Amanda Seales Knows That This Year's BET Awards are More Important Than Ever

Bianca Betancourt
Photo credit: Allie Holloway
Photo credit: Allie Holloway

From Harper's BAZAAR

Ahead of her first time hosting an award show at tonight's 20th Annual BET Awards, Amanda Seales is opening up about the necessity of the iconic ceremony amid the heightened racial unrest currently galvanizing America.

In a new interview with People magazine, the Insecure actress and comedian explained why she believes now more than ever is the time to grant Black entertainers, artists, and creatives the space to celebrate their community and accomplishments. Due to the ongoing of the current coronavirus pandemic, the awards ceremony will be produced and broadcasted virtually for the first time ever.

"It's less about it being during a pandemic and more about it being during a global uprising against racial discrimination. I don't think there’s a better time for us to be doing a show celebrating Black folks for living in their craft to the best of their abilities," Seales told People.

Seales admitted that she hasn't taken the offer to host the iconic awards show lightly and that she's been working hard on fine tuning her opening address to the viewers who watch this Sunday. The comedian continued that she's planning to "authentically" speak to her show's viewers regarding "the Black experience, past, present, and future" during her opening monologue.

"I need to be thoughtful and I always am, but really making sure that I'm not taking anything for granted in terms of what this stage means at this time. When I say 'at this time' I don't just mean about the uprising," explained Seales. "But about the fact that BET is celebrating 40 years. It's the 20-year anniversary of the BET Awards itself. So all of these things converging really is not something I take lightly and I'm looking forward to stepping into those shoes with grace."

Below, read up on what you need to know about Amanda Seales ahead of her big night at the BET Awards.

This isn't her first rodeo as a television host.

Before making her mark as a comedian and actress, Seales had a brief stint as an MTV Video Jockey on MTV2's Sucker Free Countdown. Most recently, Seales was also one of multiple hosts of Fox's The Real, but left after one season due to creative differences between her and the show's producers.

"I’m not in a space where I can, as a full Black woman, have my voice and my co-workers also have their voices, and where the people at the top are not respecting the necessity for Black voices to be at the top too," said Seales regarding her decision to leave The Real, per Deadline. "It doesn’t feel good to my soul to be at a place where I cannot speak to my people the way they need to be spoken to and where the people who are speaking to me in disparaging ways are not being handled."

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She's a published author.

Seales published her first book, a compilation of essays titled Small Doses: Potent Truths for Everyday Use, following the success of her podcast of the same name. The book, much like the podcast, perfectly showcases Seales' standout humor while dishing out personal anecdotes of wisdom and advice for her readers and listeners.

She's always been an avid advocate against racism and for the Black resistance movement.

Seales is never afraid to speak out on what's right. The actress often takes to social media to share her opinions, reactions, and emotions to the current state of Black livelihood in America. In 2019, Seales spoke to about why being an outspoken activist is such a vital component of what makes her who she is.

"I've actually kind of really refocused myself in remembering that my art is my activism. We don't have a choice but to use our platform," Seales told BAZAAR. "I have a friend who would say, 'You're making that choice,' but I feel like I owe that to the ancestors, and I owe that to my dad who sacrificed to be an activist, and I owe that to the future. I feel like when I see an injustice, I went to law school to be an advocate, so that's what you're going to see me do: advocate. And to the extent that it's helpful, I use whatever I can in my toolbox to ensure that we're heard, we're seen, and we're known, right? Especially when we're just trying to survive."

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She has her own comedy special on HBO.

Alongside her hilarious role as Tiffany on HBO's Insecure, Seales also has her own comedy special, I Be Knowin', on the network that premiered in 2018. One of the special's standout moments was Seales's interpretation of ultimate office culture shade: "Per my last email..."

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