Like millions of other people, I watched the BET Awards last night. There were a lot of memorable moments. Here are five of my favorites.
5. Beyonce cleaning up after Mindless Behavior
While announcing the award for Best Female R&B Artist, Mindless Behavior inadvertently made a bad joke about Lauryn Hill not paying her taxes. I don’t know whether it was a prewritten joke or a poor attempt at improv made in efforts to keep up with Mike Epps, but the joke did not go over as planned. When accepting her award, Beyonce kindly paid respect to the many female R&B singers who came before her including Lauryn Hill. I guess the experience with Taylor Swift years ago has prepared Beyonce well for navigating situations like these. It makes her even more likable. (As a side note, it was also nice to see Beyonce and Solange enjoying themselves and dancing on the front row.)
4. Yolanda Adams’ Acceptance Speech
After winning her award for Best Gospel Album, Yolanda Adams took to the stage and put a slightly different twist on the traditional acceptance speech. She used her time as an opportunity to encourage artists to use their gifts responsibly and to acknowledge that they are in fact role models. That was a bold move given the audience and I applaud her for taking a chance and making such a statement.
3. D’Angelo’s Return
From the moment I heard that D’Angelo would be on the BET Awards this year, I knew that I would be watching. His music has been a part of the soundtrack of my life (and my frat brother’s car) for years. While he didn’t meet my unrealistic expectations for his performance, I was nonetheless pleased to see him back on stage doing what he was created to do. After all, no one can deny that D’Angelo left a major void in the music industry with his surprising exit years ago. I just hope that he’s able to live up to his own hype.
2. Jessica Reedy, Y’Anna Crawley, Amber Bullock, and Yolanda Adams on “You Brought the Sunshine.”
As usual, representatives from Sunday Best came through and reminded everybody that some of the most talented singers in the world are in the Black Church. I really appreciated the song choice considering that the Clark Sisters never received the mainstream recognition that they deserved. It’s just too bad that no one in the extended Clark/Moss family was there to enjoy the moment.
1. The Whitney Houston Tribute
Although I was a bit annoyed by the Jennifer Hudson haters, I was pleasantly surprised to see Brandy and Monica participating in the Whitney Houston tribute. Both singers had expressed how much Whitney Houston had meant to them and I felt that they both did her proud. Adding Gary and Cissy Houston to the mix was the icing on the cake. Cissy’s voice may not have been at its best, but her sincerity and conviction made up for it. As for Chaka Khan, it was expected that she would end the tribute with “I’m Every Woman,” while wearing an outfit that flaunted her recent weight loss. Overall, this was the best tribute to Whitney I had seen to date. (Shout outs to the BGVs including my former praise & worship leader Bryan Clark.)
and here are some of my least favorite moments:
5. Chris Brown’s Painted Abs
If Chris Brown wants to appear shirtless, he should do what the rest of us do: accept that you do not have a visible six pack or spend more time going to the gym and eating right. Instead, Chris Brown chose an unusual alternative–body paint. Needless to say, a lot of his fans were too distracted to actually acknowledge the quality of his dance moves. (That and the fact that I would actually hear his attempts at singing over the vocal track at some moments. He should have just lip synched.)
4. Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee’s Opener
When I first found out that Samuel L. Jackson was going to host the BET Awards, I wasn’t sure if it meant that BET had increased in stature or if Samuel L. Jackson had come upon hard times. By the time the awards were over, I was still not clear. However, I feel like Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee’s remix to “Ni**as in Paris” could have been left out. It was just 5 minutes of pure awkwardness.
3. The Existence of the Best Female Rapper Category
Once again, BET made it painfully clear that there are not any real viable female rappers out there aside from Nicki Minaj, whose attempt at humility and sincerity in her acceptance speech failed miserably. At this point, I actually find myself hoping for some other female rapper to come out of nowhere and rain on Nicki’s parade. Sure Nicki Minaj is talented, but there is no way that she is the only talented female rapper in the universe. I really hope that the talent pool for the Best Female Rapper category is stronger next year.
2. Mindless Behavior’s Joke Gone Wrong
1. The 30 second tribute to Vesta and Etta James
It was so short that if I had blinked, I would have missed it. After a commercial break, there was a random voice singing “Congratulations” by Vesta while photos of Vesta and Etta James were being displayed. I personally felt that both artists deserved more recognition than that. Etta James was one of the most influential blues singers of all time and Vesta was responsible for showing a generation of Black female singers what it means to be a true powerhouse. BET really should have done better by these two powerful women.
That’s my list. What did you think? What would you add? What would you take away?
Best Moment: Frankie Beverly’s acceptance speech about the power of God.
Worst Moment: Kevin Hart winning Best Male Actor. Enough said.