In My Write Mind
The best and the brightest of black entertainment. That's what we were promised. This coming from BET, home of College Hill and a group named Fatty Koo. Sigh. So needless to say, I wasn't ready. Sure I was ready to smirk, yawn and skewer the night's festivities, all from the comfort of my living room--Red Stripe in one hand, remote in the other.
However, I truly wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. I admit it. But just as with last year's VIBE Awards and this spring's Soul Train Awards shows, I had to do it. Had to take one for the blogging team. So, in case you missed it (and of course you did... I have to be the only nut who watched the entire show...lol), below is my running diary of the 2005 BET Awards. Ready... or not. LOL
7:58PM EST -- The Kodak Theater, Los Angeles, California. We've just endured a two-hour pre-show that introduced us to some rapper named Webbie and touted Diddy's latest groups as the second coming of the Jackson 5ive and the Lost Boyz, respectively. Sigh. I won't start on Puff, but I'm ready for the show to start. Bottle opener? Check. One-liners? Check. Partners-in-crime? Well, my usual partner is M.I.A., so I've recruited replacements. A nucca got a network. LOL So throughout the evening, you will hear from my Harlem comrade Sunshine (Shine) and my intern from work, who will be hereby referred to as The Intern. She loves that. LOL
Let the show begin!!!
8:00PM -- Whoa! Is this...could it be...holy crap...it's THE FUGEES!!! In their first TV performance in years. And boy did we get a show. It was like a friggin mini-concert.
Thoughts going through my head as I watched their performance: "Ready or Not"... that's my joint. Hey, there's Wyclef... he cut off his dreads since his appearance as a drug kingpin on Third Watch. Good for him. Heyyyyy...there's Pras. It's been too long since we've seen this cat. All I can think is, what has he been up to? When is his next movie? Is the reason he's still in the group because he has the only copy of a Clef-Lauryn Hill sex tape and he's blackmailing them? *smh* Wow... is that Lauryn or Helen Willis?!?!? Lauryn is, at most 85 pounds and looking winded and stressed. That wig is atrocious. Wait...I can't see her body because it's covered by that big ass bow. Damn. But it's Lauryn, right? I mean, we have to cut her some slack because she's going through some things, right? We should just be glad she's back, right? Wait, it's 8:07 and they're still on. Clearly, they're on longer than they're supposed to be. Is this three songs...in their entirety? Awww...now there's the Lauryn I know... she finally caught her breath. Killing Me Softly indeed. Go Fugees. No, I mean it. Beat it... you've been on for 12 minutes. Yeesh.
8:12 -- The announcer starts rattling off the names of those who are in attendance for tonight's show. I swear the only black people who weren't there were in New York at the NBA Draft. Seriously, if anyone wanted to take out a good chunk of the African-American population (and Teena Marie...lol), this would be the time and place. It's scary.
8:15 -- Drums, drums and more drums. I'm loving it. Hey, this looks like the wedding scene from Coming to America. LOL@ the horse and carriage with spinners. Funny stuff. Ladies and Gentlemen, Will and Jada. They look great, like a happy couple. Here's their rules for the evening:
1) no posses crowding the stage when only one person won the award. They imposed a three-posse-member minimum. LOl
2) no loud suits or gold goblets (why did they single out Bishop Don Magic Juan?)
3) Don't thank God if you can't sing your song in church (Clearly, God will NOT be thanked at all tonight...LOL)
8:21 -- The first award of the night, this one for BEST GROUP, presented by Halle Berry. She gives a speech about great actors always being professional and remembering their lines. Then she messes up on purpose... or so she says. I'm still not convinced about Halle's acting chops. But I digress. The winner for BEST GROUP is Destiny's Child. I'm sure you've heard by now that they are breaking up. They had a press conference and everything. Great.
