HOLLYWOOD—It was time to celebrate all things great in music, cinema and sports as the 2017 BET Awards were held on Sunday, June 25. The ceremony was held at the famed Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with “Saturday Night Live” alum Leslie Jones taking on hosting duties. Leading all contenders was Beyoncé with seven nominations including Video of Year, followed behind Bruno Mars with five nominations. Queen Bee was a big winner of the night claiming 5 awards including Album of the Year for “Lemonade” and Best Female R&B/Pop Artist.
The ceremony kicked off with a lively performance by Bruno Mars who performed a medley of his hits and plenty of smooth dance moves to get the crowd hype. He paused mid-performance hoping to intensify the energy of the crowd with some crazy, I mean crazy dance moves people. I will admit I was very eager to see what Leslie Jones would do when she took the stage people, and the comedienne did not disappoint, with jokes about rappers names, aging and plenty of pouty language throughout the show.
The first award of the night for Best Group went to Migos, which later followed a performance by Rae Sremmurd feat. French Montana. The Centric Award was a victory for Solange for “Cranes in the Sky,” where she delivered a beautiful acceptance speech. The BET Award for Best Gospel Inspirational went to Lecrae for “Can’t Stop Me Now.” Aspiring artist Jessie Reyez took the stage to perform, and man does this woman have a voice that is unique; it is unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time.
Trey Songz hit the stage to mesmerize the ladies in the crowd with his hit “I Don’t Want Nobody Else But You,” but I will admit the stage presence was slightly distracting. That skit Leslie did on her basketball camp was hilarious people. The crowd was indeed energized to see R&B sensation Chris Brown take the stage showcasing his vocal talent and his supreme dance skills. Puff Daddy presented the prize for Best New Artist to Chance the Rapper. Of course, Puff Daddy had to promote his new documentary to get fans to witness the birth of Bad Boy Records.
Mary J. Blige tore the house down with a performance of her latest single, but I honestly wish she would have showcased her vocal talents a bit more by performing “Thick of It.” Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx was showcased plenty of love by host Leslie Jones for inspiring her comic career, as he presented the award for Best Male R&B/Pop Artist to Bruno Mars. He delivered some laughs while on the stage of course. Yara Shahidi picked up the BET Award for Young Stars Award.
Now the moment of the night, had to be the reunion of the 90s girl group Xscape who took the stage to sing some of their memorable hits including “Understanding,” “Who Can I Run To” and “Just Kickin’ It.” Man that reunion was super sweet, but not long enough because it was apparent the audience wanted more people. I swear Jones did another skit where she spoke to her past self, and I almost fell off the couch from pure comedy. Another performance that will be talk of the week was a collaboration between Future and Kendrick Lamar.’
Tamar Braxton took to the stage to perform her ballad “My Man,” it was vocally riveting and perhaps one of the most dramatic performances of the night that yielded a standing ovation from the audience. The girl can sing people! BET President Debra Lee presented Chance the Rapper with the Humanitarian Award for his involvement in the community. He gave a rousing speech that was inspiring to say the least and put a spotlight on the ongoing trend of African-Americans being killed by police officers, and focusing his efforts on being a better father.
Maxwell proved yet again that his voice is unlike any other male singer with a vocal range that is unique to say the least. Another throwback moment took the stage with the reunion of New Edition who received the Lifetime Achievement award. The audience was treated to hits like “Candy Girl,” “My, My, My,” “My Prerogative” and “Poison.” The original crew later took to the stage to serenade the audience with their greatest hits including “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Can You Stand the Rain” and “If This Isn’t Love.”
Finally, we’re getting back to some actual awards being handed out. The BET award for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist went to Kendrick Lamar. It was a stunning surprise to see Remy Ma take the prize for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, an award that has been won for the past 5 plus years by rapper Nicki Minaj. The Viewer’s Choice Award went to Beyoncé “Sorry,” who we all know was unable to attend as she just gave birth to twins.
I will admit the BET Awards are becoming just like the Grammy Awards: full of performances and very minimal awards. I mean 3 hours for a ceremony is one thing, but when you clock into the 4 hour mark people, we have a problem. While an entertaining awards show to say the least (thanks to a new flavor of comedy courtesy of Leslie Jones), the 2017 BET Awards is proof that a show that had started to lose its firepower is remerging once again.