It featuring singer Fridayy and the Sunday Service Choir

‘I don’t know who needs this right now,’ he continued, ‘But I am here to tell you, you can make it.’ 

The 2024 BET Awards also featured performances by Ice Spice, Sexyy Red, Latto, Lauryn Hill & YG Marley, Tyla, GloRilla, Muni Long, Shaboozey, and Victoria Monét. 

Taraji P. Henson returned as the host, where Grammy-winning singer Usher was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

The dynamic performance seems to be another step in Smith’s comeback journey, which kicked off when Bad Boys: Ride or Die hit theaters and achieved impressive box office success, solidifying his return as a major movie star. 

Smith also features on the Bad Boys: Ride or Die soundtrack with a Sean Paul collaboration called Light Em Up. 

The I Am Legend alum released his last solo single in 2017 and his last album Lost And Found in 2005. 

The album sold half a million copies and reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart. 

The BET appearance follows Smith’s April cameo with J Balvin at Coachella, where he dressed in full Men in Black attire for Balvin’s UFO-themed set. 

BET Awards 2024 winners: AT A GLANCE

Video Of The Year: Victoria Monet, On My Mama 

BET Her:  Victoria Monet, On My Mama

Best New Artist: Tyla

 Best International Act: Tyla 

Victoria Monet earned two awards including top honor Video Of The Year

Victoria Monet earned two awards including top honor Video Of The Year

 

Lifetime Achievement Award: Usher

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: Usher 

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: SZA 

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj 

Best Male Hip-Hip Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Album Of The Year: Killer Mike, Michael 

The gospel-charged track hinted at the actor's challenges in the public eye following his slap of comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards

The gospel-charged track hinted at the actor’s challenges in the public eye following his slap of comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards

'Believe me, they tried to bleed Will Smith. / In the rearview, I see adversity was the gift,' the Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum rapped as he stood in a circle of fire on the Peacock Theater stage

‘Believe me, they tried to bleed Will Smith. / In the rearview, I see adversity was the gift,’ the Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum rapped as he stood in a circle of fire on the Peacock Theater stage

Gospel icon Kirk Franklin joined him on stage to lend vocals, as Smith told the crowd, 'Nobody gets an easy ride'

Gospel icon Kirk Franklin joined him on stage to lend vocals, as Smith told the crowd, ‘Nobody gets an easy ride’

'I don¿t know who needs this right now,' Smith continued, 'But I am here to tell you, you can make it.'

‘I don’t know who needs this right now,’ Smith continued, ‘But I am here to tell you, you can make it.’

The 2024 BET Awards also featured performances by Ice Spice, Sexyy Red, Latto, Lauryn Hill & YG Marley, Tyla, GloRilla, Muni Long, Shaboozey, and Victoria Monét

The 2024 BET Awards also featured performances by Ice Spice, Sexyy Red, Latto, Lauryn Hill & YG Marley, Tyla, GloRilla, Muni Long, Shaboozey, and Victoria Monét

The next month, the star made a grand entrance at the Hollywood premiere of Ride or Die. 

Arriving on a double-decker bus with co-star Martin Lawrence, Smith treated the crowd to a quick performance of his 1997 hit Miami, paying tribute to his character, a Miami Police detective. 

Long before Smith’s breakout role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990 catapulted him to acting stardom, he made his mark in the entertainment industry as part of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. 

The two debuted with Rock the House in April 1987, reaching No. 24 on Billboard’s R&B/hip-hop albums chart. 

Their 1988 follow-up, He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper, achieved triple platinum status and won them a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance with Parents Just Don’t Understand. 

Smith launched his solo rap career in the late ’90s with the release of his debut album Big Willie Style in November 1997. 

Selling 9 million copies, the album produced a chart-topping hit with Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It. 

Following Lost and Found in 2005, Smith released two more studio albums before going on hiatus.

In May, Smith hinted that he has been working on a new project for the past year and a half.

He told ET at the time that it was ‘without question the most personal, powerful music that I’ve ever made.’

Will Smith is set to debut new music in his first major solo performance since the infamous Oscar slap; (pictured June)

Will Smith is set to debut new music in his first major solo performance since the infamous Oscar slap; (pictured June)

Following his surprise gig at Coachella (pictured), the Bad Boys star, 55, will take over the stage with an original song at this Sunday¿s BET Awards

Following his surprise gig at Coachella (pictured), the Bad Boys star, 55, will take over the stage with an original song at this Sunday’s BET Awards 

 

Details about Smith's performance remain under wraps, but sources reveal that he is currently working on a new album, per the outlet; (pictured with J. Balvin at 2024 Coachella)

Details about Smith’s performance remain under wraps, but sources reveal that he is currently working on a new album, per the outlet; (pictured with J. Balvin at 2024 Coachella)

Smith made headlines at another awards show a couple of years ago when he slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 94th Oscars on March 27, 2022.

Smith made headlines at another awards show a couple of years ago when he slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 94th Oscars on March 27, 2022.

The incident occurred following a joke Rock made about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smithl (pictured at 94th Oscars)

The incident occurred following a joke Rock made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smithl (pictured at 94th Oscars)

Smith made headlines at another awards show a couple of years ago when he slapped Rock during the 94th Oscars on March 27, 2022.

The incident occurred following a joke Rock made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith

It prompted Will to make his way to the stage, slap Rock and say ‘keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.’ 