8:24 -- First commercial break of the night. You'll be happy to know that the 2005 BET Awards are sponsored by Cadillac, G-Unit sneakers and Red Lobster. Cars, sneakers and seafood. Ahhh, they done hit the black people target with these right here. I will now shuffle off to the kitchen for a slice of watermelon. Be right back.
8:29 -- The first of four skits playing off the title "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." It shows Will & Jada sitting with a faux fireplace in the background, being interviewed by an off-camera reporter. Good stuff.
8:31 -- The obligatory Missy Elliott performance of her new song, "Lose Control." The dancers are on point as usual, with Missy, as she has with recent performances, including young kids getting their freak on, or in the case, losing control. Not bad. But then it got bad. Really bad. The performance fell off the cliff when, for no known reason, Fat Man Scoop... removed his shirt. Red Stripe everywhere. Seriously, I had to pause the TiVo so I could recover and clean up the fallen suds. The performance was over, but the trauma remains.
8:35 -- Still traumatized, trying to decipher what presenters Terrance Howard and Eva Pigford are saying. Is there anything worse than the forced banter that takes place when two people who clearly just met go on stage trying to say something slick? That has to be the worst job in the world, having to write lines for those instances. You may say harmless banter, I say I'd rather root canal. Oy. Anyway, they're presenting the award for BEST FEMALE R&B. And the winner is... Alicia Keys. Upon winning, Ms. Keys reminded the audience not to let "whitey" hold us down and control our creativity. She then went to the bank to cash her latest check from Clive Davis. Pots and kettles are dancing in my head. Sigh.
8:38 -- Wait. I must let you know that, on this year's BET Awards, even the sponsors have awards. Soooo... to be fair, the winner of the Pantene Beautiful Skin Award is Ciara. The winner of the Crest Pretty Smile Award is Christina Milian. And the winner of the Oil of Olay Flawless Skin Award is Jada Pinkett-Smith. I will now go update their resumes.
8:42 -- The Game is performing his song, "Dreams." Boring. Then he goes into the song "Hate It or Love It" featuring Mary J. Blige. Awful. Let's be clear: Mary has never been able to sing. But lately, she's like the athlete whose skills have just eroded beyond comprehension. Just horrible. You feel embarrassed for her every time she opens her mouth. Time.to.retire.the.mic.
8:51 -- Nelly and Gabrielle Union present the BEST NEW ARTIST award. The winner? John Legend. He deserved the award. But ummm...he looks terrified on the stage. Like he just feels out of place. He won the award that Kanye West won last year, and acknowledged that fact. Still, his presence is shaky when he has to speak. I'm thinking he may need a piano in front of him during interviews. Let's keep an eye on this...
8:55 -- During the second installment of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," the Intern sends the following text message: How are you enjoying the spectacle that is the BET Awards? I can't wait to see what you write about this one... I reply that the show has had its moments and that Will & Jada have been solid thus far. I like them. Intern: How could you not enjoy them? They're the wholesome blacknesses...LOL (Yup...she just said "blacknesses." And yes...we pay her. Sigh.)
8:56 -- Destiny's Child performs their song, "Cater 2 U." This is where the show turned for me. Turned from marginally good to WOW, I'M GLAD I TiVOed THIS!!!! good. Ummm...Beyonce, Kelly and the Fall Girl went down into the audience and brought up three guys (for the record, they were Magic Johnson, Nelly and Terrance Howard) and GAVE THEM LAPDANCES!!!!! I just shed a jealous tear into my beer. Sigh. And oh yeah, I'm glad I TiVoed this. Woo hoooo!
9:02 -- Tom Cruise bounds on stage to present the BEST ACTOR award. So let's see...Tom did a movie last year with Jamie Foxx and Jada called Collateral. Tom is on BET giving out an award for Best Actor. Hmmmmm...you think maybe JAMIE FOXX is gonna win?!?!?!? Well, if you guessed Jamie, you are correct. Gold star for you.
