Taraji P. Henson Opens 2024 BET Awards With Kendrick Lamar 'Not Like Us' Parody

The 2024 BET Awards is Taraji P. Henson's third time hosting the annual awards show.

Taraji P. Henson never fails to rock the mic in style at the BET Awards! The Golden Globe winner, 53, served as the night's emcee for the third time on Sunday, and she started off the show with an inspired opening.

After a high-energy opening performance from Megan Thee StallionThe Color Purple actress kicked off the ceremony when she took the stage at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles in a red hoodie with jeans and a red cap.

"Taraji on the beat," Henson rapped as she launched into a parody of Kendrick Lamar's "Not Like Us," which the rapper released amid his feud with fellow rapper Drake

While Lamar's lyrics were pointed jabs at Drake, Henson changed the lyrics to celebrate Black culture, rapping, "It's about us."

Taraji P. Henson onstage during the 2024 BET Awards at Peacock Theater on June 30, 2024 - Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

In her opening monologue, Henson also referenced Thursday's CNN presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, calling out the latter's widely ridiculed claim that that immigrants coming to America are "taking Black jobs."

"[This is] a show packed full of all-stars with Black jobs. Whatever that means," Henson quipped to the audience. "But clearly, we know there's a difference. Thanks for the info, but we already knew it."

Later in the show, media personality B. Simone also took shots at Trump's "Black jobs" comment, asking folks in the audience whether jobs such as being a TSA agent, TV judge and hairstylist were "Black jobs." (The answers were yes, yes and yes.)

Henson previously hosted the 2021 BET Awards, where she used the opportunity to honor some iconic Black women who have impacted pop culture. Henson started the show with a memorable opening monologue and had roses handed out to several women in the room, including Zendaya, Jazmine Sullivan, Issa Rae and "Queen" Maxine Waters. She also donned various ensembles throughout the show that honored and celebrated the styles and looks of some groundbreaking artists.

In 2022, Henson took to the stage as the annual awards show's official emcee once again, and kicked off the show by bringing attention to SCOTUS' decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that protected the right to an abortion.

Ahead of this year's award show, Henson told ET that she had a "cool AF" surprise for the opening.

"Oh, lord. It's just another part of my talent that you guys get to see," she shared with a laugh. "You gonna see a lot of things. [It will be] another surprise for a lot of my fans that didn't know I could do this. I've done it before, but not on Culture's Biggest Night. I think more people will get to see this talent."

While she had yet to start formal rehearsals for the surprise, Henson told ET that she was working on it in "mirror moments at home, in my sleep, in my head, every waking moment, just so that it's in my body, so when I get on the stage, it's second nature."

That opening moment is just one that she was looking forward to in her return to the BET Awards.

"I think it's the live theater of it all. I was trained in theater, so I feel most comfortable on the stage," Henson said, before sharing that fans can expect an "uplifting" theme throughout the show.

"It's about empowerment, it's about togetherness, and that's not gonna change," she said of her personal brand. "We're going to have a good time."

This year's award show promises to be Culture's Biggest Night the best so far. Not only will the night feature a jam-packed list of performers, but the show will pay special tribute to Usher, who will receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement BET Award. The "Love in this Club" singer, 45, will join a celebrated list of game-changers and industry pioneers who have left a lasting impact on the culture and entertainment. 

The 2024 BET Awards, hosted by Taraji P. Henson, airs live on the BET channel from the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Check out the complete winners list here.