In My Write Mind
OK. By a show of hands, how many saw the under-hyped, seemingly non-relevant broadcast of the 19th Annual Soul Train Awards on Saturday night?
Yeah, didn't think so. In fact, for the past seven years or so, it's been soooo easy to miss this awards show, one produced by us for us. Ever since Biggie got shot, there has been no real promotion of the annual show that celebrates the best of the previous year in R&B, rap and gospel. They've buried it in between promos for Reba and 7th Heaven. It's become irrelevant. It's become low budget. It's become an afterthought. It's...become less hyped than the damn VIBE awards.
So, since I was home for a change on a Saturday night, I decided I would do the public service of keeping a running diary of the 19th Annual Soul Train Awards, which is no longer live thanks to the death that occurred eight years ago; which seems out of its element due to the actual singing that took place all night (as opposed to the usual lip synching that goes on during the weekly show); which lacked the real celebrity punch that it used to have. Used to be that going to the Soul Train Awards was THE thing to do. Now...not so much.
Anyways, without further ado, here we go! It's gonna be a long two hours. Sigh.
8:00PM--The familiar announcer with the baritone welcomes us to the Shrine Auditorium for the 19th Annual Soul Train Awards. And then he proceeds to do a roll call of just about every B-list black actor/musician alive. Wait, Usher's gonna be here? Oh damn. Ladies and gentlemen, we've just found out who's winning every award tonight.
8:03--Ciara performs her "hits", My Goodies and 1,2 Step. I've never really gotten a good look at her before tonight. Somebody told me before that she looked like a younger Wanda Sykes. *in my NFL referee voice* Upon further inspection, they are correct! All that's missing are the wack jokes, which are readily replaced by wack lyrics. By jove! They might be related!!!
8:08--We are joined on stage by the evening's hosts: Brian McKnight, Fantasia, Nick Cannon & *gulp* Nicole Richie. Joining me at this point of the viewing via chat is my blog-fiancee X. Here's our comments about Richie being a host on a black awards show:
X: She looks incredibly skinny. What did she do to lose all of that weight?!?!?
Me: She looks incredibly dark. What did they do to make her look black?!?!?
8:09--The first award of the evening: Best R&B Duo or Group Performance (presented by Mya and *insert working black actor's name here*.) The winner? Usher & Alicia Keys, My Boo. This is exactly when my theory that Don Cornelius paid Usher to be there and promised him every trophy kicks in. They were up against Destiny's Child for this award. Lose My Breath was infinitely better than that Boo drivel. So let's weigh it out. Beyonce n dem, not gonna be here. Usher, in da house. USHER WINS!!!!!
8:11--Second performance of the night. Nick Cannon and Anthony Hamilton doing an anti-abortion song called Can I Live. At some point, after throwing up in my mouth, I notice a bunch of kids running out on stage wearing Can I Live tee-shirts and clapping off-beat. *scribbling on a pad* So they bribe A-list celebs to come and pay off the hosts by promising they can perform. Nice. Seriously, though...when in da hell has Nick Cannon been relevant as a musician?!?!? He did a song with R. Kelly called Gigolo. THAT is the highlight of his music career. And then Don Cornelius (DC from here on out) allows him to go up there rapping incoherently? I now have a headache. The State rests, Your Honor.
8:16--Ahhh...The Sammy Davis, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award, Female. Remember a few years ago when there was a big stink raised because Ashanti was being honored with this "coveted" award? Remember when there threatened to be protests from people across the land, claiming she had no talent and her version of entertainment was limited at best? (Actually, it was the Aretha Franklin Lady of Soul Entertainer of the Year Award, but you will see where I'm going with this in a minute...OK?)
Well, due to that outcry back then, surely the criteria for such a prestigious award has been upgraded. Surely only the creme de la creme will be awarded with this symbol of excellence from now on. Surely only those who have name recognition, those who are all-around entertainers will walk on stage after seeing their accomplishments beamed onto the big video screen, humbly accept this award and exhale, knowing that their labor of the past 12 months is being aptly rewarded. Right? RIGHT?
