Monday, June 29, 2009

Vortex of Coonery: BET Awards Withholds MJ Tribute to Get Us to Watch Their Crappy Show

We were hoodwinked and bamboozled last night!! So many of us turned to watch in the hopes for a glorious celebration of a music artist's legacy. Instead we got the ol' bait and switch. So V.O.C. it is. That's the new term I've coined and the first application is being used for last night's BET Awards. What happened to that "promised" Michael Jackson tribute? 

So many people are still rendered speechless and feeling the loss of the greatest artist of our generation that we needed something to relieve the pressure. We wanted to celebrate the music. We wanted to dance in our living rooms and feel a little bit better. We're just fans and feel horrible. We can't imagine how it must be for this who really cared about MJ feel. Especially with the crap that passes as music today, we really need something familiar comforting and good. And let's face it, music is one of the few things blacks have left holding the collective (that's left) together in some cohesive form where we can relate to each other.

Well wouldn't you know Debra Lee did diddly squat for a tribute. She had the nerve to stand on stage and discuss how much work and effort they made throwing something together on three days notice. They added a few segments attached to prior scheduled performances. That's not a tribute. If that was the best they could do she needs to be fired! BET will reap the rewards of getting their highest ratings I'm certain. Most of us don't even watch BET anymore because the programming offends us so.

Jamie Foxx was the ringmaster for this lunacy. His opening sequence was funny if for no other reason than he looked ridiculous. His continuous plugging his upcoming tour became the running joke of the evening. Had it been a drinking game, I would've been plastered in no time.

Here's a message sent on Twitter which sums it up: After its MJ tribute fiasco, Viacom, BET's parent co. says BET is changing its name to WSN [We're Sorry, Negroes]
New Edition who were the first post modern boy band heirs to the Jackson 5 did a brief medley. We thought there was more coming but that was basically it for the rest of the night. Apparently all of the top-tier talent decided they were going to do their own tribute on their terms. I'm now really grateful they weren't involved in this fiasco. The other highlights were bringing out Keith Sweat, Bell Biv Devoe and Guy but it wasn't their performances that set the stage on fire - it was the fact these songs actually sound better 12+ years later than what's out now. Of course if we also deconstruct where the insults began we can look squarely at BBD for that horrid song Poison, take aim and fire at them.
The labels were clamoring for their artists to perform current material. I have to say the people they had on were boring, boring, boring or highly offensive. Mary Mary sang what I guess is supposed to be gospel song because it has the word God in it. The video quality is so-so but so is the song! Another set of artists following their version of religious dogma to disapprove of the "gay lifestyle". Yet they're right there in the gutter with the rest of the "heathens". The song, God In Me is set to the music used for Foxx's song Blame It On the Alcohol. This is considered progress? Not even Queen Latifah adding a rap could save it. By the way why was she of all people performing with them?
Maxwell gave the best performance of a current song so his label should be pleased. He was a calm moment in a sea of chaos.
I nearly lost it as I figured out the song Lil Wayne was rapping (Every Girl) was about sexing as many women as you could when he and the other male performers had allowed under-aged pre-teen girls to share the stage with them - including his own daughter! That was completely unacceptable - to us only apparently. What is this, an R Kelly recruiting fest? Can we open a case with child protective services for that? It took me so long to figure out what he was saying to begin with because everything was bleeped out to the point where I wondered out loud why he'd even bothered.

Beyonce wore a couture outfit that made no sense and her performance of combining Ave Maria with Sarah McLachlan's Angel with something else did not work. It was just awkward because the pacing for the show was so off.  But I was so glad to see her because at this point everything else had been so bad that I knew she'd at least elevate it from the gutter. We decided she was dressing as a bride for Michael Jackson like a version of A Nightmare Before Christmas.
The OJay's had already had a pre-planned tribute and they even performed. It was a welcome relief as more than half the show was over and people were despondent by this time. They weren't even trying that hard and outperformed everyone who'd been on previously!! If anyone deserves kudos Eddie Levert should get it. He's lost two sons in the prime of their youth and is still kicking butt as a live performer. I hereby declare the Hunger Strike episode of the Boondocks to be real, not satire. In it Huey decides he won't eat again until BET changes its programming. Debra Lee is reimagined as Debra Leevil, Reginald Hudlin pontificates about his Harvard degree and they discuss how BET's real agenda is to destroy black people (I featured the 1st half of it in yesterday's post). Leevil is dissatisfied because she doesn't think their efforts are fast enough. I think we can assure her the destruction is moving along quite nicely. The only difference is that Stephen Hill took Hudlin's place.
When I watched the commercials in between the Awards show, they really showed the plan for destruction in action. One is a reality show featuring Toya & Tiny: one is the woman who's the ex-wife of Lil Wayne (was that her child on stage?) and "T.I.'s woman" as the other one describes herself. I have no idea what the purpose this show will serve other than to give a forum for more foolishness. Another features the mother (who's an admitted former drug addict) and the sister (in garish makeup) of R&B singer Keyshia Cole. Who also had a reality show. Ditto. The others are talk/gossip shows hosted by Mo'Nique and Wendy Williams respectively. 

