Taraji P. Henson spoke out against the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in her monologue at the 2022 BET Awards Sunday. The 51-year-old entertainer, who was hosting the proceedings from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, expressed her ire over the court’s decision to remove women’s constitutional protections for abortion, as well as ongoing efforts to curtail mass shootings via gun control reform.
‘It’s about time we step into our power,’ the Washington, D.C. native said in her opening speech at the show. ‘It’s about time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman.’
She continued: ‘It’s a sad day in America a weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman who can give life if she chooses to – it’s about time I got that off my chest.’ Henson was one of a number of entertainers to speak out about the court’s controversial decision, which led to nationwide protests throughout the weekend.
Janelle Monáe, presenting at the event, said, ‘F*** the Supreme Court,’ to which she received an ovation from the crowd. ‘I know we are celebrating us right now, as we should – we absolutely deserve to celebrate especially now,’ said Monáe, 36. ‘We must celebrate our art by protecting our right and our truths.’
Jazmine Sullivan, who collected the honors for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, called for the support of men amid the ongoing issues, saying that ‘this is not just a woman’s issue.’
Said Sullivan, 35: ‘To the men, if you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing with us … this is everybody’s issue, and we need your support more than ever …. You all got us? ‘Cause we got you.’
Also speaking out on the issue was rapper Latto, 23, said, ‘It’s about giving pro-choice… it’s about never giving in to a man policing my body.’ The statements came on the heels of a number of entertainers speaking out about the court’s decision in the wake of its announcement on Friday.
Megan Thee Stallion, performing at the Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, Somerset, England, said she was embarrassed over an abortion ban in her home state of Texas last year.
‘Now, y’all know it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take a second to call out these stupid a** men,’ she said. ‘I mean … what else you want? Texas really embarrassing me right now, y’all know that’s my home state. And I want to have it on the record that the motherf***ing hot girls and the hot boys do not support this bull**** that y’all campaigning for.’
The musical artist then led the crowd on chanting, ‘My body, my motherf***ing choice.’ Olivia Rodrigo, also appearing at the festival, said she was ‘devastated and terrified’ in the wake of the SCOTUS decision, saying that ‘so many women and so many girls are going to die because of this.’
Following the ruling, clinics in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia ceased performing abortions, with other states limiting options based on varied stipulations.
President Joe Biden said Friday’s ruling marked ‘a sad day for the court and for the country,’ adding that ‘this decision must not be the final word.’
Amid the overturning by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas said his peers on the court should look into reversing past Supreme Court rulings on issues including contraceptive use and same-sex marriage, among others.