Shows and talks worth see­ing

Nicki Mi­naj, Ice Cube, Kobe Bryant and Floyd May­weather are among the big names tak­ing part in the week­end.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Ger­rick D. Kennedy

The BET Ex­pe­ri­ence has never lacked for am­bi­tion. There are head­lin­ing con­certs, late- night shows, sem­i­nars, celebrity pan­els, fash­ion shows and more sights and sounds re­volv­ing around the net­work’s an­nual awards show tele­cast Sun­day night. Or­ga­niz­ers ex­pect more than 110,000 fans this week­end, and this year’s fes­ti­val opens Thurs­day with a per­for­mance from co­me­dian Kevin Hart and ex­tends through four days across mul­ti­ple venues in the L. A. Live com­plex down­town. Here’s a look at what’s worth check­ing out over the week­end.

Six acts worth their ticket prices

Nicki Mi­naj. Ca­pa­ble of mov­ing be­tween myr­iad per­sonas and sonic back­drops that cut through hard- core rap, pop f luff and sticky dance f loor bangers, the al­ways provoca­tive Nicki Mi­naj makes us stop and pay at­ten­tion. Her last al­bum, “The Pinkprint,” was the clos­est she’s come yet to cap­tur­ing her va­ri­ety of skills on record, and this is her first arena tour. If noth­ing else, her boom­ing ode to volup­tuous rumps, “Ana­conda,” will de­liver the week­end’s sweati­est dance mo­ment. Fri­day, 7 p. m., Sta­ples Cen­ter

Ice Cube. Long be­fore carv­ing out a thriv­ing film ca­reer pro­duc­ing and star­ring in comedies such as the “Bar­ber­shop” se­ries, “Fri­day” and “Ride Along” as well as fam­ily fare like “Are We There Yet?” — Ice Cube helped de­fine West Coast hip- hop. For the first time in two decades, he and a few sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the hip- hop group N. W. A will re­unite to per­form some of the records that put gangsta rap on the map. The par­tial re­union comes ahead of the group’s forth­com­ing biopic, “Straight Outta Comp­ton,” which Ice Cube co- pro­duced. Satur­day, 7 p. m., Sta­ples Cen­ter

Ti­nashe. Af­ter years of craft­ing sen­sual, trippy mix­tapes in her bed­room, Ti­nashe emerged with 2014’ s “Aquarius,” an al­bum that was hailed as one of the strong­est R& B de­buts in years. Built around spacey in­ter­ludes, f lick­er­ing synths and slinky, fu­ture- R& B pro­duc­tions, Ti­nashe moves through min­i­mal­ist down­tempo beats and hushed, breathy rhythms that glide with the same ef­fort­less lilt that made Aaliyah and Janet Jack­son stars. She’s one to watch. Fri­day, 7 p. m., Sta­ples Cen­ter

Ken­drick La­mar. One of the most vi­tal word­smiths in con­tem­po­rary hip- hop, the Comp­ton- raised em­cee fol­lowed his lauded ma­jor la­bel de­but, “Good Kid, M. A. A. D City” — a con­cept record about nav­i­gat­ing the gang-in­fested streets of his city as a teen — with “To Pimp a But­terf ly,” a fiery ex­plo­ration of race, pol­i­tics, de­pres­sion and celebrity that merged funk, spo­ken word, jazz and hiphop. Times pop critic Ran­dall Roberts wrote: “This record is so ex­pan­sive that it’s tough to wres­tle into shape, even as it over­flows with wit, smarts and a mas­ter­ful skill of the lan­guage and phras­ing.” Satur­day, 7 p. m., Sta­ples Cen­ter

The Roots. At last year’s BET Ex­pe­ri­ence, the sub­ver­sive hip- hop and soul band fo­cused its late- night set on time trav­el­ing through the glory days of rap with guests that in­cluded War­ren G, Doug E. Fresh, Talib Kweli, Method Man and Red­man. The jam ses­sion was a stand­out of last year’s fes­ti­val, and this year the band looks to de­light hip- hop purists as they pay trib­ute to the late inf lu­en­tial pro­ducer and rap­per J Dilla. Soul singer Erykah Badu, who played the 2013 BET Ex­pe­ri­ence, will join the band. Satur­day, 11 p. m., Club Nokia

Miguel. The San Pe­dro na­tive helped usher in a move­ment in R& B that sig­naled the most sig­nif­i­cant stylis­tic change in the genre since “neo- soul” in the 1990s. His 2012 break­out al­bum, “Kaleidoscope Dream,” was a shim­mer­ing, psy­che­delic trip that pushed the avantsoul singer into the main­stream, and here he’ll preview his new record, “Wild­heart,” a sexy mix of soul, rock and pop due next week that, like his break­out, ig­nores bound­aries. Fri­day, 11 p. m., Club Nokia

Free of­fer­ings

The Los An­ge­les Con­ven­tion Cen­ter will again host the fes­ti­val’s free fan expo. Set for Satur­day and Sun­day, the net­work has cu­rated a broad range of at­trac­tions.