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your 2005 SDJ Entertainer of the Year Award, Female...
I say, put your hands together for Ciara. *one clap*
Clearly, Rebbie Jackson was unavailable.
Seriously, though...how does Ciara get an award named after Sammy Davis, Jr.? What...does she have a glass eye?!?!? Here's X's take on the situation: No, no...Don Cornelius must've thought that 1,2 Step was about tap dancing.
Ah, that explains it. The world will now end.
8:24--The Coca Cola Classic R&B/Rap New Artist award, given out by Gary Dourdan (CSI) and Christina Milian (my new crushee). The nominees, you ask? Fantasia, John Legend, J-Kwon, Ciara. The winner? Ciara.
8:27--The announcer keeps hyping the fact that Usher is still in the building. LOL
8:29--Wait a dayum minute! They just showed a clip of John Legend performing A LIVE VERSION of Used To Love You on the weekly show. Is that even legal?!?!? Did he slip DC a mickey and bogart his way into the studio? I need to do research and see if that's happened before. EVER.
8:33--Fantasia performs the song Free Yourself, the title track from her CD. I cross my fingers and hope that she doesn't go into Baby Mama (just so we don't have to hear Kajuana scream)...Damn. No.such.luck. There she goes!
X: Wait, I thought you loved that song (singing about random things) B-a-t-h-t-u-b. LOL
*sigh* This is gonna be a long and trying cyber-marriage. LOL
8:39--Award for Best R&B Soul Single Male, presented by Kimora Lee Simmons and Steve Harris (The Practice). OK, first off, who paired these two? Kimora looks freakishly tall next to Harris, who's wearing a green turtleneck that dwarfs him even more. Next to her, he looks like one of the seven dwarfs. The singles nominated are Anthony Hamilton's Charlene, Mario's Let Me Love You, Prince's Call My Name and Usher's Confessions Pt. 2. The winner? Yup. Usher. This is obviously his night. LOL
8:44--Time to hand out the Sammy Davis, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award, Male. L.A. Reid is the presenter. Is there any wonder who the winner of this award is? Of course not. Ladies and germs, USHER! And you know what? I have no problem with this. Truly, he is the definition of the word ENTERTAINER. He had a great year. So what he cried like a baby when he didn't win more than three Grammy's last month. So what his escort is three feet taller than him. So what his performance with James Brown on the Grammycast was flatter than Amel Larrieux's ass. He deserved the award.
*dozing off as Usher thanks his 3rd grade art teacher*
8:52--Wait? Am I reading the screen correctly? Yup. It's time for the Michael Jackson Award for Best R&B Soul or Rap Video, presented by ANTM's Eva and the weekly Soul Train host Dorian Gregory. Which leads me to ask, does anyone even WATCH Soul Train anymore?!?! I don't even know when it comes on. And why do they only hire light-skinned brothers to host the show now? Seriously...am I six years too late to put in my application?!?!? DAMMIT. We need to do a CSI episode on this. Soon.
X: I'm on it. I'm researching for my very own E! True Hollywood Story: The Rise and Fall of Soul Train. Coming soon to a blog near you.
Oh, and Jay-Z won the award, by the way. For 99 Problems. HIT ME!!! LOL
8:54--Anthony Hamilton performs his hit Charlene. Lemme just say that Charlene must've been 4 foot 2, because bruhman is no more than 5 feet zero. Yeesh.
8:55--As Ant croons, this seems like as good a time as any to mention how much I despise pre-taped black awards shows. The horrible splicing, the canned applause...just ridiculous. And you see it on all of em--Essence Awards, NAACP Image Awards, VIBE, Source, BET...whomever is editing these shows needs to be fired. STAT!
8:57--Apparently, Charlene is baptist. Why else would Ant be turning this into a gospel song?
