From the surprise opening performance by Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar to the outstanding tribute performances honoring the late great Prince, the BET Awards were nothing short of outstanding. The BET Awards were also nothing short of #MelaninMagic and not so subtle messages to America that #BlackLivesMatter. Also, just in case you missed out on the BET Experience over the weekend I can fill you in on all of the fabulousness that you missed out on.
The BET Awards is more than a single night of honors and great performances it is a full weekend experience. The BET Awards looks to honor excellence in music as well as film/television. It is the only award show with 100% minority award recipients. If the rest of society wants to push us to the side then we will celebrate ourselves.
This year’s BET Experience kicked off on June 23 with a live taping of “106 & Park” and a comedy show featuring Katt Willaims and Mike Epps at the Staples Center. I didn’t attend either so I can’t tell you anything about those events but I will say if it was anything like the rest of the weekend it was a blast! On Friday I started my day by attending the live taping of “106 & Park” as well as the Usher concert at Staples Center which featured performances by Made in TYO, Kehlani, and Bryson Tiller. They were all great but Bryson left me slightly disappointed. I mean who performs in a shadow the entire show? Well besides Sia that is (LOL).
Saturday the Sprite Celebrity Basketball game kicked my day off with a bunch of one hit wonder rappers. That is until Uncle Snoop and The Game (bae) walked in the door! I mean really leave it to the “big” names to be late *cough* Omarion showed up for the last 2 minutes of the game. It also featured a rather embarrassing performance by Nick Cannon who missed every shot until the last minute. Saturday was also the kick-off to Fan Fest which featured Genius Talks from today’s hottest celebrities and influencers such as Gabrielle Union, DJ Kahled, and Snoop Dogg. There was also a mini concert featuring performances by Bilal, BJ the Chicago Kid, Desiigner, Dreezy, Fat Joe, and Remy Ma.
Now for what I know y’all came here for, the inside scoop on the BET Awards Live Show. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes at the live show that I just have to share some of it with you. Let me start with Toni Braxton and Birdman sitting front and center all snuggled up with Lil Wayne look-a-like Jacquees, Future leaving his seat to pout for what had to be an hour, the way Jennifer Hudson sang her way completely off the stage, and the game of musical chairs that gets played during every commercial break. The energy at the BET Awards is something that can only be felt firsthand even if you can’t hear the dialogue the energy is palpable. You had to be there to know that Bryson Tiller appeared to be visibly upset after his performance (it seemed as though he couldn’t hear through his earpiece). While I will never understand his constant look of boredom the man sounds the same live as he does on the radio. The tribute to Muhammad Ali was slightly lackluster in my mind but it was beautiful nonetheless. The night was truly a dedication to Prince which included performances by Erykah Badu, Bilal, The Roots, Maxwell, Jennifer Hudson, Janelle Monae, Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly. I don’t care what anyone has to say, no matter how old Maxwell gets he will always be smooth! And I know everyone and their mama, grandmama, and auntie are talking about the hard hitting speech given by Jesse Williams in which he spoke on the racial issues facing America today. Instead of attempting to paraphrase his greatness please find it in its entirety below. If the speech alone wasn’t enough to prove that #BlackExcellence is real I don’t know what to tell you.
Via TIME MAGAZINE
“Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that .
Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.
Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.
It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.
Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.
Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.
Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.
Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.
There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.
Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.
And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little side note – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.
We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.