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Johannesburg, 22 June 2018: Today, BET announced R&B music legend, and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Anita Baker will be honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the “BET Awards” 2018. In addition, for the first time, BET has selected six individuals – James Shaw Jr., Naomi Wadler, Mamoudou Gassama, Justin Blackman, Shaun King and Anthony Borges – to be honoured as Humanitarian Heroes. Internationally, BET will honour Bismack Biyombo as the 2018 BET International Global Good Award recipient, which recognizes global celebrities and public figures who use their platform for social good and exemplify integrity, courage, goodness and commitment to the global community. The Global Good recipient will be awarded during Live! Red! Ready! red carpet pre-show airing before the “BET Awards”, which airs Tuesday 26 June at 20:00 CAT on BET (DStv Channel 129).

Anita Baker is undeniably one of the greatest living legends in the music industry and BET will honour her accordingly at the June 24th ceremony. With a career that spanned nearly four decades, she made an everlasting impression on the sound of Soul and R&B music that has inspired generations to come. Ms. Baker is regarded as a trailblazer, opening doors for many females in the industry. Known for ballads such as, “Body & Soul,” “Just Because” and “Giving You The Best That I Got,” Baker has won eight Grammy Awards and has seven platinum albums. Earlier this year the venerable Ms. Baker announced her retirement and is currently embarking on her farewell concert series.

BET is taking an exciting new direction when it comes to honouring humanitarians. This year, the Network will recognize six individuals who have done extraordinary things in some of the most disheartening of situations. The intention is to remind everyone that you don’t have to be a celebrity to give back and support others in need; we all have the opportunity to make a difference for the betterment of humankind. The Humanitarian Heroes include, James Shaw Jr. (disarmed Waffle House shooter), Naomi Wadler (11yr old speaker at March For Our Lives), Mamoudou Gassama (Climbed outside of building to save dangling 4-year-old), Justin Blackman (only student to walk out of his High School on National Student Walk-Out Day), Shaun King (journalist who has been instrumental in covering untold stories in the Black community), Anthony Borges (Parkland Victim/Hero who threw himself in line of fire – shot 5 times). The bravery and strength of the highlighted 2018 honourees is truly exceptional.

BET will also honor Bismack Biyombo, winner of BET International’s Global Good Award. Bismack is a Congolese professional basketball player for the NBA’s Orlando Magic who is committed to youth development in his home country, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through his non-profit, the Bismack Biyombo Foundation, he uses sports and education to provide young people with life skills that make them integral parts of their communities. Bismack also launched the #ChildofAfrica movement with Akon, Djimon Hounsou, Fally Ipupa, Isha Seasay and Didier Droba to provide schools that bring opportunities and shelter to child laborers around Africa. For more information on his foundation click here.

Bismack joins past Global Good honorees, including artist and philanthropist Akon for his Lighting Africa initiative, supermodel Millen Magese for her dedicated work in maternal and women health as well as the education of African girls on self-care through her Millen Magese Foundation, social activist Ilwad Elman for her work with Sister Somalia that provides counseling, health and housing support to victims of gender-based violence and singer and songwriter Yvonne Chaka Chaka for her work as a champion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

As a part of the Global Good initiative, BET International has partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to present an encore screening of the BET and Nelson Mandela Foundation co-produced mini-series “Madiba,” followed by a panel discussion on Mandela’s mission, legacy and the next generation of leaders. Panelists include Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Zondwa Mandela, grandson of Nelson and Winnie Mandela and more. The event supports Nelson Madela’s Centenary celebration, which kicked off with the announcement of President Barack Obama delivering the 16th annual Nelson Mandela lecture taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The screening and panel will take place during the BET Experience on Saturday, June 23 at 2:00PM PST at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Said Alex Okosi, Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Viacom International Media Networks Africa and BET International, “Through the Global Good and Humanitarian awards recognition, BET’s commitment shines a light on the significant contribution that both legends in industry and society contribute on a daily basis. This year’s awards including the partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to honour Madiba’s values through the ‘Be the Legacy’ centenary serve as an inspiration for each of us to carry the mantle in celebration of black culture and a reimagined Africa.”

A full list of the BET Awards 2018 nominees is now available here.

The BET Awards 2018 will be broadcast in partnership with Russian Bear on Tuesday, 26 June 2018, starting with a pre-show at 18:00 CAT followed by the main awards show at 20:00 CAT and conclude with a post-show immediately after.

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