On Satur­day, Com­edy Cen­tral’s “The Nightly Show” host Larry Wil­more will mod­er­ate a dis­cus­sion on black women in Hol­ly­wood, fea­tur­ing di­rec­tor Gina Prince- Bythe­wood (“Love & Bas­ket­ball,” “Be­yond the Lights”), tele­vi­sion writer and pro­ducer Mara Brock­Akil (“The Game,” “Be­ing Mary Jane”), re­al­ity show pro­ducer Mona Scott Young (“Love & Hip- Hop” fran­chise) and ac­tress Ni­cole Be­harie (“42,” “Sleepy Hol­low”). ESPN’s Jemele Hill will have a one- on- one chat with Kobe Bryant, Floyd May­weather will dis­cuss his latest tri­umph over Manny Pac­quiao, and Marc Lamont Hill will lead a dis­cus­sion on Black Lives Mat­ter.

Also on Satur­day, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Omar­ion, Ter­rell Owens, Soulja Boy, the Game and Snoop Dogg are among those who will face off in the celebrity bas­ket­ball game. There’s also a sneaker con­ven­tion, dance com­pe­ti­tion and fash­ion shows planned for Satur­day and Sun­day.

But mu­sic re­mains the true pulse of the Fan Fest. And this year’s lineup is ac­tion packed.

On Satur­day, Janelle Monáe will per­form a show­case with her Won­der­land col­lec­tive. On the same day, West Coast tal­ents such as Vince Sta­ples, Cy­press Hill and Too Short will an­chor the “LA to the Bay” show­case. The Flava Zone show­case will spotlight ris­ing tal­ents such as pop- R& B singer Jas­mine V, singer- song­writer Eli­jah Blake, funky pow­er­house An­dra Day, rap­per- singer Luke Christo­pher and R& B singer Trea­sure Davis.

Satur­day also fea­tures BETX New Fire, which will fo­cus on the buzzi­est emerg­ing rap­pers of the mo­ment. Mini- sets will be per­formed by Tim­ba­land pro­tégé Tink, Detroit rap­per Dej Loaf and Fetty Wap, who cur­rently has one of the big­gest rap records of the year.

BET’s Mu­sic Mat­ters — which of­fers ris­ing artists ex­po­sure through a num­ber of plat­forms on the net­work — will have its show­case on Sun­day. Le­crae, whose mas­ter­ful “Ano­maly” be­came the first al­bum by a Chris­tian rap­per to hit No. 1, will an­chor the show­case. Andy Mineo, Au­dio Push and Dee- 1 are also on the bill. Show­cases fo­cused on Latin and Caribbean mu­sic are also planned for Sun­day.


This year’s cer­e­mony marks the 15th an­niver­sary of the awards show, which hon­ors tele­vi­sion, film, mu­sic, so­cial media, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, sports jour­nal­ism, public re­la­tions and the cre­ative arts.

Chris Brown and Nicki Mi­naj lead the pack with six nom­i­na­tions each. Bey­oncé and Lil Wayne fol­low with four nom­i­na­tions and break­out Bri­tish singer Sam Smith is up for two. Brown, Ken­drick La­mar, Mi­naj, Meek Mill and more are slated to per­form.

One can’t- miss mo­ment looks to be the re­turn of Janet Jack­son, who will be hon­ored with the inau­gu­ral Ul­ti­mate Icon: Mu­sic Dance Vis­ual award on Sun­day’s tele­cast. As part of the pre­sen­ta­tion, Jack­son will be feted with a dance trib­ute from Ciara, Jason Derulo and Ti­nashe — artists who pull deeply from Jack­son’s pedi­gree. The BET Awards will be broad­cast from the Mi­crosoft Theater on Sun­day at 8 p. m. Pa­cific time.

Scott Roth I nvision/ AP

KEN­DRICK LA­MAR will play Sta­ples Cen­ter on Satur­day as part of the BET Ex­pe­ri­ence fes­ti­val.

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