Two actors decided to do a reenactment of the movie Baby Boy on stage which apparently plays on BET quite often where the male and female leads yell at each other over their child. One was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year. She should hope no Academy members watched her being in her "element" last night. Martin Lawrence and Jamie Foxx decided to do a "spoof" movie trailer where their characters Wanda and Sheneneh rob a bank. I fear that it was in fact a movie idea that's been pitched. 

Like surviviors from a war we tried to bargain with each other by making up a new meaning for BET. It wasn't Black Entertainment Television, it was Blacks Eliminating Themselves for example. I made a comment that if Harriet Tubman knew what would come to pass she would have turned around and left an increasing majority of those she helped flee enslavement. I wasn't joking. 

The one thing many of us had in common while watching was our collective and increasing outrage that we'd been duped. We won't be fooled again. One other interesting thing occurred. All ten of the trending topics on Twitter were related to the Award show or the artists performing - or those we'd wished were there to save us from viewing hell. These topics are automatically generated based on the content of messages. Apparently a few whites were upset by the momentary lack of focus on them as indicated by a Tumblr account captioned: "OMG Black People!" We're in a post-racial world white people so there's no complaining allowed. You have to share if you don't want us "complaining" about your domination tactics and singular focus. The page has since been pulled. Oh snap! People forget their Twitter stream of messages are public unless they lock them.  Every account featured on that page with the names of the people who made racist statements was distributed so these people could be directly confronted.  

Joseph Jackson was highly suspect as he chose to spend red carpet time discussing his new record label than the legacy of his son. Considering Michael labeled him cruel and abusive one would imagine it was an understatement. The only thing that saved the show from being a complete waste of time was the appearance of Janet Jackson and she spoke at the end. I could've skipped the entire thing and watched the highlights on Youtube. I wish she had just been taped off-site. She didn't need to be there wading through that mess.  
The other thing that bothered me was how people in the audience derived pleasure from and recognized these songs and were singing along. The Lil Wayne grooming girls for rape fest aired right before this sequence. There's blood on the dancefloor but people are oblivious to it. The same people were effectively on stage the entire night but didn't help uplift the quality of the show. I think the majority of us online were thinking, "This is what passes for black music nowadays? I feel old". We're not (that) old people; it's just utter crap being produced. I would say we could storm the barricades but I fear that war has been lost. We can only free ourselves, separate and not watch ever again.
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1990 said...

I pretty much agree with everything you said. The only performance worth seeing(done by a current artist) was Maxwell. Otherwise BET can go to Hell.
The sad thing is had this been MTV putting the VMAs on 3 days after Michael's death I'm sure they would've came up with a little something better than BET. Black people are always mad about how we are represented. Jamie kept making comments about how the media makes Michael look bad yet BET couldn't give Michael the tribute he was worth having.

Unknown said...

The earlier post of Imani Uzuri's Sun Moon Child is THE appropriate tribute to Micheal Jackson ARTISTRY. (I say this despite the fact I have major issue with Michael Jackson the MAN)

Tracey said...

Great write up! I too was disappointed. I was looking forward to great MJ tributes, but they dropped the ball on this one.

Khadija said...

Hmmm...All of that sounds predictably appalling. While reading, I had the mental image of Debra Leevil doing a "crazy legs" jig while yelling "Psych!!!" at the viewers.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

1990: I added the Maxwell footage.

Laura J: Yes that Imani Uzuri song is beautiful and of course we can look to the skin shade black & white racists for not properly lifting her up career-wise as to why she's still an underground artist but highly respected in the "industry".

Tracey: Thanks for your feedback

Khadija: It was a train wreck but I couldn't leave.

Hagar's Daughter said...

You are on point. My head is still swimming and I feel a little weak, no joking.

I try to not make blanket statements, but I'm breaking that rule: I WILL NEVER, EVER WATCH BET AGAIN. NO MATTER WHAT unless that's the only station with information during a life or death emergency.

I wish they had done the show they planned and with the hour they say they added use that time a a fitting, respectful tribute that honored the artist that was MJ.

If I had any doubt, and I didn't, that today's pop & hip hop music do nothing for me that so-called tribute show made it crystal clear.

I've never seen a BET Awards show before this one, is this normal? Is it an music awards show or cultural awards show that is music driven?

So it was the record labels that wouldn't allow their artists to perform MJ's music? I don't buy the music of today so I guess that will have to do. I'm too upset to even complain to the powers that be.

I felt so unclean after watching that mess.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Hagar's Daughter: I know. I know. What kills me is reading the Tweets of some of the celebrities who actually had the nerve to ask IF we had a problem with the program. They were "confused" about the negative responses because some people (like the fools at the show with them loved the show). The Black collective are going to hell in a handbasket. I will NOT be joining them.