Award show hosts Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross spoofed “Empire” by impersonating Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson). However they were soon joined by the real Lucious – who introduced his on-screen sons, actors Bryshere Y. Gray and Jussie Smollett.
Gray and Smollett were accompanied by Yazz and Serayah McNeill, and performed a medley of songs from Season 1 of Empire, including “No Apologies,” “Drip Drop” and “You’re So Beautiful.” In the middle of “You’re So Beautiful,” Smollett paused to deliver a powerful message about equality after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on same-sex marriages on Friday.
“No one is free until we are all free,” Smollett told the audience. He even changed the lyrics to include a line saying, “when a man loves a man.”
Watch clips of the performance below:
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— Kiah Danielle (@KiahLikeTheCar) June 29, 2015
The performance wasn’t the first mention of “Empire” during the BET Awards. Terrence Howard took home the first award of the evening for Best Actor. “To the ‘Empire,’” the actor said when he accepted the award.