Will Smith debuts new song at 2024 BET Awards

Will Smith performs onstage at the 2024 BET Awards at Peacock Theater on June 30, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Billboard via Getty Images)

Will Smith made a powerful return to the stage at the 2024 BET Awards, debuting his latest single, "You Can Make It," accompanied by Fridayy and the gospel choir Sunday Service. 

The performance, marked by Smith standing in a circle of fire, was his first live music debut in years. He opened with a message of resilience, telling the audience, "I don’t know who needs this right now, but I am here to tell you, you can make it."

The set gained even more energy when Kirk Franklin joined Smith on stage, and the two delivered a spirited rap together. 

Smith, navigating a comeback after the infamous Oscars incident, shared wisdom about perseverance and finding strength in difficult times.

Meanwhile, the 2024 BET Awards showcased various performances and notable moments. 

The show, hosted by Taraji P. Henson for the third time, featured an energetic opening by Megan Thee Stallion, who emerged from an egg symbolizing her musical rebirth and performed a medley of her new singles.

Childish Gambino presented Killer Mike with the album of the year award for "Michael," during which the rapper addressed his arrest at the Grammys and emphasized the importance of local voting.

Usher was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, celebrating his extensive contributions to music and culture. His acceptance speech included a heartfelt message to fathers, acknowledging their role in his success.

Other highlights included a performance by Victoria Monét, who impressed with multiple costume changes and dynamic choreography, and a touching moment when child rappers VanVan and Heiress Harris performed their empowerment anthem "Be You."

The night concluded with high-energy performances from artists like Sexyy Red, GloRilla, and Shaboozey, ensuring the 2024 BET Awards were memorable and impactful.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.