9:08 -- Performance by John Legend, who sings "Ordinary People." Well, part of it. Because then the lights come up... and sitting across from John is Stevie Wonder... "helping" him sing the song. If that weren't enough, then they bust out into Stevie's "My Cherie Amour." I'm just gonna say this... I can feel the whole old and new concept that BET's got going, but it just feels forced. Unnecessary. This from the Intern: I just fell in love with John Legend a little bit. Me: Wait... John Legend is performing? I was still rewinding the Beyonce lapdance...oops.
9:13 -- Queen Latifah and Anthony Anderson come out the present the BEST MALE R&B award. In keeping with the reunion theme (see Fugees, The), the cast from Set It Off (Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise and Jada) comes on stage, accosting Anderson of his jewelry, shoes, etc. It would've been a great bit, except...well, lemme let Sunshine say it: I hate Vivica. She always gotta be so damn extra. That pretty much sums up my thoughts. Let's move on, shall we? Oh. Usher won. lol
9: 21 -- "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," Part 3. That is all.
9:22 -- T.I. performs his song, "Bring Em Out." With Sheila E. This should be categorized as "When Putting Old & New Together...Goes Wrong." It's so bad, when they take random shots of the crowd, I notice Michael Jordan's ugly pimp suit, strategically-placed hoochies that are there just to appear interested in T.I., and a dude carrying a man-purse. With matching hat. Yeah...time to go get another beer.
9:27 -- Mario, Amerie and Nick Cannon present the award for BEST MALE HIP HOP. The winner is Kanye West, who's not in attendance this evening. On another note, in keeping in true Usher-in-training mode, Mario is wearing really big shades. Nice.
9:29 -- Reunions, anyone? I swear I think the cast from Saved by the Bell is coming up next. This time, it's the Wu-Tang Clan, giving an incoherent tribute to rapper Old Dirty Bastard. The highlight of the two-minute drill is Wu-Tang #3 (who knows names after three and a half beers?) saying, "We thank y'all for y'all condolences." Burp.
9:31 -- Commercial break. Wait, here's the trailer for 50 Cent's new movie... or as the commercial put it, 50CurtisJacksonCent's new movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin'. If I had to sit through that movie, I'd be trying to get drunk or die tryin'.
9:34 -- Henry Simmons (Shine: I lubbbbbbbbbbbbbbb himmmmmmmmmmmm) and Megan Good (Me: Wait, she's legal now, right? I lubbbbbbbbbbbbb herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) present the award for BEST ACTRESS. The winner, for her role in RAY (or was it for Miss Congeniality 2?) is Regina King. I'm beginning to wonder if there were any other movies out last year besides RAY? I mean, it was a good film but damn. I'm just sayin...
9:35 -- Mariah Carey bounces on stage singing, "We Belong Together." She did a much better job of it on the MTV Movie Awards two weeks ago. She struggled through it, like she was sick or something. She looked visibly relieved to get through it. My bladder was relieved once she was done. I know, I know...TMI. "Let it out, let it out." LOL
9:44 -- Tito Jackson. Thanking black America for supporting his family. A truly awkward moment...especially when he came out and said, Hey. It's me. Tito Jackson.
9:45 -- It's time for the BET LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT award with this year's recipient, Gladys Knight, actually in attendance. Steve Harvey, as he always does, handles this part of the show. He gave a shout out to all the black men that had on suits. LOL Gladys looks great. Lubb me some her. Faith Evans comes out for the first portion of the tribute, singing "Love Overboard." Good stuff. Then comes Toni Braxton, who LOOKS great. Her singing? Live? Nah, bro. Can't understand her to save my life. I THINK she's singing, "Don't Stay Away." Gotta go by the melody since her voice is indecipherable. Yeesh. I never knew how short Toni was until Faith came back out, all 5 foot 3 of her, and dwarfed Toni like she was a little kid. Toni will heretofore be referred to as Tini Braxton. Make a note of that. Then comes Alicia Keys to present the award. The thing I love about Alicia is that she truly sounds honored to be in the presence of greatness... she seems humble. The thing I can't stand about Alicia is that she doesn't know when to stop talking. Ever. Shut up.
