BET Awards 2024: Taraji P. Henson says 'Project 2025 plan is not a game'

"Project 2025" began trending on Google moments after actress Taraji P. Henson urged guests at the 2024 BET Awards to look it up, educate themselves on it and vote.

"I'm telling y'all, you better show up and show out. I'm being serious now," Henson said as she looked directly into the camera in the middle of the show on June 30. "It's not just about the presidential election, you guys. It's time for us to play chess, not checkers."

Project 2025, known as the Presidential Transition Project, is a conglomerate of conservative policy proposals, potential picks to fill positions for the next administration, and more in the event that a republican, which would be Donald J. Trump, is elected president in November. It was put together in 2022 by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative nonprofit, in order to "pave the way for an effective conservative Administration."

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 30: Host Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage during the 2024 BET Awards at Peacock Theater on June 30, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

The project is based on four pillars: a Policy Agenda, Personnel Database, Training and a 180-Day Playbook.

"The Project 2025 plan is not a game. Look it up," Henson said during her impassioned speech.

She also criticized the recent set of U.S. House bills, including the defense bill that would automatically register men between a certain age for the draft and the suggested update that would include women. She asked the crowd if they knew "it was now a crime to be homeless," referring to the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling allowing cities to punish people for sleeping outside.


"I'm not trying to scare us, I'm trying to inform us," Henson continued. "I'm talking to the mad people who don't want to vote. You're gonna be mad about a lot of things if you don't vote."

Killer Mike on Grammys arrest, voting

Talk of the upcoming U.S. presidential election was woven throughout the ceremony.

After Childish Gambino presented Killer Mike with the album of the year award for "Michael," the rapper used his acceptance speech to address his Grammys arrest and voting.

Killer Mike accepts the award for Album of the Year 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)

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"Technically, I was not supposed to be here. I was put in handcuffs, and I was marched out of this building. But I want to tell you, look at God. ’Cause I’m back, baby. I’m back and I’m winning," he said in his speech. Killer Mike was arrested at the Grammys earlier this year over a physical altercation he said was caused by an "over-zealous" security guard; he was not charged over the incident.

"They going to tell you who we vote for is important," he continued his speech, "And it is who we vote for on the big stage. It’s important, but it’s more important you know who your city council person is, who your prosecutor is."

Maria Sherman from the Associated Press contributed to this excerpt. Read the rest of her report here.

What are the BET Awards?

The BET Awards is a ceremony recognizing entertainers in music, film, sports and philanthropy that was organized by the Black Entertainment Television network in 2001.

Being Black is not a requirement to be nominated for a BET Award. Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Robin Thicke, Justin Bieber and Iggy Azalea have all been nominated in various categories over the years. In 2015, Sam Smith won the award for Best New Artist.