While people have been tweeting and offering impulsive commentary about the BET Awards show, I wanted to continue my tradition of providing a more reflective view of what I liked and disliked about it. First off, I respect and admire what BET President of Programming Stephen Hill and his team must go through each and every year to strike a balance with the show. It is not easy, but Hill, a longtime industry veteran, has a sense of history, and is very good at putting together tributes, and he keeps his fingers on what’s current, so he knows how to appease today’s generation of music listeners.
My Five Dislikes
5) I’m not going to say that I disliked the overall rap performances by the artists from GOOD Music, Maybach Music or Cash Money, but they’re all pretty predictable. What I will admit is that those performances are audience boosters and provide much-needed tempo to the show. The young Hip-Hop demo is up and standing. They know the lyrics to all of the songs. I just wish there was another way to enhance these performances outside of utilizing pyrotechnics and car props. Ideas!?
4) Sam Jackson as host…I honor this man’s work as an actor. But I wasn’t sure what he really brought to the show as its host. From a branding perspective, I understand BET’s reason for bringing him, but other than the Real Husbands of Hollywood sketches, he didn’t move my meter. I did get a kick out of the “Negros in Paris” ditty with Spike Lee. My favorite hosts from the past, Will & Jada, Monique, Kevin Hart.
3) I, like many of you, have been an Usher fan for years. But I thought his performance of “Climax” was a bit underwhelming; from the outfit to the vocals.
2) BET not introducing certain performances like Valerie Simpson’s, who performed a poignant tribute to her late husband, Nicholas Ashford; and Chante Moore during her tribute to Donna Summer, which wasn’t long enough. But Donna’s legacy was more in the Pop-Dance communities, so I’m not gonna blame BET for not giving the segment more time; but fellow Viacom channel VH1 should have a Donna tribute on their docket.
1) The seven second delay. Damn, this is cable, not major network television…and we were watching a live feed. I wish the show would stop the censorship of language, OR at least schedule an unedited version of the show for late night viewing. There were gaps during entire verses when you couldn’t hear the lyrics.
My Five Favorites
5) I really liked the Gospel segment with Yolanda Adams and the previous finalists from Sunday Best. But I want to use this slot to give props to D’Angelo. I thought he sounded pretty good. He’s a top class musician, playing the sh%t out those keys, and he channeled his best James Brown and Prince. D’Angelo has been on a troubled ride these past 10 years or so; I’m just glad to see he’s back!
4) I probably should make this entry ineligible, but the Django trailer….seeing the all-star ensemble of Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Sam Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio has me putting this Quenton Tarintino film on the top of my movie-going experience when it comes out I believe this Christmas.
3) Frankie Beverly & Maze Tribute… When I first got wind that BET was honoring Frankie & Maze, I was elated to hear this because it is long overdue. Maze never gets national TV coverage. They are like the Black Grateful Dead; a virtual touring machine. JOE was outstanding, Faith was good, and I enjoyed Tyrese, who I saw sing “Secret Garden” with Marsha Ambrosius for the ASCAP Quincy Jones tribute just two nights ago.
2) The Real Husbands of Hollywood. These sketches are hilarious and offer a comedic break from all the music. I’m still reeling in laughter from the Martin Lawrence-Jamie Foxx Wanda and Sha Nay Nay sketch a couple of years ago.
1) The Whitney Houston Tribute. From Mama Cissy’s rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” to Monica’s “I Love the Lord”; Brandy’s on-point run through some of Whitney’s upbeat tracks; Chaka’s “I’m Every Woman,” and especially the tearful commentary from Mariah Carey and shared memories from the actresses of Waiting to Exhale, this was one of the best tributes I’ve ever seen.