20 Questions: 2014 BET Awards Review

Here’s a shock: I was actually looking forward to this year’s BET Awards.

This year, the host was set to be arguably the funniest comedian alive, Chris Rock.

By the way, if you think Kevin Hart is the funniest comedian alive, go ahead and hit the X at the top right of this screen. There’s no future in your frontin’.

Anyway, I hoped that Chris Rock would help bring some life to the never-ending parade of ratchetness we endure every year. I was right, but sadly, the man can’t work miracles. If you missed this year’s show, I’ve got you covered:

1. Pharrell opened the show with “Come Get It Bae,” complete with sorority girls from the very prestigious Bae University, I’m guessing. But we got a much greater treat – my girl Missy Elliott graced the stage for a quick duet. Aren’t we LONG past due for a Missy comeback album?

2. Chris Rock introduced the show and wasted no time offending everyone. His best bit of the night was attending a monster truck rally and questioning folks WAY outside of BET’s core demographic about the show. One guy was asked “Who will win artist of the year?” Trucker dude of course answered “Eminem.” Well, if Em was nominated for something he’d likely win, so I can’t hate.

3. How long did it take Gabrielle Union and Regina Hall to drool over stupid Internet sensation #PrisonBae? Less than 15 minutes.

Jeremy Meeks always looks like he’s 5 seconds from saying YOGA FLAME.

4. Did anyone recognize any of the new songs Lil Wayne attempted to perform? He sounded horrible and the confused crowed clapped along like supportive parents at a third grade piano recital. Poor Wayne, Tha Carter II dropped in 2005. “That’s a one hot album every 10 year average … and that’s so laaaaame.”

5. Former 106 & Park host Terrence J made his return as a presenter, along with Eva Marcille. Terrence, true to his nature, was a complete cornball. Some things never change. Also, were you surprised that Best Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o couldn’t be bothered to show up?

6. Jhene Aiko sang her played-out single “The Worst,” with John Legend performing one of the best assists this side of John Stockton. While she was grasping for those notes for dear life Legend’s vocals glided with ease. Why can’t younger artists put that kind of effort into their performances?

7. Why was my play Cousin Chris Brown wearing the same homeless fisherman outfit Wayne wore an hour earlier during his performance of “Loyal?” By the way, nothing makes me weep for society more than a group of women screaming “these hoes ain’t loyal.” We need to do better.

8. Hey BET, if “Music Matters” so much, why did you cut off Gabi Wilson’s phenomenal performance after roughly 8 seconds?

9. RIP Grumpy Cat, who gave his miserable life to be Usher’s dumb hat. How long do you think it will take PETA before they come for Ursher’s head for rocking that coonskin crown? Usher’s medley was decent – great choreography combined with solid, but not spectacular, vocals.

10. I’m sure the Twitter kids still waiting for their prom pics to come in the mail loved Kevin Harts’ bit with Kerry Washington, but am I the only one tired of his shtick? He’s the loud, annoying cousin you hope leaves the family cookout early but never does.

11. Did Busta Rhymes eat the entire Flipmode Squad? He’s got arms like a T-Rex now! And that outfit…

They should have never given y’all Twitter.

12. Remember when Ellen passed out pizza at the Oscars? Well, Chris Rock got the bright idea to pass out chicken n’ waffles. Live. On camera.

Let me clarify this for the learning impaired: BLACK FOLKS PASSED OUT BOXES OF CHICKEN ON TV.

I’m just gonna leave this right here:

13. Can someone explain to me the love for August Alsina? And you’d better not say that he’s “so real” or some such garbage. His performance with Cousin Chris and former enemy Trey Songz was a cool moment I guess. I just miss the days when R&B singers actually sang.

14. And speaking of singing, the Lionel Richie tribute was, as expected, a great nod to a pioneering artist. John Legend and Ledisi were exceptional but it was Yolanda Adams who, as she does every year, melted the stage down.

Richie then dropped some gems for young artists, reminding them that “soul is a feeling, not a color” and “talent is a God-given gift, not a category.” It’s a great lesson for artists as well as snoody fans – don’t be so quick to box artists in a made-up category. Talent is talent. Let an artist thrive without labels like “pure R&B” or “authentic rap.” Let’s just applaud talent, OK?

15. Did you know that Bow Wow is officially going by the name Shad now? Bow Wow is like the BET Benjamin Button – despite being 47 years old he still looks like his mom has to tie his shoes.

16. My favorite part of the night? The 90s R&B tribute! Troop! Color Me Badd! Silk! Yeah, a lot of ’em sounded out of breath 1 minute into their set but I didn’t care. By the time Silk hit the stage I was like:

17. BET President and annual party pooper Debra Lee led a touching tribute to civil-rights icons. She was joined by the ageless Phylicia Rashād (who was dressed like she’s now an adjunct professor at Hogwarts) for a moving salute to Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee. While I applaud their push to continue the legacy of civil rights, why does BET spend five minutes a year embracing black history while spending 365 days making money off ratchetness?

I mean, just an hour earlier they were passing out chicken to the audience for cheap laughs…

18. Robin Thicke hit the stage to perform “Forever Love,” the only decent song from his new tribute album to his (allegedly) estranged wife. Playas, it’s simple. Want to keep your lady happy? Treat her with respect and you won’t have to grovel on national TV to get her back. It’s been 10 years, clearly Ruben Studdard has taught us nothing. #ImSorryFor2014

19. Oh lord. It wouldn’t be the BET Awards without the yearly Nicki Minaj spectacle. Floyd Mayweather introduced the Best Female Hip Hop Artists of the Year award by saying, “The number of female MCs is expanding.” If that’s the case, why does BET only give two women airplay? Of course, Icki Garbaj wins her yearly default trophy, going on a looooooooong tangent about how she writes her own rhymes.

I bet Iggy Azalea was backstage with T.I. like:

But good for you Nicki, be proud of those trash rhymes you’ve been writing for years.

20. So all night, BET was making a huge deal about the closing performance from Jay-Z and Beyonce. This “closing performance” wound up being footage from their “On the Run” tour. So yes, BET closed out their biggest show of the year by playing a glorified YouTube clip. Ah, BET, you will never change.

There was at least one person excited, though. The wifey, who I hadn’t laid eyes on since about 7 p.m. Central Time, swooped in the room like Batman when the beat to “Partition” dropped. What kind of spell does Bey have on these women?

Well, at this point, the format for the BET Awards is shockingly predictable: A fun tribute to a legendary artist (Lionel, in this case), one standout performance (Usher), a fun throwback set (the 90s R&B group medley), some sort of historical tribute (the civil-rights nod) and a whole lot of foolishness in-between.

Chris Rock was a great host – his endless potshots at Rick Rawse were great – but he could only do so much. Trim two hours off this show and it could have been pretty good. At four hours (five if you were dumb enough to watch the preshow) it’s just too much of a bad thing.

YouTube the good stuff I mentioned above and skip the rest. Your brain cells will thank me later.


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