Critic’s Notebook: Did The BET Awards Serves Justice to Virtual Telecast Ceremony?

Virtual Telecast – The coronavirus pandemic lead the awarding ceremony to be unique and timely relevant but there were instances that occasionally remind of how the coronavirus has brought so much impact to the Black community. The soulful performance of Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson at the 2020 BET Awards was beautiful and magical. The virtual ceremony of the BET Awards surely did get the pulse of the majority and it is so gratifying. 

For three hours, there are six awards presented including Beyonce receiving a Humanitarian of the Year prize.  Winners of the BET are unpredictable as well as the presenters. 

On the other hand the producer primary showcased and addressing protests of Black Lives Matter rallies that demands for justice about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and too many other names and the speculations were solved in Alicia Keys’ performance of “Perfect Way to Die.” is too much to handle. 

The pressing issues formed the telecast to be relevant and the performance of “Fight the Power,” featuring an all-star team of hip-hop royalty from Chuck D to Nas to Black Thought to a scene-stealing Rapsody made the aims more possible and reachable. Da Baby’s performance was so promising and began with how Floyd died in the hands of the police officers. On the other hand, Anderson Paak and Jay Rock’s “Lockdown” was driven by the chorus “You should have been downtown/The people are rising” and culminated in the throwing of a Molotov cocktail. Album of the Year winner Roddy Ricch wore the BLM shirt to emphasize the cause. 

Amanda Seales’ has done a monologue, following  12-year-old Keedron Bryant’s belted out “I Just Wanna Live” and started with the resigned declaration, “I would love to talk about regular everyday things, but racism always beats me to it.” Seales got in jokes about mainstream appropriation of Juneteenth (“It’s dope, but y’all don’t let them Cinco de Mayo our day”) and even got in a barb at Terry Crews (“Terry Crews couldn’t make it. Not surprised.”). There was even darkness tinging the only comic sketch in the show, a Zoom call with Seales “undercover” with three “Karens,” discussing their day’s 911-calling misadventures.

There were several production gaps but some of the performance were able to pull it offlike  Megan Thee Stallion staged a full-on music video for “Savage,” with several dancers wearing masks, while social-distancing was part of the choreography. Another set of performance that contrasts the energy exerted by Megan Thee Stallion performance, but probably every bit as soulfully done, was Wayne Brady’s tribute to Little Richard multi-song medley and some actual musicianship with brilliant choreography in one-shot journey through a seemingly random location in a house with complete dancers to spice it up. 

Lil Wayne, delivered his performance on a dark stage pouring verses and paid a tribute to Kobe Bryant, letting the Black Mamba-themed videos do the finishing touch of emotions. Also John Legend had flaunted his warehouse in which to perform “Never Break,” while Chloe X Halle singing and dancing their heart out in a storage area. 

Music icon, Jennifer Hudson broke the hard ice singing “Young, Gifted & Black” as a prelude to a trailer debut for her Aretha Franklin biopic, and Kierra Sheard and Karen Clark Sheard singing “Something Has to Break” as a show-stopping finale.

The uniqueness that the BET Awards shown was successful despite of the lapses and in advertisers wanted to be a part of the show, sponsoring several segments of the ceremony and making it possible for J-Hud’s Respect, Beyonce’s Disney+ “visual album” Black Is King or Hamilton were flashed. 

Harold Watson
Harold Watson is a business consultant and a professor in Business Administration. His in-depth analysis on business and decision-making pushes him to be a public speaker and writer.


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