Apologies Accepted

At 7:41pm I did something I hadn't done in nearly a year, I turned to BET. I almost made it a year; I was three days short of making a complete 365 days without watching Black Exploitation Television aka BET. I haven't turned purposely or even by mistake to the station since June 30th of last year. Many folks were through after they botched the Michael Jackson tribute last year, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt, only having two or three days to pull it all together. I was done that Tuesday night when I looked at the lineup and Frankie, Neffie, Tiny, Toya and Wendy Williams were on back-to-backt-back. I just couldn't do it anymore.

So, when I started seeing advertisements for the 2010 BET Awards show last night, I was staunch in my politics, I knew the boycott was going to win out. That is until yesterday when I wrestled with the decision all day because there were a few factors that really intrigued. First, Kanye West was set to perform for the first time in months, Prince was receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award and Queen Latifah was set to host, which added a touch of class to an event that Jamie Foxx took a little too far left last year.

BET put together a pretty good show last night with quite a few highs and very few lows, undoubtedly a visual apology for the crap they threw at us last year. There were surprises and the usual BET fodder, but all in all in was a good show and I'm glad that I crossed my own picket line for a few hours last night, because then I wouldn't be able to do this:
  • I hopped out of the shower just in time to see Kanye West perform "Power" atop a mountain with the biggest medallion I've seen since Slick Rick's hey dey. The camera seemed to stay at a distance the entire time, but Kanye seems to still be feeling his way back since hurting some little White girl's feelings last fall. What's the big deal? I hope he took the time off to address some personal issues and not because of the negative attention he received for telling the truth. There wasn't much to say about the performance, it was good to see him back, but wish he was there with that charisma we've come to love him for.
  • I was tempted to stop watching after the Kanye performance, but Queen Latifah's opening sequence drew me in, she was funny, tasteful and after she busted a rhyme, I realized I couldn't turn.
  • I've kept my feelings about this whole Alicia Keys/Swizz Beats mess relationship/pregnancy, but last night it was in full view as her belly was as prominent as she was in a too short dress as she went through a medly of songs that we've seen her perform over the past 10 years of her career.
  • Usher performed "There Goes My Baby" and was pretty boring. In years past, Mr. Raymond has often been the highlight of any stage he stepped on; these days he's more of an afterthought. Tighten up Usher!
  • I'm not sure why the "Best Female Hip-Hop Artist" category exists, especially when two of the nominees no one has heard of, Lil' Kim is a has been and Trina never was, so Nicki Minaj walked away with this category and her usual cartoonish self took the stage in a pink wig and wedding dress, then threw on a fake accent to begin her speech, before losing it and regaining her hood while speaking on how she's fighting for females. Too fake for me!
  • Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, Sean John performed "Hello/Goodmorning" with Dirty Money, T.I. and Rick Ross. Mr. Combs showed everyone how you're supposed to perform on an awards show. He had the smoke machine working, the pyrotechnics, the lip synching, but it was entertaining.
  • Nia Long and Larenz Tate reenacted classic scenes from Love Jones and I started to get nostalgic for Black Hollywood.
  • Deneice Williams joined Monica on stage to sing "Silly" as Monica performed "Everything to Me" and sounded at times like she hasn't sang in over 25 years, but it was good to see her and the nod paid to the old school.
  • Jermaine Jackson wasn't as greasy as he's been for the last 15 years, but something just wasn't right with his hair, can't quite point a finger on it, but it looked like his doo rag didn't reach his ears.
  • Jermaine introduced the Michael Jackson tribute that we've been waiting to see and then stepped off…leaving a silhouette of someone performing Michael's moves and it was none other than Chris Brown. In the wake of his assault of Rihanna last year, Chris was persona non grata and wasn't included in any of the Michael Jackson tributes that took place, but most folks have been speculating of what his tribute may actually look like and last night we saw it. I've said it before, this boy can dance! No, I mean, he can dance! And if there was ever anyone to do this tribute, it was him. By the time he got to "Man in the Mirror" the emotions of the moment overwhelmed him and he broke down crying. His performance and specifically the breakdown, has become the most talked about topic in the Negro America. Real or phony, you gotta feel for the boy, he's been maligned in the press for the last year and change, watched record sales swan dive and faced a seemingly unforgiving culture from the periphery…until last night. (More on this later this week)
  • The hottest Nigga in the game right now, may also be the corniest on stage. Drake is absolutely horrible live! He looked akward jumping and skipping around like he was 5'2, 125lbs and didn't seem confident rocking the stage alone, but got a much needed assist from "Mr. 103" himself, Jeezy. Drake's gonna have to step his stage game up if he plans on having a lasting impression on the game
  • Why were the Black Eyed Peas at the show? They looked completely out of place and when they presented an award they seemed high! I still don't know anyone who has a Black Eyed Peas album…
  • Trey Songz performed "Yo Side of the Bed" and then moved into "Purple Rain", at which Prince cut his eyes as to say, "Don't mess this up!" and Trey's uneven performance left me looking at the TV a little weird. I guess he couldn't sing "Neighbors Know my Name" in front of his fine ass mama! Did you see his mom? Whooooooooooo weeeeeeeee!
  • The night of lightskinned-ed comebacks continued with El Debarge taking us back to the early 80's with a few hits from the DeBarge catalog. Fresh out the joint and hopefully sober, El seemed to have regained most of his old range until stamina seemingly became an issue when he got to "Time Will Reveal". It would've been great to have seen Mark, James, Randy and Bunny…
  • Todd Bridges shared a few kind words and memories of the late Gary Coleman and in one of the few mistakes of the night, Lena Horne's passing wasn't properly acknowledged.
  • Proving that chocolate brothers are still hanging in there, Tyrese reassumed tribute status with a mini-Teddy Pendergrass medley. I would've preferred Jaheim, but I like Tyrese just the same, if only this brother will make an album…
  • I gained a new level of respect for John Legend after he received his "Humanitarian of the Year" award and hearing of all his philanthropy. Legend has given his time, money and effort to various charities in parts of Africa and domestically. It was great to see an artist of his stature be so selfless and articulate his passion so well in his thank you speech. Now, about returning to soul music…
  • I waited all night for the Prince tribute and I was disappointed. Janelle Monae was her usual energetic self (time for a new outfit boo boo), I can't remember the second chick's name (but she ruined my Prince favorite "If I Was Your Girlfriend), Alicia Keys went piano crawling while breathing through "Adore" and Patti Labelle did her usual (including kicking her shoes off) and bringing down the house while looking like Wesley Snipes in Too Wong Foo… I guess it would have been too much to ask for someone with testosterone to be part of the tribute. There has to be a brother or two out there that would've done Prince some justice, but who am I?
All in all, it was a pretty good show, though there's a segment of Black music that seems to be left out, that area where artists like Erykah Badu, Raheem DeVaughn, Anthony Hamilton, Lyfe Jennings and The Roots reside. The ignorance factor was definitely kept to a minimum last night, I wonder if Lil' Wayne being in jail has anything to do with that? Good show, good memories, but not good enough, the boycott resumed as soon the show was over!

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