Gladys Knight. I love her. For real. She can sing to me alllll day and night. Over 50 years of great music. With her. And the Pips. She's still doing her thing in Vegas. Every time I go there, she's headlining somewhere. And every chance I get, I go and see her show. Her throaty vocals get to me. So much so that I forgive her for remaking "End of the Road." See how forgiving I am? LOL Tonight, she belts out three of my favorites: "If I Were Your Woman," "Neither One of Us," and "Midnight Train to Georgia." This... is the absolute best part of the show.
10:07 -- Before going to commercial, BET promises us more Helen Willis (Lauryn Hill)! I cringe and anxiously await this at the same time...is that even possible? Clearly I need to eat something.
10:08 -- Commercial trailer for a new movie called Four Brothers. It stars Marky Mark, Tyrese and Andre 3000. As brothers. Yes, you read that right. Oh, and Terrance Howard is in this movie as well. He's also in the 50CurtisJacksonCent movie. And his own joint called Hustle and Flow. It's official. He's in every movie this summer.
10:11 -- Isiah Washington presents a tribute to the late, great Ossie Davis. Shine: Wait...that was whole tribute? Me: What, did you want dancing girls and a rap by Spike Lee?
10:17 -- Omarion performed, "O." Y?
10:22 -- Reunion alert: This time, the cast from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. With Aunt Viv #2. Upon hearing Will tell James Avery aka Uncle Phil to leave Viv alone since he has his own wife, Shine chimes in: Isn't he gay? (Yes, these are the people I hang out with. LOL) They presented the award for BEST MALE ATHLETE. The winner is Shaquille O'Neal. (sorry, Humanity Critic.)
10:26 -- Tye Tribbett and Fantasia. A whole lotta jumping around and screaming. Good times. They just did another pan of the audience. Hey look...it's Lil Mo. I now know why that name fits her so well. Because every time we see her, she seems to weigh a "lil' mo'..." Yeesh.
10:31 -- Another promo telling us that Helen is coming up soon... and that we don't want to miss it. They call it unforgettable. I call this a tease of stripper proportions.
10:35 -- Bob Johnson, chairman of the board at BET, comes on stage acting like a man who feels noooo pressure. Isn't that always the way it is when we're about to leave a job? More friendly than usual, loose, full of energy? That's how Bob was, standing there asking Beyonce for lapdances. It was a sight to behold. Tonight, Bob is handing over the reins of the company to Debra Lee, who's been his second-in-command for years. She reminds us that BET's 25th Anniversary Special will be back at the Kodak in November. I'd like to remind Debra that she should probably keep that to herself. I mean, that's a great accomplishment, but when you think about the fact that some of those years were filled by CITA'S WORLD, College Hill, reruns of Sparks and the hiring of Ray J, we need to keep it all in perspective, maybe act like THOSE years didn't happen. So ummm...Happy 18th anniversary, BET. LOL
10:40 -- The 2005 BET HUMANITARIAN AWARD goes to Denzel and Pauletta Washington for their work with various agencies and organizations throughout the years. The award was presented by Butch Lewis, who proved what type of humanitarian he is by actually wearing a shirt. Thank you, Butch.
10:49 -- In rapid succession, Serena Williams was named BEST FEMALE ATHLETE and Ciara performed. Love Serena. Not so sure about Ciara. I don't hate her, but there's something about her, during every performance, that just screams to me WACK! Even the appearance of Ludacris didn't save the performance for me. Sigh. Forgive me, brother Panama.
10:53 -- Michael Ealy and Magic Johnson present the award for BEST GOSPEL ARTIST. The winner of THAT award was Donnie McLurkin, but ummmm...I anoint CeCe Winans with the PRETTIEST GOSPEL SINGER award. I lubb that woman.
