Last night I did something that I haven’t done since 2005, and that was watch the BET Awards from the beginning to the end. The theme for this year’s award show was Prince, and in honor of his legacy a number of artists performed some of his greatest hits. In recent years this award show hasn’t kept my attention, but with this year’s lineup I figured that I would give it a shot and provide those who might have missed it with a review.
As you can see from the featured image of this blog post, the setup for this year’s award show was amazing. Everything from the lighting, visual effects, production value, and stage, made the show as aesthetically appealing as possible.
- Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar opened up the show with their song Freedom.
- The African-inspired visual effects, dance sequence (in the water), and song has garnered this performance an A.
- However, I’m still not sold on this trend that is commercialized consciousness coming from Beyoncé. I know, I know, Social Media Stans, how dare I question your Queen? Easy
- Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross were introduced as the night’s hosts.
- They did an hilarious parody of Hamilton by incorporating this year’s hottest urban tracks.
- Both actors have great chemistry on stage and on their hit ABC show, Black-ish, so I wasn’t surprised that their pairing throughout the night would garner them an A in my book.
- Taraji P. Henson presented the award for Best Group; Drake & Future were the winners.
- Tinashe introduced Bibi Bourelly for the “Music Matters” segment, Bryson Tiller won Best Male R&B/Pop award, and Desiigner performed his hit Panda.
- I still don’t know what panda stands for in the song, but rapper Fabolous’s facial expression during this performance was hilarious.
- Nothing super special about the performance, so I’ll give it a B-.
- Deon Cole and Karrueche Tran presented the Best Actor award; Michael B. Jordan was the winner.
- Karrueche is gorgeous, by the way.
- Dave Chappelle introduced the first Prince tribute of the night; Erykah Badu, The Roots, and Bilal.
- Epic performance, and Bilal has definitely been slept on.
- They get an A.
- Tracee Ellis Ross gave a quick endorsement to Hillary Clinton, which I’m not surprised with, seeing as how she did pander (as usual) at this year’s Black Girls Rock.
- The cast of the New Edition film, with a special appearance from Bobby Brown, came out to plug their upcoming movie and present the Best Actress award to Taraji P. Henson.
- I’ll definitely be checking out that film.
- Serena Williams and Stephen Curry were awarded Sports Woman and Sports Man of the Year. Alicia Keys performed her new single In Common.
- Alicia looked great and the performance was very creative; she performed while playing different instruments. I’ll give it an A.
- Snoop Dogg, Birman, and Jermaine Dupree presented the Best New Artist award to Bryson Tiller. Tori Kelly, Stevie Wonder, and Jennifer Hudson performed the second Prince tribute of the night.
- This tribute receives an A+ on behalf of my mother who almost caught the spirit while listening to Jennifer Hudson sing Purple Rain.
- Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut came out to plug their new movie When The Bough Breaks and to present Beyoncé with the Video of The Year award.
- Regina Hall is BEAUTIFUL; not bad, cute, sexy, but BEAUTIFUL.
- Chloe and Halle performed on “Music Matters.” Bryson Tiller performed his hit singles Don’t and Exchange.
- Tiller had a good performance and I like those songs, so I’ll give him a B.
- The cast of Almost Christmas (Kimberly Elise, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, and Omar Epps) presented the Best Male Hip Hop Artist award to Drake as well as plugged their upcoming movie.
- This movie looks like a fun, family film that I know I’ll support.
- Jamie Foxx spoke on the passing of Muhammad Ali and introduced his daughter, Laila Ali, who gave a heartwarming speech.
- Laila Ali is another woman who is BEAUTIFUL and she left us with a great quote from her father. “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
- Rest In Piece, Champ!
- Maxwell gave the third Prince tribute for the night, which I’ll give an A. The chairman and CEO of BET, Debra Lee, came out to talk about gun violence and how important voting is in this year’s election (another subliminal Hillary Clinton plug) as well as present the Humanitarian Award to actor Jesse Williams.
- Jesse Williams gave a very powerful speech in regards to racism and injustices that are still prevalent in the black community today. And as powerful as the message in his speech was, I still found my self annoyed; not with Jesse Williams, but with the “Black Magic,” social media brigade. It is so easy (almost too easy) to get my community to have emotional orgasms about any social issue that is geared towards us, especially if one is to say the right thing. The topics addressed in his speech weren’t topics that we haven’t heard before, but each speech emotionally rejuvenates us because it gives us a reason to use the “Black Magic” hashtags (#StayWoke, #BlackLivesMatter, #Conscious), it gives us a reason to eviscerate social pundits online, and it gives us a reason use the black emojis. That’s great and all but it doesn’t change anything, all it does is keeps a linear conversation going. And if we’re going to spend our days conversing online about the popular trend that is the black struggle, then let’s make more noise about things that hold real weight; group economics, reparations. Just a suggestion.
- Fantasia “Shines a Light” on Marcus Duke, Future performed Purple Reign (which garnered him a B+ in my book), and Jussie Smollett introduced Anderson Paak for “Music Matters.”
- Janelle Monae gave an epic Prince tribute (fourth tribute of the night) and she looked great doing it; grade of A. The cast of The Birth of A Nation (Nate Parker, Gabrielle Union, and Aja Naomi King) awarded Kirk Franklin with the Gospel Inspirational Award.
- I can’t wait to check out that film, much-needed story.
- Spike Lee honors Samuel L. Jackson, Usher performs his hit No Limit, and DJ Khalid awarded the Coca Cola Viewer’s Choice award to Beyoncé.
- Usher hasn’t missed a beat, he still can compete with the young boys (B+).
- Dave Chapelle introduced the great Sheila E, who closed out the show with the final performance and tribute to Prince.
- It’s Sheila E, she gets an A+. Period!
Overall, I thought that the 2016 BET Awards was a breath of fresh air from the last 5 years. The aesthetics, performances, and overall flow/energy of the show garnered it a solid A. I would just suggest that the network cut the time down next year, 3 and half hours is way too long.
Until Next Time…