If you didn’t know, the 2015 BET Awards aired lived last night from Los Angeles, CA. I must say it was probably the best BET Awards I have seen in a LONG time, so if you are one of those people who has given up tuning in every summer for this event, you may want to reconsider and catch a re-run! But even if you don’t plan to actually watch, have no fear because here are the top moments from last night’s show:
Ridiculously talented rapper Kendrick Lamar opened the BET Awards with “Alright” from his recent album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” The stage was set up with graffitied cop cars and a large, shredded American flag along with some pretty live back up dancers also waving tattered American flags. His set provided strong symbolism to the #blacklivesmatter movement, sparked by recent police brutality against young black men. His lyrics offered some source of motivation and inspiration during these times as he rapped:
When my pride was low, lookin’ at the world like, “where do we go, nigga?”
And we hate Popo, wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga…. but we gon’ be alright”
Janelle Monae is like a freak of nature. She is just the epitome of black beauty, and her all white set seemed to enhance that melanin even more! The singer performed her new single “Yoga” and busted out some pretty sexy dance moves for our viewing pleasure. And then the mood completely changed as we were introduced to Jidenna, a music artist signed to Janelle’s Wondaland Records. He completely stole our hearts in his very dapper suit as he performed “Classic Man”, accompanied by other well dressed black men holding signs that read “I’m a Classic Man.” It was such a great image to see, dozen of young black men dressed to the nine’s and shaking that stereotypical image.
3. THE WEEKND FT. ALICIA KEYS
It was such a pleasant surprise to see The Weeknd take the stage to perform “Hills Have Eyes.” I loved his new energy and style that he brought to the stage, he diversified the line-up in a great way. But that’s not all of course. Leave it to BET to throw in a surprise! None other than Alicia Keys was then revealed at her throne aka piano and sang a cover of The Weeknd’s “Earned It.” Believe it or not it was actually a pretty great duet and made for one helluva performance.
4. SAM SMITH WINS BEST NEW ARTIST
This year’s category for best new artists contained artists Bobby Shmurda, Dej Loaf, Fetty Wap, Rae Sremmurd, and Sam Smith. Now at the reveal of the nominees I new exactly who deserved it, but I was quite confident it wasn’t going to go to him…. him being Sam. But what do you know? BET fooled me! Now this is nothing against the other nominees, I particularly like songs from all of them, but I appreciate the hell out of Sam Smith and his artistry. His has developed an amazing body of work and unfortunately for me the others… well they are good for a tune here or there but content wise (speaking musically) that award went to the right person
Host Anthony Anderson decided to pick fun at Sam’s absence at the BET awards saying: “Sam isn’t here because he’s white”, dressed in a pretty hilarious Sam Smith costume.
5. BAD BOY RETURNS
One thing most people love about the BET awards is they always have some kind of reunion that sets the crowd on fire and takes us all to those ‘back in the day’ times. Well this year they surely did not disappoint with the return of Bad Boy. Diddy came out strong followed by Ma$e, Lil’ Kim, Faith Evans, and Pharrell Williams among others. I LOVED seeing them all come back and perform the oldies like “All About The Benjamins” and Faith’s “Love Like This.” I could have done for a better Biggy section, I was literally waiting on that but maybe it’s best not to touch the great Christopher Wallace.
But in the midst of all of our jamming, little did we know Diddy actually fell! It was almost like a flawless death drop the way he just disappeared from the camera frame and popped back up. Its ok Diddy, we fall down but we get up!
6. SMOKEY ROBINSON WINS ‘LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD’
The amazing singer and hit maker Somkey Robinson was honored with the lifetime achievement award with dedicated vocals by Tori Kelly, Robin Thicke, and Ne-Yo. Can I just say that Tori SANG HER FACE?! Ugh, I was so proud to see her on the BET stage doing her thing. Robin Thicke also did amazing with his crazy falsetto on “Ooh Baby Baby.” Smokey accepted his award with a pretty lengthy but motivational speech targeted towards the ego of the modern entertainer. I appreciated him sharing those words of wisdom.
