LOS ANGELES—I honestly did not think there was an awards show that could be longer than the Academy Awards, but the 2019 BET Awards was certainly going for a record. The ceremony almost clocked in at 4 hours long, but actually wrapped up about 20 minutes shy of hitting that mark. The annual ceremony celebrating 18 years this year kicked off the ceremony with host Regina Hall poking a bit of fun at Beyonce’s documentary “Homegrown.” There were some hilarious moments, but nothing that will be cooler talk the next morning.
The show was kicked off by rapper Cardi B, who impressed and dazzled the audience with her set, not to mention that risqué lap dance with her hubby Offset; the woman sure knows how to wow a crowd, that’s all I can say. I couldn’t figure out exactly why Hall was selected to host the ceremony, but she kicked things off with an old school classic that had everyone in the audience and at home chanting along. She was even joined on stage by her pal Taraji P. Henson.
For a ceremony about awards, there weren’t that many handed out people. I am so out of touch with music because half of the people nominated I had NO CLUE who they were. Best New Artist was a victory for Lil Baby. Look, the prefix Lil used to be okay in the early 90s and 00s, but come on its about to be 2020, why is everyone Lil something? “Black-ish” star Marsai Martin picked up Youngstars Award, which highlights a rising star.
Fantasia hit the stage to perform her new single, “Enough,” Lizzo is fast becoming one of my favorite new artists, who took to the stage to deliver a phenomenal wedding inspired set to her hit “Truth Hurts.” The woman can dance and sing people, and she’s from my hometown. Some other big prizes for the night included Cardi B winning Album of the Year for “Invasion of Privacy.” I loved her speech it was so authentic and so Cardi B people. Best Movie went to “BlacKkKlansman,” while Regina King won the prize for Best Actress. The Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice Award went to Ella Mai for her inescapable hit “Trippin.”
Let’s get back to some of the performances of the night that had everyone talking. Um, it was Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus hitting the stage to perform the #1 song in the country with “Old Town Road.” I cannot remember the last time I witnessed so many people, of all races and cultures singing this tune. It is absolutely a cross between country and hip-hop like never seen before.
One of the biggest performances of the night in my opinion was watching Mary J. Blige receive the Lifetime Achievement Award courtesy of pop superstar Rihanna. Blige has an impressive career people between music, movies and TV. After accepting the award, Blige took to the stage to perform a medley of her biggest hits including “My Life,” “No More Drama,” “What’s the 411,” “I’m Going Down,” “Real Love,” “You Remind Me” and she closed the set with her feel good hit “Fine.” Blige was joined on stage with a set of dancers as well as Method Man and the one and only Lil Kim. Yes, when Lil Kim hit the stage you heard tons of screams. It was so nice to see the iconic rapper back in her element.
Another moving moment was seeing the Nipsey Hussle tribute. This guy was doing amazing things in the world and the crazy thing is that it wasn’t publicly advertised. So many people had no idea of the influence Nipsey Hussle had on the community. It was awesome to see this man receive the accolades; the only sad thing was his presence was missing on the stage. Seeing his grandmother, his significant other Lauren London, his mother, his children and his father pay tribute to their loved one who was fatally shot and killed in March just tore at my heart. Somber moment, but indeed a powerful one that was needed.
I have to talk about that epic speech given by filmmaker Tyler Perry as he accepted the Ultimate Icon Award by actress Taraji P. Henson. His speech was so inspirational as he discussed not focusing on the #OscarsSoWhite debacle. He noted he was focusing his energy on building his own empire in Atlanta and how the land where the Tyler Perry Studios currently sits was owned by confederates, those who wanted to keep African-Americans enslaved. Hearing Perry quote that this land is now owned by an African-American was just stunning.
However, it was gripping for me to hear Perry state the following phrase, “Own your dream; own your stuff.” Man those words just stuck with me and made me realize I’m not doing enough to pursue my dreams and the time is NOW not later. I have not heard something in such a long time that literally stuck with me; I mean I dreamt about and it reinvigorated my body. There were highs, and some lows at the 2019 BET Awards, but overall I was entertained and that is all that matters, so I can only imagine what stunts will be pulled out for the 2020 ceremony.