8:58--End of the first hour of the show and our 2,586th commercial promoting Beauty Shop. Someone texted me the other day offering me two tickets to see a screening of this movie. Which I thought was cool...I'm always down with seeing a movie before it's officially and auspiciously released. However, upon scrolling down the text message, it revealed the caviat--the person wanted $20 for the tickets. To a screening. Of BEAUTY SHOP. Which leads me to wonder what kind of fool she took me for. A deluxe one, apparently. LOL
9:00--Reminder: The 19th Annual Soul Train Awards are sponsored by SKEET-GUARD; the Cadillac & GMC Denali; Ribs R Us; Soft Sheen Products; and McDonald's.
9:01--Best R&B Soul Single Female, presented by Aisha Tyler (CSI) and Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami). The nominees? Jill Scott, Golden; Beyonce, Naughty Girl; Ciara, My Goodies; Alicia Keys, If I Ain't Got You. The winner? Alicia. Apparently, she was informed well in advance of her victory, since she taped an acceptance speech. *yawn*
9:03--Commercial break. They show a clip from Mario's appearance of the weekly show from earlier this year, confirming that somewhere in America, Soul Train still comes on. LOL Is it just me...or does Mario look like Chris Rock's younger brother? I'm just sayin...
9:04--I know, I know. Sprite's Thirst character is a rip-off of Nike's Lil Penny from back in the day...you know, when Penny Hardaway still existed on the NBA map. But still...Thirst, who started out as LeBron's sidekick and is now on his own...I like him. Well, I don't hate him. How's that?
9:05--Performance by J-Kwon and Petey Pablo. And some group called Ebony Eyes. What.the.hell.ever. This is some horrible shit. I really wanted to give him a pass, but Petey leaves me no choice. Not only did he rap over the track of himself rapping during Ciara's mess of a performance, but now...he's doing it AGAIN!!! Boo you Petey, and the cornrows you rode in on. Blecch.
9:11--The obligatory Best Gospel Album award is presented by Keenan Thompson (Fat Albert, SNL), Charles Divins (???) and Tweet (my dreams). Psst...by the way, Tweet's new CD, It's Me Again, will be out this Tuesday, March 22nd. Have I stated how much I love this woman? In fact, my birthday is coming up soon (August 17th); it would be GREAT if someone got this CD for me upon its release. Anyone? Anyone? I will send my shipping address to anyone who's interested. LOL
Oh yeah. The winner of this award was Israel & Nu Breed. He got up on stage and summed up my thoughts in a nutshell: "I know you guys are thinking, Who the heck is this guy?" Exactly.
9:15--The 2005 Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement, Male...presented by Martin Lawrence. The winner? Ice Cube. We'll get back to him in a second. Right now, let's list some of the reasons why P. Diddy will NEVER give out one of these awards:
9:17--Back to Cube. Absolutely GREAT career. To come from N.W.A. to xXx. From a jheri curl to Barbershop. TWENTY FREAKIN YEARS in the business. AND he has a black wife! YEAH-YAYEEEEEAHHHHH!
9:23--Ahhh...the Soul Train dancers. The absolute reason people still watch the weekly series, whoever they are. What? Is it the host?!?!? Surely you jest. It's the dancers. Period. Last week, while in Memphis, we went to tour the Staxx Records Museum. Great place. Luminaries like Isaac Hayes, the Bar-Kays, the Staples Singers, Otis Redding, et al. Anyways, on one of the monitors in the museum, there was an old episode of Soul Train. Those people were getting DOWN! Afros, bellbottoms, butterfly collars--IT WAS GREAT!!! It was a stone gas, honey! LOL
9:26--The Sprite Best R&B Soul Rap Dance Cut, presented by Kyla Pratt and BoyzIIMen. The winner? *yawn* Usher. For the song, Yeah. At this point, Usher is thanking his boyhood dentist and the guy at Foot Locker who sold him his first pair of Jordan's.
