Monday, June 29, 2009

Debra Lee's Circus, The BET Awards


Watching movies and barbecuing is how my family spends most Sunday afternoons. This past Sunday, I broke a cardinal rule and watched the BET Awards for the first time. My kids convinced me that it would be great since it was billed as a tribute to Michael Jackson and his humanitarian endeavors. However, the show that was promoted was not the show I watched. The BET Awards was a chaotic three hour black-a-thon fiasco.

How things begin is an indication of where things will end. Watching CNN’s anchorman Don Lemon giving shouts out on the red carpet was the start of the calamity that went downhill fast. To add to the circus atmosphere that was forming outside, Joe Jackson, MJ’s father and belt wielding former manager, was on the red carpet promoting his new record label. Huh? I know grief is expressed in different ways but this was a drastic departure from tears and sadness that is normally shown. He sounded more like an old school promoter for Denise LaSalle than a father who had lost a son two days prior. But what do I know. I never watched the show and I did not know if this was the norm. Arsenio Hall was raised from the dead and Chaka Khan said something. As for the rest of the folks, I had no idea if they were artists or clowns that were paid to keep us distracted.

Once the “show” started, I cursed myself for partaking in foolishness. I was tweeting throughout the night because my kids could not stand me shouting at them and the TV. New Edition was cute and Jamie Fox was comic relief. The O'Jays, in their yesteryear prom suits, had me dancing. Sugary Ne-yo and Jamie's collaboration was touching. The duet with Monica and Keisha Cole was sassy and had vocal harmony. I loved Keke Palmer throw down. And Maxwell could have sung all night.

But what was up with Queen B’s ballerina-wedding night-wingless angel outfit? Did she sing a song that is the theme for dog rescuers? It was not proper for a MJ tribute. But the pandemonium kept coming; Ray J and the Atlanta vixens, Lil Wayne gold dipped teeth (ew), Ving Rhames, and various characters that had no talent only added to the bizarre profanity laced evening. Don Cornelius rambling intro, which made time stand still, had me praying for the torturous show to end. And let’s not forget the commercials for upcoming BET reality shows that I confused with promos for a support group for incarcerated women.

After the rappers destroyed the English language as we know it and perplexity that would have been right at home at the Hoodie Awards, Mary Mary blessed the show with a gospel song straight from a juke joint. Don't hate, I blog like I see it.

Recognizing Alicia Keys and Wyclef was nice, but, seriously, where was the tribute to MJ? I felt Janet's pain who sounded broken as she reminded the audience that MJ was her brother.

Why the ring mistress of BET, Debra Lee, could not have waited and worked on a show that would have been truly entertaining and befitting to MJ's memory and his work is beyond me. MJ gave $300 million to charities which is rarely mentioned. Focusing on his charitable contributions during his lifetime and how his musical brilliance created an entire genre of music/videos would have rocked the house and lifted spirits. Instead, we were reminded why he lived in a place called “Neverland”. You would have to live in a world of make believe to call the show a tribute. The responses on Twitter and in the blogosphere have been horrific. The poorly orchestrated show did not reflect MJ’s musical influence and minimized the gifts of many talented individuals. I am wondering if the folks at the Stellar Awards would have done a better job. On second thought, never mind, that spaceship will never land.
Photos credit: www.bet.com

16 comments :

Fleudiddy said...

I have only one comment. I agree with everything you said, mainly because we were tweeting about the show the whole time. I must however make one correction. Wyclef and Will.i.am hate it when people confuse them. It's like calling a Puerto Rican a Mexican, a Korean Japanese, or a Haitian Jamaican.

Renee said...

I have to say that you are far braver than I am. After watching the fiasco on the red carpet for the sake of my mental sanity I tuned out. BET has long stood for coonery and nonsense, I simply did not expect any better.

Cheri said...

Omigoodness, did you get this exactly right! To coin a phrase, "..it was a hot mess." I was left confused, embarrassed and wondering where was the tribute??? Could their claim that the show would be a tribute have been a purposeful attempt to draw a larger viewing audience? I sure hope not. It is telling that our 5th grade students today were laughing at Tiny and Toya, not talking about the insight they gained about MJ's legacy while watching the show. The whole world was watching last night. It's ashamed BET didn't show these viewers something we all could be proud of .

