Brandy, or rather her alter-ego Bran-Nu, shocked the BET Awards audience and viewers at home when she joined up-and-coming rap star Jack Harlow on the stage for a surprise performance.
Harlow’s early-show appearance kicked off with cameos from album collaborators DJ Drama and Lil Wayne during a live performance of his track “Poison,” off his sophomore release Come Home, The Kids Miss You. After exiting a stage scene mimicking a late-night session in a recording studio, Harlow was joined onstage by several dancers and participated in choreography to his smash hit single and infectious TikTok earworm “First Class.”
Halfway through the performance, he was joined on stage by the vocal Bible herself, rapping her own original verse to the wildly popular track.
The move was a celebratory wink to the Twitter controversy the young Kentucky-bred rapper stirred up in early May after an appearance on Ebro in the morning that exposed his ignorance to the fact that the legendary songstress and Ray J were brother and sister.
When played the opening instrumental bars of Brandy’s 1998 hit “Angel in Disguise” during a game on the show, Harlow, born in 1998 himself, was unsure who the artist was. When given clues as to whom she was related as a playful hint, he responded, “Wait, who is Ray J’s sister?”
The moment sparked both joking memes and heated debate over whether a young white artist like Harlow, seemingly ignorant to tidbits of millennial Black cultural common knowledge should be “allowed” in Hip Hop.
As for Brandy’s part, she playfully got in on the viral moment, Tweeting “I will murk this dude in rap at 43 on his own beats and then sing is a** to sleep,” before soon releasing her own freestyle over the beat to “First Class.”
They don’t call the BET Awards “the biggest night in culture” for no reason, as fans in-stadium and online responded in shock and approval to the new artist giving the R&B legend her flowers after his original snafu.
Harlow was also sure to honor his friend and collaborator Lil Nas X while appearing on the red carpet, who was not nominated in the best male Hip-Hop artist category despite his chart-topping singles and the success of his debut album Montero. Harlow was spotted wearing a vintage-style rap shirt featuring the rapper’s face.