9:30--The 6,944th promo for Steve Harvey's Big Time, featuring the dude who's shooting a marshmallow out of his nose, across the stage, off of the key grip, around the lead gaffer, and into the waiting MOUTH of his partner.
*waiting for that to sink in*
Ahhh, Steve Harvey's Big Time. Good times.
9:33--Karen & Kiki Sheard perform. Mother and daughter. Nice. Wait, they made Jill Scott's He Loves Me into a gospel record. *in the girl from When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong's voice* I don't like when people play on my Jill! Hold on!!! They just did a rap within the song. I'm speechless. And ummmm...about their outfits? Clearly, Sears is missing some matching drapes. Holy holy, Batman. Since when did gospel singers have back up hip hop dancers?!?!? I think it's telling that I'm running out of steam at this point since none of this phases me in the least.
9:38--Best R&B Soul Album, Duo or Group, presented by Paula Abdul and B5. It's a wonder they all were available. Boy, if DC was thinking, he could've just had me and my cousins up there and it would've been an equal amount of non-talent for less money. LOL Destiny's Child won for Destiny Fulfilled. Personally, I think Michelle put them over the top. Listening to her sing made the album more of an R&B Soul COMEDY album. Who can lose when an album has all of that?!?!?!?
9:41--Best R&B Soul Album, Male, presented by George O. Gore II (My Wife and Kids) and J-Mans (???). The winner? Usher. Again. Wait, he just thanked his big toes for keeping him balanced all these years. What a guy.
9:47--Brian McKnight performs. Like he's the headliner. LOL Then I look at his co-hosts...and I realize that he really is. Yeesh. His is a weird career, isn't it? Very good singer. More than above average. Solid discography. Probably lost some fans when it came out that he beat his significant other. But he's never mentioned in a conversation about the greatest singers of this generation. I asked X whether she thought Brian should be mentioned among the greatest. Here's what she said: Absolutely. I can understand the question, and I'm not a huge fan but I've listened to some of his less commercial ballads--the range, the control...I say YES.
Case closed. Brian McKnight gets his star on the Walk of Fame between Doogie Howser and Ciara.
9:52--The final award of the evening--Best R&B Soul Album Female, presented by the group I've been banned to speak about (rhymes with Few Credition) and that Israel dude. The winner? Alicia Keys, Diary of Alicia Keys. Another pre-taped acceptance speech. I'm watching her speak and then realize that I'm staring. She's a stunningly beautiful woman. And talented out the ass. Uh oh. I think I feel another crush forming. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just an admiration for her talents and abilities. Yeah. Maybe that's it. No.more.crushes. LOL
9:58--The show wraps up. They finally sedate Nick Cannon, who's been running around all night, hopped up on the attention and TV time he's been given; Nicole Richie, the only one of the hosts that didn't perform, still looks lost in a room full of black people; Fantasia does what Fantasia does, removing her shoes immediately, if not sooner; and Brian, trying to remain cool and doing what Brian McKnight does...open up his shirt to reveal a bird chest, thus reminding me why he's never been mentioned as one of the greats...
Overall, a horrible show. From the editing to the Petey Pablo and Nick Cannon performances, just second rate all the way. However, all is not lost. We can save this show and rebuild it. We can make it THE place to be for A-list celebs once again. We can restore the lustre (as well as distribute LustraSilk products) that was once there on the long-in-the-tooth awards show. We can return it to its prominence.
And I dare DC to call me so we can discuss it.
And until he does, I will have to boycott the weekly show as well as all future Lady of Soul, Men of Gospel, Children of the Corn Soul Train entries. At least until they're better.
I truly hope you guys appreciate what I did for you, staying home on a Saturday night, taking one for the team, watching this crud. Me...and Usher. And I must be brainwashed or some shit. Suddenly, I have the desire to purchase Ciara's CD and learn the damned 1,2 Step.
Somebody shoot me now. Sigh.
scribbled by Will at 3/20/2005 12:05:00 PM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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