Jada, meanwhile, released a memoir last year, which revealed a seven-year separation from her husband.

2024 BET Awards Winners

Album of the Year

Chris Brown, 11:11

Gunna, A Gift & A Curse

21 Savage, American Dream

Usher, Coming Home

Drake, For All the Dogs (Scary Hours Edition)

Victoria Monét, Jaguar II

Killer Mike, Michael (WINNER)

Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday 2

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Beyoncé

Coco Jones

Doja Cat

H.E.R.

Muni Long

SZA (WINNER)

Tyla

Victoria Monét

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Brent Faiyaz

Bryson Tiller

Burna Boy

Chris Brown

Drake

Fridayy

October London

Usher (WINNER)

Best Group

¥$, Ye, Ty Dolla $ign (WINNER)

2 Chainz & Lil Wayne

41

Blxst & Bino Rideaux

City Girls

Flo

Maverick City Music

Wanmor

Best Collaboration

Lil Durk feat. J. Cole – All My Life (WINNER)

Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar – America Has a Problem (Remix)

Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice (With Aqua) – Barbie World

Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion – Bongos

¥$, Ye, Ty Dolla $ign feat. Rich The Kid, Playboi Carti – Carnival

Lola Brooke feat. Latto & Yung Miami – Don’t Play With It (Remix)

Nicki Minaj feat. Lil Uzi Vert – Everybody

Usher, Summer Walker & 21 Savage – Good Good

Drake feat. Sexyy Red & SZA – Rich Baby Daddy

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Cardi B

Doja Cat

GloRilla

Ice Spice

Latto

Megan Thee Stallion

Nicki Minaj (WINNER)

Sexyy Red

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

21 Savage

Burna Boy

Drake

Future

Gunna

J. Cole

Kendrick Lamar (WINNER)

Lil Wayne

Video of the Year

Doja Cat – Agora Hills

Lil Durk feat J. Cole – All My Life

Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice (With Aqua) – Barbie World

Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion – Bongos

Drake feat. J. Cole – First Person Shooter

Usher, Summer Walker & 21 Savage – Good Good

Victoria Monét – On My Mama (WINNER)

Drake feat. Sexyy Red & SZA – Rich Baby Daddy

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom

Child.

Cole Bennett (WINNER)

Dave Meyers

Janelle Monáe & Alan Ferguson

Offset

Tems

Tyler, The Creator

Best New Artist

41

4Batz

Ayra Starr

Bossman Dlow

Fridayy

October London

Sexyy Red

Tyla (WINNER)

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

 Shirley Caesar – Award All of the Glory

Kirk Franklin – All Things

Halle Bailey – Angel

CeCe Winans – Come Jesus Come

Erica Campbell – Do You Believe in Love?

Maverick City Music, Naomi Raine & Chandler Moore – God Problems

Tems – Me & U (WINNER)

Kirk Franklin – Try Love   

Best International Act

Asake (Africa)

Aya Nakamura (France)

Ayra Starr (Africa)

Bk’ (Brazil)

Cleo Sol (UK)

Focalistic (Africa)

Karol Conká (Brazil)

Raye (UK)

Tiakola (France)

Tyla (Africa) (WINNER)

BET Her

Beyoncé – 16 Carriages

Nicki Minaj feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard – Blessings

Ayra Starr – Commas

Flo feat. Missy Elliott – Fly Girl

Megan Thee Stallion – Hiss

Victoria Monét – On My Mama (WINNER)

SZA – Saturn

GloRilla – Yeah Glo!

Best Movie

American Fiction

Bob Marley: One Love (WINNER)

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The Book of Clarence

The Color Purple

The Equalizer 3

The Little Mermaid

Best Actor

Anthony Mackie

Colman Domingo

Damson Idris

Denzel Washington (WINNER)

Donald Glover

Idris Elba

Jeffrey Wright

Lakeith Stanfield

Best Actress

Angela Bassett

Ayo Edebiri

Coco Jones

Danielle Brooks

Fantasia

Halle Bailey

Issa Rae

Regina King (WINNER)

Youngstars Award

Akira Akbar

Blue Ivy Carter (WINNER)

Demi Singleton

Heiress Diana Harris

Jabria McCullum

Jalyn Hall

Leah Jeffries

Van Van

Sportswoman of the Year Award

A’ja Wilson

Angel Reese (WINNER)

Coco Gauff

Flau’jae Johnson

Juju Watkins

Naomi Osaka

Sha’carri Richardson

Simone Biles

Sportsman of the Year Award

Anthony Edwards

Gervonta Davis

Jalen Brunson (WINNER)

Jalen Hurts

Kyrie Irving

Lebron James

Patrick Mahomes

Stephen Curry

Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act

Bellah (UK)

Cristale (UK)

Duquesa (Brazil)

Holly G (France)

Jungeli (France)

Makhadzi (Africa)

Oruam (Brazil)

Seyi Vibez (Africa)

Tyler Icu (Africa)

 

Viewer’s Choice Award

Doja Cat – Agora Hills

Lil Durk feat. J. Cole – All My Life

Gunna – Fukumean

Jack Harlow – Lovin on Me

Muni Long – Made for Me

Victoria Monét – On My Mama

Drake feat. Sexyy Red & SZA – Rich Baby Daddy

Chris Brown feat. Davido & Lojay – Sensational

Beyoncé – Texas Hold ‘Em

Tyla – Water  

Lifetime Achievement Award

Usher (WINNER)

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