Tracey said...

Genma,
You are so on point! I too can't believe I watched the entire show (and the pre-show at that!) Instead of calling it a MJ tribute, they should have waited so they could have more time to plan a tribute befitting of the king of pop.

Anonymous said...

I normally would not have watched the award show but I had hope that Black Entertainment Television would step up and bring their A game. Boy was I wrong. As I sat and watch all the buffoonery with tears in my eyes thinking about how hard MJ worked to craft his art to only be made a mockery of. Most of those none talented people would have never had this opportunity if it was not for him. This was not a tribute it was more like a roast. I think it was a total disrespect to a family who everytime they took the stage did it with stly and grace. I was never a fan of the recent BET and after last I will never watch that channel again. Michael Jackson deserve so much better and I pray that someone will give him the proper tribute fitting for the King Of Pop.

Anonymous said...

Genma, you are absolutely right! The BET Awards was a total joke. It was not what I expected since it was promoted as being a tribute to the King of Pop, MJ. I watched all the way to end hoping that it would get better but it did not. Lil Wayne and his crew were a HOT MESS!!!!!!!!!!!! So, hopefully something will be planned that will be a true tribute to MJ and all of his accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

Yep, unfortunately it will most likely not be "us" to create the tribute befitting the King of Pop. As an industry insider, you would need to understand the self hatred that pervades within the walls of BET. High Yeller trumps talent every time. This means concepts and programming suffer because qualifications are usually size 0 - 4, and multi culti hair, these "very important" qualifications outshine true connections to Black Culture.

Genmaspeaks said...

anoy#2
As a former "insider", I know all to well that you are speaking the truth!

Anonymous said...

BET is just a wee bit trifling. Your comments are on point. I only disagree with Beyonce's song, which was a beautiful old song. Outside of that, the part that got my attention the most was when Drake and Lil Wayne sang " I want to f- every girl in the world", with little kids dancing on stage. In the age of high HIV rates, that was just crazy and terrible.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with everything being said.Way to show our youth who the King of Pop reallly is,and the little girls on stage with that song being performed makes it even worse for Micheal.

Anonymous said...

Your are EXACTLY right it's about time somebody mentioned the HOT-MESS that is Beyonce: utterly ridiculous!!!!! Is she gonna where drag-queen insipired leotards throughout this whole album: to still a phrase from MS. B;"Nasty, put some clothes on!" and Debra should be ashamed.

Marvin L. said...

Hey, they had 2 days to pull this together. Give the producers a break. (Yes I know it was a mess, but still.)

blackgirlinmaine said...

I love what you wrote, I have been too busy to blog about the awards but what you wrote sums up what I saw.

I only saw the last hour or so, but I remember why I don't watch BET. I didn't see anything that said tribute abd considering all eyes (meaning white folks too) was watching, you think they could have done a lot better than what they did.

BET needs to go bye bye ASAP.

The Black Sphere said...

First of all even the mainstream "awards" show have become buffoonish, and that is putting it politely. To think that BET would offer anything but more degradation, well it's just a silly thought.

The farther we get away from "core" black values, the more BET we get. Unfortunately, Hollyweird and most blacks these days want us to believe that is the norm.

Joe Jackson's comments would be warped back in the day, but we all know there is a contingent among us who "understand" his marketing of the new record label, at the expense of his dead son. Hey, at least he STAYED with the family!

Great article Genma, pointing out the idiocy of many of us. As the saying goes, "To thine self, be true!"

Anonymous said...

Yet another great blog about the 'truth,' Genma. I am glad I discovered you. I respect your fearlessness and honesty. Freedom of speech at its best.

Carol

vicksburgnews said...

After all the theology studies I have done, and all the years of studying scripture nad reading countless books written by spiritual people from many centuries past, I should know better than to ever worry about celebrity status. I have been moved by all the fans in the recent loss of their celebrities and I have been twittering to perhaps help them by trying to be understanding. The trouble with celebrity-ism is that its really only about money, their money.

I know all too well what Jesus taught me and what Bob Dylan sang about in a spiritual song. "You've got to serve somebody." But you can't serve two masters. You can only serve one and hate the other. You need to stick with the Lord. That money won't last forever.