Same Ish, Different Year: Do We Still Need the BET Awards?
It’s almost summer, and with that season approaching with the quickness (not until June, but you know Memorial Day ushers in the summertime way of thinking and naked-ness), it’s time to get ready for another presentation of the BET Awards. Nominations came out yesterday, and while I’m sure most–no, make that some–of the nominees are geeked up about their honors, I kind of rolled my eyes at not only the nominations, but the idea of another unorganized award show. Is it just me, or have the BET Awards become pretty irrelevant and unnecessary at this point?
I’ll never forget when the show was at its prime. The award show as a whole started in 2001 and has been a force to be reckoned with over the years, even pulling in MTV Video Music Award numbers, sometimes record numbers for the network. The most entertaining BET Awards presentation was probably the one in 2003 when Mo’Nique was the host, and anybody and everybody that was hot in the industry (and black) was in the audience. That was the year Bey performed “Crazy in Love” live for the first time, a very popular 50 Cent (remember, this was a LONG time ago) slayed the stage, and that was the year the show honored James Brown and Michael Jackson came out and got down with him. Our last glimpse of the men together on stage before both passed. Pretty awesome indeed.
But if you look forward after those years, the ceremonies became more and more ridiculous. From hosts who bombed (I still love you Damon Wayans), to reckless mess (Lil Wayne singing “I wish I could f**k every girl in the world” with his daughter and her friends dancing on stage), the terrible censorship (covering up clean words and accidentally letting the F-bomb and worse be aired on national television), and Debra Lee’s wardrobe choices, folks have been begging BET to go back to the drawing board with this once very fun and exciting annual event.
I’m sure most would say we need the BET Awards in order to honor OUR stars, but how does the show benefit and represent for black celebrities when half of them don’t even show up for the award’s ceremony??? Maybe they started to think the show was obscure as well, because last time I saw folks like Rihanna or even Kanye at the show, they had different boos on their arms and were all smiles before big scandals that would change the direction of their music and careers. And in all honesty, the show has started to honor the same folks over and over again rather than really showcasing a wide variety of talented black stars. And it’s getting pretty tired at this point.
For instance, this year, the video of the year category has two nominations for Bey and two for “The Throne” (Jay-Z and Kanye), leaving just one random nom left for Usher’s video, “Climax.” And that video came out, what, two months ago? And let us not forget that it has been the Chris Brown/YMCMB show for the last three years (Lil Wayne or Drake has consistently closed the show with stomach-turning flashes of Wayne’s panties and expletive-laden performances). Who can forget the fact that they let Chris Brown perform on-stage about three times last year and just HAD to give us a streamed performance of Beyoncé performing at Glastonbury? (They could have kept that.) And after a year that sprouted new female rap talents like Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks, why Nicki Minaj is nominated against folks like Diamond (she had new music???), I have no clue. They might as well mail her that award now and save her the trouble of coming out. And No Jill Scott in the Female R&B category??? *scoffs*
I do commend producers for including the humanitarian award, the lifetime achievement award (which is hand’s down my favorite part of the show) and letting gospel talents perform (too bad they have to sit in the audience and listen to so much ratchet-ness a majority of the night). I even like that they try to broaden people’s musical tastes by having awards for international acts, but what good is that award when you hand it out before the program starts??? You see, for every step forward the show takes, it winds up taking a few more back. But then again, that’s the history of the network as a whole.
With this type of job, I’ll be watching so I can help provide coverage about what happened, who wore what, and all that jazz (just as I did last year), and I’m really just looking forward to the show’s attempt at honoring Whitney Houston. But I’m hoping with the time they have to put on something fancy, it will be great, and that the awards as a whole can get a major upgrade. But these days, I’m finding that this show…honestly, make that most music award shows, are becoming as irrelevant as as can be, and there’s nothing you can do about it but tune in to laugh, or tune out to maintain your right mind.
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