Jen Su

South Africa stole the spotlight at the BET Awards 2024, with Tyla and Makhadzi taking top honors and delivering unforgettable performances. From Tyla’s high-energy safari-themed act to Makhadzi’s heartfelt acceptance speech, Mzansi’s finest showcased their talent and pride on an international platform. Jen Su takes you behind the scenes

Mzansi scored beeeg in this year’s BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards 2024, with 22 year-old Afrobeats Jozi girl-turned-international megastar Tyla, scooping up Best New Artist and Best International Act – and topping it off with her hit song Jump, where she took to the stage in an elaborate safari-themed high energy performance.

“This is crazy,” she began as she accepted the award for Best New Artist.  “Firstly, I love Sexyy Red.  Oh my gosh.  I can’t.  I love her so much.  This is such a gift to be here.  I just want to dedicate this one to Africa.  I want to dedicate this one to all the African superstars before me who didn’t get these opportunities I am getting.  It’s just amazing.  Africa to the world, guys!”

I’ve watched Tyla’s meteoric rise – yet with all the fame, she still retains this sort of cute , funny, and very innocent quality about her. Her dress, an edgy bespoke black halterneck dress with studs and cutouts by Versace – was paired with the equivalent of R4 million worth of diamond jewellery.

Limpopo-born singer Makhadzi on the blue carpet at the BET Awards 2024, Peacock Theatre, Los Angeles, California. She is wearing a South African flag-inspired beaded gown designed by Mamello Makha. Photo: Bethany Grenald.

Makhadzi, from Limpopo, South Africa – won the Viewers Choice: Best International Act award and performed at the BET International Nominees celebration at the Grammy Museum.

When receiving the award at the BET red carpet pre-show outside, Makhadzi fell to the floor of the stage in a moment of shock and happiness when she was announced as the winner, her shoes falling off her feet.

“I’m so happy, I’m someone who started music from the streets, and today I’m here, my dream just came true.  I’m speechless, all I’m gonna say is that it’s possible for a black child to make it, and this is the best birthday ever.”

South African rapper Focalistic attends the BET Awards 2024 in Los Angeles, California. He was nominated in the category of Best International Act. Photo: Getty Images.

South African rapper Focalistic, who was nominated for Best International Act, dressed in a drop-dead gorgeous all-red men’s suit and still made it to the red carpet (barely) in time.

Jen Su with one of South Africa’s most popular podcasters, MacG (Macgyver Mukhwevho) of “Podcast and Chill” at the BET Awards 2024 red carpet. Jen is wearing a tulle and neoprene dress by Kiki Wang, with South African flag earrings designed by Charmaine Taylor of Legacy Collection. Photo: Bethany Grenald.

I also loved meeting up with “Podcast and Chill” host extraordinaire MacG (Macgyver Mukwevho) and hearing his take on each of the nominees.

Thembisa-born Tyler ICU was another BET Awards nominee from SA, who unfortunately  could not attend the ceremony due to being on tour through France.  I wore my magical SA flag earrings from Legacy collection – and it brought South Africa luck!

Laduma Ngxokolo at the BET International Nominees Celebration at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Photo: Bethany Grenald.

MaXhosa chief designer and founder, Laduma Ngxokolo attended the BET Awards, as a guest speaker on Friday (28 June) and dressed both MacG and Sol Phenduka for Sunday’s main event, in his signature knitwear designs.

It was then over to Yamashiro in the Hollywood Hills (1999 N Sycamore Ave, Hollywood, California 90068) to celebrate my friend Sasha-Anne’s pre-birthday with my good friends Nate and Nadia.  And then it was back home to Philly with my little suitcase stuffed to the brim.

Until the next adventure!