10:55 -- Judge Joe Mathis does tribute to the late, brilliant Johnnie Cochran. I think I just wiped a tear away. Oh no, wait...that was just some drool residue left over from the Beyonce portion of the show. We may now continue.
10:57 -- Coming up!!! HELEN WILLIS!!! STAY TUNED!!!
10:58 -- The umpteenth commercial for BET's fall programming, this one "Ultimate Hustler: The Blueprint to Getting Paper." Hosted (?) by Damon Dash. I will now go place a push pin in my pinky toe.
11:00 -- Fat Joe and Remy Martin present the award for BEST COLLABORATION, but not before Joe tells an excited and scantily clad Remy that she won the award for BEST FEMALE HIP HOP. Clearly that was an award that was left out of the night's script. You can just hear the producers in the control room going, OH CRAP! We missed one. WE MISSED ONE!!!!!! Shame. Oh, and Ciara featuring Missy won the COLLABO award for "1,2 Step." And ummmm...now playing the role of Edward Scissorhands is Missy Elliott. Yikes. She looks crazy. Hairdo and all.
11:04 -- Lil Jon & the Eastside Boys introduce Mike Jones. You know, the rapper. The one we're supposed to care about so much. Yeah, him. Some comments from his performance:
Me: Dude, it looks like the unemployment office up on that stage will all them knee-grows.
Shine: The sad part is that all of them are gonna get some tonight just on the strength of being on the BET Awards.
11:15 -- AJ and BET's "ultimate fan" Demetrius Jenkins present the VIEWER'S CHOICE award. Omarion wins for "O." [insert letter joke here...I'm drunk at this point. lol]
11:18 -- Teena Marie pays tribute to Rick James. Unfortunately, she's drunker than I am, up there spewing out incoherencies of Jesse Jack.son proportions. Sigh.
Me: She's higher than a pair of Prince stilettos right about now...
Shine: What the hell is she talking about?
11:21 -- A performance by Stevie Wonder. Good stuff. I was digging all the people on stage dancing in the background. Shine: I read somewhere that he just had a baby. Me: Do you see that hairline? Dude needs to have some baby HAIR. LOL Shine: Shut up. Me: What the...he's...he's...he's doing dance moves. Drunken ones, but still...dance moves. Shine: Hey, if he can make babies, he can do dance moves. Me: True. he must've been drunk then, too.
11:29 -- The fifteenth commercial of the night touting what I predict to be the greatest show in the history of unintentional comedies... *drumroll* BEING BOBBY BROWN!!! IN TWO DAYS!!! ON BRAVO!!!! I.can't.wait.
11:30 -- Will & Jada present BET's VIDEO OF THE YEAR... Kanye West, "Jesus Walks." And then they say goodnight. Stevie Wonder comes back out and sings Happy Birthday to BET. Ummmm...there was NO HELEN!!!! Wait, am I supposed to believe that Lauryn Hill FLAKED OUT and didn't want to perform?!?!? Not LAURYN. NOOOOOOOO! Damn you BET. It must be your fault, because Lauryn would never... OK, I couldn't continue with that without cracking up. She looked a mess, anyway. *shrug*
I must now go eat. I feel lightheaded and degraded after that Mike Jones performance. Feels like I've been yelled at for five minutes straight.
All in all, the show wasn't that bad. Will and Jada were actually pretty good as hosts. It dragged in spots, but mostly kept rolling along. I think I've done the awards show circuit in full as of now. Oh wait. Doesn't Essence come on later this month? Lawd. I try to get out... and they pull me back in. So I'll be forced to view it. For your sakes, of course. Because I'm a giver. LOL Heyyyy... I can't stand Black Entertainment Television. But I will always watch their awards show. You can BET on that.
scribbled by Will at 6/29/2005 07:38:00 AM
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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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