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BET Awards: Meek Mill Pays Tribute to XXXTentacion During “Stay Woke”

Mill, who was released from prison in April, hit the stage for a performance that touched heavily on police brutality and mass incarceration.

Meek Mill paid tribute to rappers XXXTentacion and Jimmy Wopo, both of whom were killed by gun violence within hours of each other last week, during his performance of new song “Stay Woke” at Sunday night’s BET Awards.

Mill, who was eleased from prison in April, hit the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for a performance that touched heavily on police brutality and mass incarceration. He wore a T-shirt bearing the faces of both XXX and Wopo.

As Mill paced around a stage setup meant to mimic a dark and gloomy street, he rapped lyrics like “they taught us to hate each other before we learn how to walk,” while various scenes played out around him: a young girl drew on the sidewalk with chalk, a man and woman argued and a group of black men formed a crowd. By the end of the song, actors portraying police officers flooded the stage and shots rang out. The performance ended with the image of roughly a dozen people resembling prisoners standing behind bars.

The new song features Miguel, who joined Mill onstage.

Mill in November was sent to county lockup for two to four years after he was captured while performing a wheelie in an Instagram video. It was the third time Judge Genece Brinkley sent the rapper to prison for violating his probation. The sentencing ignited outrage and triggered a series of investigations after many deemed it too severe. Amazon recently ordrered a new docuseries from Jay-Z that will explore those investigations.

Mill spent five months in jail before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered his release. Recently, he has been fighting to get his 2008 convictions on drug and gun charges thrown out.

Tatiana Cirisano  of Billboard contributed to this report.

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