The 48-year-old singer-and-actor kicked off his stint hosting the annual ceremony at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on Sunday (13.01.19) by praising the inclusivity of “underrepresented people” in many of the movies and TV shows that had been shortlisted for the awards.
He said: “It’s been another great year for movies and TV shows and not only was it an amazing year for creativity, it was also a great year for inclusivity of all underrepresented people.
“All underrepresented people of all genders and orientations played prominent roles both in front and behind the camera in many of this year’s biggest films, television and streaming series.
“I am talking about men and women of Asian descent, Latinx, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“But particularly it was a great year for African-Americans. Black filmmakers earned a record $1.5 billion dollars at the domestic box office in 2018. This obviously is something very close to my heart, so I thought we’d celebrate with a heartfelt musical tribute.”
Backed by dancers, he then launched into the unique cover, which referenced a number of the projects up for awards.
He sang: “Let’s have a celebration about the representation of my brothers and my sisters in this year’s film presentation.”
In a nod to ‘Black Panther’, he continued: “Everyone could ponder about living in Wakanda.”
And later in the song, the ‘Set It Up’ star gave a shout out to ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ actress Regina King, who went on to win the Best Supporting Actress prize.
He sang: “Let’s give it up for the queen. I love you, Regina King. Diversity on the screen.”