And another award show concludes. Another year of the BET Awards blasting onto our screens filled with as many Black entertainers and musicians it can fit. A show that reflects on the most popular in Black entertainment while producing acts of both legendary and introductory status. Yet, The BET Awards has not been the same as its former years and with its celebration comes unexplainable technical difficulties and confusing endings. However one fact still remains, the BET Awards 2014 came forth and left us with many-a-things to talk about.
Let me first explain that I have strong criticisms of where the show has gone since 2005. That year seemed to be its peak for the BET Awards, in my opinion. Will & Jada hosted, Gladys Knight was the Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Destiny’s Child put on one last epic performance, and it was Bob Johnson’s last year as head of BET. A lot went on, and the show portrayed it in a most celebratory and exciting way. Since then I have watched the excitement of the BET Awards deflate through “over-hypeness” (might’ve made that up) and weird technical difficulties that are not common with any other awards show. I try to not be as critical because I do love entertainment, and I also love the recognition of Black entertainment. But for BET to categorize their show as the “Oscars for Black people”, I think they still have lots of shaping up to do.
Now with all that being said, here are my highs, okay?, and wth?! moments from last night’s BET Awards:
The Tributes: One thing I must always give props to BET for are their tributes, they always set and reach high standards whenever they do so. Last night we saw John Legend, Ledisi, and Yolanda Adams come out to perform some career hits of Lifetime Achievement recipient Lionel Richie before he graced the stage himself. Then there was the beautifully put-together montage of the Civil Rights Movement, dedicating the Humanitarian Award to all those who were involved and accepted by Myrlie Evers-Williams. Lastly we were given an additional tribute to the late greats Dr. Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee. This was narrated by the Earthly-mother herself, PHYLICIA RASHAD, easily bringing the audience to their feet for a long and necessary standing ovation. ‘Nuff said.
Usher: His-remember I’ve got hits, let me sing & dance to them for a little bit– performance which took place right after the amazingly talented yet questionable singing of Chris Brown, re-engraved his original Prince of R&B status.
Chris Rock: I always have doubts when BET enlists classic, yet controversial comedians to host their show. In the past, they have always seemed to write material that doesn’t fit the natural state of the host. I don’t think Chris Rock let that happen, because no one was safe in the audience. His best came during his overtaking of BET’s original series commercials and in a “what do White People know about BET” interview at a monster truck rally. This interview produced answers that were hilarious when they were right and wrong.
“Stretching”: Chris Rock would vocally announce to the audience when he was being told to “stretch” his hosting between performances or introductions. I am still not sure why because the 4-hour show needed anything but stretching.
90s R&B short-lived reunion to the Civil Rights Movement: Although I really enjoyed the short reunion interlude of R&B groups this transition from acts was a little weird. Because if there was any musical act to set the emotional mood of appreciation for those who fought for American civil rights, it would be Silk singing the baby making anthem “Freak Me”.
LIONEL RITCHIE?: Now this I did not see until The Hollywood Reporter published it in an article, but it seemed that someone in graphics misspelled the honoree’s name as he was walking up to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award. Did they always think that is how you spell Nicole’s last name?
No wrap-up music: It became apparent last night that the BET Awards wholeheartedly believe in letting their winners speak. And some winners wholeheartedly took advantage of that. There is a fine line of a speech ending and then transitioning into a ramble that really has nothing to do with anything. For an additional five minutes after their acceptance speeches, I discovered that there is a “beef” between Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea and that August Alsina’s mom was afraid to get on the plane to go to the show. No orchestra heard during these moments.
If you have Beyoncé & JAY Z close the show, you should have Beyoncé & JAY Z close the show: From the opening credits and announcement “starring Beyoncé”, I knew something would be out of the ordinary since she is currently on tour right now. Yet throughout the whole awards, there were more promises of a special performance from the Carters. So when the show was coming to an end and after their last commercial sequence, BET had Chris Rock announce the performance of Beyoncé and JAY Z. Silence was made, TVs turned up and then it seemed everyone let out a cry. In my case it was a cry of laughter and disbelief. Because we watched the cameras zoom into the onstage screens as a pre-recorded performance of “Partition” from their summer On the Run tour started to —I assume— play. Let me be very clear, I stan for Beyoncé & Mr. JAY Z, and although it would be great to see them grace the stage at every awards show, it is not necessary if they cannot oblige us. This is the second time BET has pulled this pre-taped/Skype performance with Bey. Were they implying that no artist that was physically there was worthy enough to take their spot instead? Maybe so. But what really brought the wth?! aspect was that it closed the show. As if they expected us to leave the show with fulfillment, when actually, I was left on my couch more confused than before.
For all the highlights, excitement & confusion, check out clips from the show at bet.com