BET Awards: More Than Exceptional Entertainment

The BET Awards began in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television Network. Its purpose is to honor African Americans and other minorities for their contributions to the entertainment industry. The 2017 BET Awards was a stunning spectacle. The captivating performances, moving speeches, and interesting fashion displays made this a thoroughly enjoyable event. However, the show wasn’t without flaws. The technical difficulties, personal beefs, and confrontations added imperfections to an otherwise excellent event.

The ceremony contained an extensive list of awards. The 2017 Coca Cola Viewers’ Choice Award presented to Beyoncé is one of the most notable. Chloe and Halle delivered her short but meaningful speech on her behalf, because she couldn’t be there in person. Chance the Rapper won “best new artist” and “the humanitarian award.” He received the latter for donating one million dollars to Chicago public schools.

Michelle Obama presented it to him via video message:

Chance appeared surprised. He stated that it felt “early” to receive the award, because he’s so young. However, he said that “his God doesn’t make mistakes.” The award will serve as inspiration for him to continue humanitarian work outside of Chicago as he plans to travel to foreign nations and help people all over the world.

Chance also discusses some political and social issues in his speech.

He urges the government to release people who are in prison for selling weed. This is because, “they are making it legal and letting people gain capitol from it.” Another political issue arises when he talks about the Chicago public school system. He tells them “not to take out a loan from Chase Bank when they know their schools are planning on failing in their district.” Lastly, he urges judges to make a conviction on police brutality cases.

Chance wasn’t the only one to mention police brutality. According to Time Entertainment, the cast of the upcoming Detroit asked for a moment of silence to remember Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and many others lost to police- related violence.

Chance’s words are a powerful call to action to members of the government but also to those of the public. Anyone can follow Chance’s example and contribute to social activism.

Other awards included “Best Male R and B Pop Artist” and “Video of the Year”, both given to Bruno Mars. Sorry received “Viewers’ Choice”, Migos received “Best Group”, and Kendrick Lamar got “Best Male Hip Hop Artist”. Remy Ma was awarded “Best Female Hip Hop Artist”, Taraju Henson was named “Best Actress”, and Mahershala Ali received the “Best Actor” award.

One of the most memorable performances was Bruno’s Perm:

During his performance, he calls out the audience for not bringing enough energy (3:53). He said he wants them to be “all the way live” and that they can’t “film and dance at the same time.” He asks, “Ya know they film it, right?”

I completely agree with his point.

So many people at music events view the whole thing through their phones! Enjoy the concert live! Let the professionals film!

You paid to be here, to experience the show in the full color and detail that only your full presence can offer.

While the ceremony had strengths, it also had weaknesses.

Some are seen in the fashion. Most of the fashion displays were tasteful, but others were just strange. Kay Graham’s figure eight cutout dress and Dascha Polanco’s jacket with the enormous white ruffle are examples. Jada Smith’s blindingly shiny gown with a built- in choker raised more bewilderment than awe.

According to Cady Lang at Time Entertainment, the show encountered other obstacles: These include the technical difficulties that forced SZA to restart her performance and the incorrect announcing of Issa Rae as Yara Shahidi. There was also an awkward lack of transition between New Edition’s accepting of their award and the beginning of their performance. Lastly, the show had some performances that Cady describes as subpar or not very memorable. Trey Songz’ performances of “Nobody Else But You” and “Animal” are examples.

Another bump in the show’s smooth ride was evident when Remy Ma accepted her award. While on stage, Remy made a quick rap about Nicki and then stated, “…that crown is coming back to the Bronx.” Remy received mixed reactions from the crowd. Remy and Nicki’s feud has lasted for ten years. Both artists have taken subtle shots at each other throughout their various albums. According to Spanos at the Rolling Stone, Nicki won the highest award in the female hip hop category for the past seven years. Therefore, this ceremony was quite the transition.

The most notable issues related to the ceremony were the confrontations.

During an interview, DJ Akademiks asked Takeoff about his role in Bad and Boujee. He points out repeatedly that he was left off their biggest single. Angrily, Takeoff denied the claims. Co- interviewer Joe Budden, upset by the exchange and with the interview itself, declared the interview to be over. When he suddenly dropped his microphone and stormed off, the Migos followed. This led to a verbal altercation accompanied by pushing and shoving:

The other major issue happened in downtown Los Angeles. Allegedly, a member of Chris Brown’s entourage gave Quavo of the Migos a shove, leading to a mass confrontation. Footage shows a pretty massive fight that dragged both Future and DJ Khaled into the mix. Thanks to two of his friends, Chris managed to stay out of the fight:

Overall, the BET Awards was exceptional.

The engaging performances and moving speeches contained within more than make up for the mishaps. This ceremony is powerful social awareness and significant, relevant messages. More than anything, it’s a meaningful tribute to the many performers who give their lives and talents to the entertainment industry every day.

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