Chris Brown, Nicki Mi­naj, Bey­once tri­umph at BETs

The China Post - - ARTS - BY MESFIN FEKADU

Though she was ab­sent, Bey­once won three BET Awards, in­clud­ing video of the year for “7/11,” while Chris Brown and Nicki Mi­naj also won mul­ti­ple awards at the all-star show Sun­day night.

But the show was less about the awards — video of the year didn’t even make the live broad­cast — as per­for­mances stole the night.

As Janet Jack­son en­tered the stage at the Mi­crosoft Theater in Los An­ge­les, Brown screamed loudly, Mi­naj whipped out her phone to record the mo­ment and Laverne Cox was teary-eyed. The pop star was hon­ored with the Ul­ti­mate Icon: Mu­sic Dance Vis­ual Award as she made one of her first public per­for­mances in some­time as she read­ies a new al­bum and tour this fall.

“It’s been a very long mo­ment to this jour­ney ... my heart is so full,” Jack­son said to the au­di­ence, which in­cluded her mother and fa­ther. “To my beau­ti­ful mother, to my beau­ti­ful fa­ther, and to my en­tire fam­ily, your love is un­break­able.”

An im­pres­sive Ciara, Jason Derulo and Ti­nashe paid trib­ute to the 49-year-old vet­eran by mim­ick­ing her sig­na­ture dance moves.

“Twenty-five years ago we cre­ated ‘ Rhythm Na­tion,’ hop­ing the world would be a bet­ter place, but to­day there’s even more to be done,” Jack­son said.

Jack­son wasn’t the only show stop­per Sun­day: Diddy dropped it like it’s hot at the awards show — fig­u­ra­tively and lit­er­ally.

The en­ter­tainer fell dur­ing an ex­cit­ing per­for­mance that cel­e­brated Bad Boy Records’ 20th year an­niver­sary, one of the night’s high­lights. Lil Kim, Mase, Faith Evans, 112 and The Lox joined Diddy as they per­formed a med­ley of past hits. A video mon­tage of rap king No­to­ri­ous B.I.G. ap­peared in the back­ground as his verse from “Mo Money Mo Prob­lems” played.

Brown per­formed mul­ti­ple times, and won best male R&B/pop artist and the fan­de­mo­nium award.

“A lot has changed in my life, a lot of mis­takes, a lot of lessons learned. The best thing I’m most thank­ful for is my daugh­ter,” he said on­stage. “I’m so thank­ful and happy to have the loyal fans ... and ev­ery­body here that knows me, to know me is to love me.”

The show Sun­day brought a mix of funny and se­ri­ous mo­ments. Rap­ping on top of a po­lice car with a large Amer­i­can flag wav­ing be­hind him, hip-hop prince Ken­drick La­mar kicked off the BET Awards with a dose of se­ri­ous­ness, but also brought a fiery energy thanks to his charisma and beat of his song, “Al­right.”

He later won best male hiphop artist.

“This is for Comp­ton, this is for Watts,” the Los An­ge­les-born rap­per said.

Janelle Monae and Ji­denna also brought a se­ri­ous vibe to the stage when they per­formed “Clas­sic Man”: The singers and their back­ground dancers wore large “I’m a Clas­sic Man” signs around their necks, a ref­er­ence to the his­toric “I Am a Man” civil rights era protest signs.

And as An­thony Hamil­ton and Gary Clark Jr. per­formed while photos of celebri­ties who died ap­peared on screen, a mon­tage of the nine peo­ple who were gunned down at a church in Charleston ear­lier this month closed the per­for­mance.

“Black-ish” ac­tors An­thony An­der­son and Tracee El­lis Ross won over the crowd with back-to-back jokes, in­clud­ing one about Rachel Dolezal, the for­mer pres­i­dent of the Spokane chap­ter of the NAACP.

“Is white re­ally the new black,” An­der­son sang as two photos of Dolezal — one old, the other re­cent — ap­peared on screen.

An­der­son also dressed as Bri­tish singer Sam Smith, who won best new artist but didn’t at­tend the awards show.

“Sam Smith isn’t here tonight be­cause he’s white and he didn’t think he would win at the BET Awards,” An­der­son said as the au­di­ence burst into laugh­ter.

“This award is go­ing to stay with me for you not show­ing up to BET,” An­der­son sang, ref­er­enc­ing Smith’s ubiq­ui­tous hit, “Stay With Me.”

Ri­hanna, who de­buted a 1-minute clip of her new mu­sic video for “B—— Bet­ter Have My Money,” was among the A-lis­ters who sat in the au­di­ence, and she sang along dur­ing Omar­ion and Brown’s per­for­mance of the pop hit, “Post to Be.” Alicia Keys sur­prised the crowd when she joined The Weeknd to sing his hit, “Earned It.”

Smokey Robin­son re­ceived the Life­time Achieve­ment Award, per­formed a med­ley of his hits and earned a stand­ing ova­tion from the au­di­ence when he spoke about Hol­ly­wood and hu­mil­ity. Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke and ris­ing singer Tori Kelly paid trib­ute to the icon.

And Patti La­Belle was a fan fa­vorite too, hit­ting high notes along­side Ta­mar Brax­ton and K. Michelle.


(Top) Ser­ayah, left, and Bryshere Y. Gray per­form at the BET Awards at the Mi­crosoft Theater in Los An­ge­les on Sun­day, June 28. (Above) Carol Maraj, left, looks on as Nicki Mi­naj ac­cepts the award for best fe­male hip-hop artist at the BET Awards at the Mi­crosoft Theater in Los An­ge­les on Sun­day.

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