Nine years after hosting the BET Awards, Jamie Foxx will return to preside over hosting duties for the 18th annual show. Before he takes the stage on Sunday, the actor-comedian spoke with Rap-Up about what to expect from this year’s festivities, which he calls a celebration of black excellence.
“I’m not here to host, I’m here to celebrate,” said the Oscar winner over lunch at Hollywood’s Dream Hotel. “And the reason I wanted to get in on this is because I thought this was the greatest year for it. I called it black excellence televised.”
Citing the success of movies like Get Out and Black Panther, and breakout stars like Cardi B, this year’s BET Awards will carry a celebratory tone. “I mean, this is beyond what we are as black folks, this is like—anybody would want this moment to be recognized,” added Foxx. “We have a thing that we wanna stay on. We wanna stay on that we’re here to celebrate. It’s more of toast as opposed to roast.”
Welcome to Blackanda!
— BET (@BET) June 7, 2018
Foxx, who will star in Todd McFarlane’s upcoming Spawn reboot, was the one who reached out to BET about hosting. “I called them because I was like, ‘Yo, it’s the time.’ And plus, I wanna get some stuff off like going back and doing stand-up comedy,” he said. “As a comic who’s been doing it for a long time, you look for a moment to see what this will be like, let people see you with the mic. For me, it’s refreshing, it’s energizing. I called them like, ‘Yo, I know you’re looking at everybody to host, but I wanna be a part of that.'”
The last time Foxx hosted was in 2009, just days after Michael Jackson’s death. But this year, his goal is to have fun. “It’s almost like a summer picnic, it’s almost like a celebrity Jurassic Park,” he explained. “These incredible people that you see on [TV] or on this phone and there they are in front of you. It’s like a celebrity theme park.”
In addition to hosting and acting, the multi-talented star is recording new music. “I still think I haven’t done the album yet,” said Foxx, who hasn’t released an album since 2015’s Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses. “I still think that I’ve done records. Like I listen to certain people’s albums like, ‘Fuck. That’s a real motherfuckin’ album,’ he said. “Like yesterday I was playing ’70s classics and ’70s R&B. You play that Al Green, but it ain’t the single, it’s the album cut. And so I don’t think I have that. I gotta try to figure out how to do that. Say something.”
Hosted by Foxx, the BET Awards 2018 will air live from the Microsoft Theater in L.A. on Sunday, June 24, at 8 p.m. with performances by Nicki Minaj, Migos, Janelle Monáe, Ella Mai, H.E.R., and more. DJ Khaled leads this year’s nominations with six, while Kendrick Lamar follows with five nods.