Monday, June 29, 2009

BET Awards Recap

To be honest, I was not going to watch the BET Awards this year. I had forgotten all about it until Friday when my co-workers were talking about partis and one of my Twitter peeps asked me about the incoming traffic to L.A. That's how I feel about a network and something that's supposed to celebrate the best of Black people but has gone to deeper crap since Bob Johnson sold it to Viacom and it became the Black MTV (a.k.a the Jr. Circuit)

The Boondocks threw the dirt on the coffin with their banned episode as it highlighted how we all felt. But with the passing of Michael Jackson and the awards show being redone as a tribute to him, I had to watch to see if the network would step up with the eyes of the world on it. Would they make us proud? My highs and lows from last night.


- Absolutely starts with Ne-Yo. A beautiful cover of "Lady in My Life" and closing duet with Jamie Foxx on "I'll Be There" sans his famous fedora. If anybody could pull off a MJ tribute well, it's him because vocally, few have his chops. He also gets props for leading the great tribute to New Jack Swing and of course his stellar remix of "Miss Independent."

- Maxwell's return. His new song "Pretty Wings" was amazing and he commanded the stage with the grace and presence befitting the anticipation for his comeback album. Great performance and he just made me anxious for that album. Janet should have come out after his performance.

- New Edition's pre-show cover of the Jackson 5. 80's kids know that NE were their version of the J5 so it was appropriate.

- If you're catching the theme, R&B won last night. The O'Jays lit up the stage (and Tyrese, Johnny Gill, Trey Songz and Tevin Campbell did amazing tributes) like true veterans. Ciara surprisingly sung a well-done version of "Heal the World" and Beyonce, despite me being confused at her presentation, transcended the stage with "Ave Maria" and her cover of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel."

- The "Baby Boy" recap with Tyrese coming up on Taraji P. Henson was kinda funny. They didn't overdo it and had a good laugh on it but........(see below)

- Keyshia Cole/Monica: a reminder why we need more quality duets in R&B.

- Jay-Z "D.O.A." was a great performance. I don't care if people think the song isn't lyrical (rhyme scheme, rhyme patternwise NO, but flow, words, and verbal bite YES) and he's performing with Drake on BP3 (in lieu of his performance ehhhh), the song says pretty much how we all feel.


- Souljah Boy's performance. Kid has no idea what a verse is - ugh, too much negative to say about him.

- Drake/Young Money performance. I'll accept that Drake tore his ACL and was stool bound but he wasn't even singing. R&B cats should never have a backing track behind them - even if you get a 2nd chance kid, step your singing up. And Young Money was absolute trash. From the young girls on stage while they talked about rated R things, BET heavily censoring their performance and having no idea what they said - just an absolute mess

- Remember how I said the Baby Boy re-enactment was nice. Ving Rhames took it to crap, sounding like a rambling drunk, making a mockery of MJ's name with his "guns or butter" update. Wasn't this brother the definition of cool once? Not anymore, SMH.

- Far be it from me to criticize a parent after losing their son, but Joe Jackson was terrible for promoting his record label on the red carpet. I know his emotions aren't there, but I was appalled to hear that. And what made things worse....BET head honcho Debra Lee, Idris Elba and that other lady with him sent their sympathies to Catherine Jackson on stage and the family WITHOUT MENTIONING HIM right there. I know dude may be a snake, but at least publicly show the man some respect. Double SMH at them both.

Was it just me or did it feel like BET gave the Humanitarian Award to Alicia Keys instead of Wyclef. Before they brought him up too, I was stunned. Definitely not the best way to do that.

While I loved the spirit of the New Jack Swing, there's a big difference than last year when Alicia Keys brought out En Vogue, TLC and SWV. The ladies sounded great and looked stunning. Keith Sweat (one of my personal faves) sounded off-key, Guy looked/sounded terrible - especially Aaron Hall - and Bell Biv Devoe saved the tribute with their moves and singing.

Jamie Foxx had some highs and lows as a host. Great touch with the MJ gear, bad touch by overdoing it with telling the crowd this is for MJ. Great touch with "Ill Be There" and "She Got Her Own," bad touch with an 1)auto-tune heavy "Blame It", 2) bringing out Snoop Dogg and Travis Barker as show pieces, 3) faux playing a guitar. His highs may outweigh his lows, but at times he was inconsistent.

Don Cornelius looks in sad shape and his time on the microphone was.....(how to say this respectfully).....bordering on hearing that old cousin ramble past their time. I was glad he came out to introduce the O'Jays but it went from reflective to painful to watch an icon reduced to that.

BET didn't censor the broadcast well enough for the West Coast. For once I liked it because I hate West Coast delays. Some stuff got out (Eddie Levert cussin - a mixture of laughs and huh?) but in the future shows need to be live out here, esp. on a weekend.

Janet Jackson's speech at the end was poignant and I was honored that she came out. She didn't have to, but her simple words summed up the loss of a loved one. "To you, he was an icon, to us, he was family." Closing it with Ne-Yo and Jamie's tribute was beautiful and emotional and the perfect way to end an interesting night.

Could there have been more tributes? Perhaps but given the 2-day window, the network did what they could and pulled it off well. Of course, the "BET-ness"of the show was noticeable at times and I hated how everyone name-dropped MJ so casually by the night's end, making noteworthy gestures feel lazy (sorta how people casually thank God all the time). Maybe I'm glad i didn't see some of the pre-show but I felt like more could've been done.

I also think we expected a lot more as well. I didn't hear the rumors of planned tributes so I went in blind.

That being said, I was pleased at what was done. It's impossible to plan a great tribute in two days and not have some issues. I just hope our newspaper can do him justice on Thursday.

No comments:

Post a Comment