While presenting the Centric award alongside Monica, singer Keyshia Cole (decked out in blue from head to toe literally) decided to announce that her album is being released independently in a very shameless plug. And then after the winner was announced, she mentioned it just one more time in case we were to busy wondering why she was wearing so much blue and not listening the first time. Well of course Twitter blue up with viewers clearly annoyed with the singer’s adamant means of advertising. Sorry I keep mentioning the blue but really… where were there so much of it Keshia?!
8. EMPIRE CAST PERFORMANCE
The cast from Empire, Yazz, Jussie Smollet and Serayah performed their popular songs “No Apologies”, “Drip Drop”, and “You’re So Beautiful” from the television series. This is the second time I’ve seen the cast members perform on a awards show, so kudos to them for being able to transcend their roles as actors and become actual musicians. I think Yazz has great stage presence so I was quite excited to see him, and then Jussie just stole the show with a moving few words embracing both the #blacklivesmatter movement and gay pride. He then proceeded to break it down with some dances moves on the part of “You’re So Beautiful” which says:
This the kind of song that makes a man love a man
Like the elephant in the room, male homosexuality was brought to the table and I loved it. As uncomfortable it may have been for some, similar to Jamal’s performance of the song on the tv show, it was a great moment for black tv and for BET as a network.
9. UNDERWHELMING JANET JACKSON TRIBUTE
Pretty much everyone was waiting for the Janet tribute, expecting it to be so amazing and mind blowing. To me the Smokey Robinson tribute outshined hers by a landslide and here’s why: First of all the talents honoring her were Jason Derulo, Tinashe, and Ciara. All of them are pretty good dancers so I expected that aspect of the show to be great and it was. BUT NONE OF THEM SANG AT ALL. It was just strange to me, the whole time I was waiting for someone to start singing but all they did was dance! Yes, Janet is an amazing dancer and has lended influence to that artistry field, but to not have anyone sing almost took away from the fact that she is primarily the singer Janet Jackson. This part could have been way better in my opinion, for the legend she is she did not get the tribute she deserved.
10. K MICHELLE & TAMAR BRAXTON KISS AND MAKE-UP
After a pretty severe social media beef, K. Michelle and Tamar Braxton officially settled the score as they performed together at the BET awards. K went first, dressed in a revealing leotard, singing her single “Hard To Do”. Now, personally I feel like her performance just brought the class level of the awards down just a tad. The whole show up until this point had been a great display of talent, but when she performed I felt like she was trying to take us back to the years when the BET awards were actually crappy. And then Tamar comes out and decides to just literally scream her whole song, much to my discomfort. Both singers have interesting voices and I don’t think I liked them together. Then just when I thought it couldn’t get worse they began singing “If Only You Knew” by Patti Labelle. But thank God Patti actually came out and saved the day and most importantly that performance!
11. NICKI MINAJ FORGETS WHAT AWARD SHE’S WON
BET Awards favorite Nicki Minaj is always a guaranteed trophy-holder every year, but this year on her second win she completely forgot what award she was getting! Now I love Nicki Minaj but I personally felt just a little offended by her lapse in judgement. There are struggling artists out there who would die to have that opportunity and the moment you have it, no matter how many times you’ve had it in the past, you disrespect a network and it’s voting committee and what it means to be recognized as an artist. I just wished she would have been a bit more humble and accepted the award regardless. I mean we know you have a lot of accolades, but it doesn’t hurt to always be grateful because some people don’t even have a following as close as hers.
12. TRACEE ELLIS ROSS AND ANYTHONY ANDERSON HOST
I purposely saved the best for last. I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED these two as hosts. They are both ridiculously comedic and I thought they had the perfect chemistry which was already established in their husband and wife role on “Blackish”. Great job to them both!