Each week, columnist Cyrus Kyle Langhorne weighs-in on hot button topics with his sharp commentary. This week’s subject: The BET Awards.
Apologies ahead of time for anyone who "accidentally" clicked on the link which brought you here to see a full run-down of my thoughts on the BET Awards from last night and why I believe such and such should have done such and such... nerp, not here baby. Rather, what I would love to do is steal about three minutes (your skimming, not reading has been taken into account) of your time to explain to you why I have a problem with the BET Awards and furthermore, BET.
The idea has ran its course. Sorry to all the BET executives out there but the show has had all the TwitHeads going crazy these past few years just over the controversy (think last year's Lil Wayne/"Best I Ever Had" incident, Chris Brown/Jay-Z situation, etc.) it has seemed to gather and even more so in regards to just the overall vibe. Maybe I am jumping the gun a little because I honestly have issues with all awards shows, but something about the BET Awards has always felt fabricated and fake, even more so than past years. I really cannot call it, but do you remember the feeling you got when BET Comic View used to come on and they would do the close-ups of the people laughing at really mundane and dry jokes, chea? Well, I sort of have the same reaction.
Now granted, do not get me wrong, last year's show had the iconic Michael Jackson tribute—and to try and act like it was not dope in light of the other two incidents—well, I would be playing myself to say the least. I will pay homage where homage is due, but something about the BET Awards has always made me feel like it was a joke. I think there has been a lack of innovation in terms of awards shows. (Now here I will go to include errybody, so no worries BET) Sure, you can have some good writing, a few good improv jokes and a good slab of performances, but when is there going to be originality? Not sure if most people have picked this up, but when you consider an awards show, what do you happen to think of the most? Who won? No. The performances? Chea, right. Maybe some dope outfits? Unlikely. The beef—controversy? YES. Shucks, not even leaving BET Awards as the scapegoat but think about last year's MTV Video Music Awards. What is the first thing which pops up into your head? Kanye West and Taylor Swift. Shucks, even the BET Hip-Hop Awards suffers the same problem. Think back to T.I. getting caught with guns there a few years ago. Innovation, where is it? I almost feel like the best thing to happen, staged or not, would be a protest and to have an awards show either called off or just pushed to another date, bring some type of excitement to the show not just based off the same "shocking" event. Shucks, I still cannot get the horrible thought of Eminem getting gas faced by Bruno at last summer's MTV Movie Awards, and then to find out, obviously, the whole entire stunt was err, a stunt? Wack.
I guess going back to BET, I have some internal complications, complications which a few years ago were sort of quietly known (but not publicly made aware of) and are now becoming more and more obvious. The company seems to have lost its ability to really prove it is about Black Music. I cannot even count the number of times artists have hit up Twitter talking about their videos getting "banned" or not allowed on the network from Willy Northpole to Obie Trice, quite a few artists who revealed they were pretty much left out in the cold when trying to get some shine from BET. So there really lies my biggest issue with the network. Even before people started looking at BET as "the darkside of evil," I remember learning through my political connects (ha ha!) about artists like Method Man & Redman getting the door shut on 'em because they were looked at as "too old school," and this was the mid-2000s!
The programming has also shown how times have changed and while I have nearly praised God every morning since the cancellation of Cita's World, I still cannot forget what (even as annoying as they were) AJ and Free brought to the original 106 & Park or even how Big Tigger really made coming home by 4PM-5PM a necessity just to peep Tha Basement, but I do not want to make myself sound like I cannot move forward, of course, but the direction the channel has gone makes me wonder if they are continuing to lose its edge.
Sure, the year may be 2010 and kids are more than ever likely to check for their favorite artists on the computer if not weeks before seeing them debut on television, but some of the rules have to stay/remain. Pay homage and show off artists who really are still relevant and can make a few of those "old heads" (23-27-year-olds) turn on BET while they're home in the afternoon/evening while their little brothers/sisters (the ones BET caters to) are searching for porn and illegal downloads via AlbumHunt.com.
Now sure, I have gone left and right without really paying homage to everything BET "has done." I do realize this and of course when we look at something like the BET Awards, you cannot forget how the show has "grown" tremendously and become a steady stable in must-see awards shows. But unless the network as a whole begins to realize some of the decisions they are making and look to influence/gain the attention instead of "cash-in" on disposable viewers, well I see events like the BET Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards becoming just priced products of the network. Who knows, maybe I have just become overly emotional on the topic and didn't really look at every facet of what makes up BET, but from where I am standing (sitting), it seems like the network is far from ready to get my attention again.