I had a problem with the BET Awards…and I blame somebody’s Mama!!

Soulja Boy Gets “Familiar” With Himself On-Stage at The BET Awards 2009

So, here I am awake at 4am after djing at a party and I can’t stop thinking about the colossal mess called the BET Awards.   If you watched the awards, you can’t help but have strong feelings about the show.  If you missed the show, consider yourself lucky.  If I had to say what percentage of the show was good – that would be about 30% good and 70% “are you serious.”  If I had to sum up the entire show in a sentence it would be “the BET Awards set African-American progress back to a period that would make ‘white and colored’ water fountains an everyday siting.”  Pretty sad to say and if it were not for the hundreds of tweets that I received on Twitter during the show (twitter.com/djvinceadams) , I would have tuned out long before the end.

It was apparent to me during the “Red Carpet” pre-show that there was some very “sub-standard” production value that I hoped would improve as the show progressed, but it didn’t.  I was surprised throughout the entire show how Jamie Foxx, Ving Rhames and other “adults” who should “know better” were acting is if they didn’t have the slightest idea that this could possibly be the highest rated BET Awards broadcast ever given all of the media attention that it received (i.e. CNN pre-show coverage, Satellite Radio simulacast, etc.)  I expected for the younger performers to not show decorum, but I was beyond shocked at many of the things said and done.  You would think that if these were the “elite” of the black entertainment world then we would be properly represented.  I won’t even go into tons of specifics, but I’ll just say that the grown folks should have known better.

I was excited to see the awards when I heard that there would be a ton of “surprises ” that were planned.  After viewing the show, I was wondering would those surprises be when Don Cornelius talked us to sleep?  Would they be Guy and BBD looking, breathing and sounding like they were over the hill in their early 40’s?  Maybe it was the decision to have Ciara sit and sing one of the more obscure Michael Jackson songs that you’ll find in his catalog (Ciara is a performer and not a singer right?)  Oh, I know, maybe the surprise was the one that my man @DJ_Fokis pointed out on Twitter – they did a Michael Jackson tribute show that didn’t feature any uptempo hits or serious MJ dancing talent.  Between the idiotic things that happened, the “what the hell just happened” things that happened and the “I can’t believe that just happened” things that happened – its fair to say that the buzz word for the night was “awkward.”

Let me touch on what for me was the most “awkward” part of the night.  It wasn’t only awkward, it was bittersweet.  That would be the arrival of Janet Jackson on stage and the speech that she gave.  So, let me understand the BET Awards producers…after Janet gets the courage to come out and grace the world with a word during her moment of grieving, you put her on stage immediately after Drake sings “Best I Ever Had” (the song is not about donuts by the way) FOLLOWED BY Young Money, Drake and Lil Wayne being bleeped for the entire “Every Girl” song (and no they don’t want to just “HUG every girl in the world”) THEN FOLLOWED BY Baby and Lil Wayne doing “Stay Strapped.”  So, after sex and violence you bring out the guest of honor in her moment of grief??  In that moment, I literally felt ashamed that she was put in that position.  She handled it with grace and dignity.  I think that the tweet from twitter that summed up my feelings at that moment came from @ThePBG and it stated “I wish BET died & Michael Jackson did a tribute to them .” I personally think that FOX or NBC saw this whole ship sink and somebody’s planning a MJ tribute show that will be so incredible that BET might have to consider scrapping their entire awards concept.

I find it extremely irresponsible of BET to not hold themselves to the same discretion level and talent quality as The American Music Awards at the very least.  I can understand if they don’t have the same budget, so there’s a reduction of the production value – that however is no excuse for poor judgment and bad taste.  I do think that they have a budget for some level of quality assurance.  Obviously, its not money well spent.  I have even stronger feelings about someone not pulling T-Pain aside and saying “hey Bruh, with the level of spotlight for ‘us’ tonight, take off the big ass chain (that reads ‘BIG ASS CHAIN’).”  As for Jamie Foxx, I found myself missing past BET Awards Show hostess Monique who I think would have globally handled the night with laughter and the sensitivity that the evening needed – Jamie missed the mark for me on too many occasions.

In the end, it’s really supposed to be about the music and entertainment right??  Ahh, that’s right – it wasn’t very entertaining and the music wasn’t that good either (aside from the 30% of good that took place.)  In the end where does this all put us?  To take a wide left, I think this puts us in the position of being educators.  I don’t think that the crash and burn of the BET Awards on Sunday, June 28, 2009 was an overnight/one-show occurrence.  This has been a slippery slope for some time, which may have finally slipped off the edge this year.  So, how do we become educators??  Well, the BET Awards gets one thing right every year – the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Congrats to The O’Jays who looked far more impressive than the majority of the performers who were 30-40 years younger than them

I think that any real music fan or person of an age that would consider themselves to be “old school” owes it to the younger children and young adults to share what we would consider good music to be.  I admire that John Legend studied Stevie Wonder or that Ne-Yo studied Michael Jackson.  Today we have artists like Soulja Boy who studied 50 Cent and considers 50 to be old school.  To further add insult to injury, Soulja Boy I’m sure has made much more money in the few years that he’s been on the scene than Doug E Fresh has since his arrival 25 years ago to the hip hop scene.  The sad part is that Soulja Boy until this year had no idea of who Doug E Fresh was.  That’s not Soulja Boy’s fault, that’s his Mama’s fault.  As well, new singer Jeremih has a “hit” on his hand with “Birthday Sex”.  I would bet you that he is very familiar with R. Kelly’s Bump N’ Grind, but until this year Jeremih had no idea of who the group “Guy” was.  We, as the ones that know better, have to educate younger listeners so that their range of music isn’t simply the past 10-15 years, which by many is considered the most sluggish period in modern record sales and/or under-developed in regard to musical talent (or lack thereof.)

I could go further on this subject, but I think that the conclusion is obvious here.  In order for us to get better (from BET, artists or the industry as a whole) we have to play an active part in keeping the quality up.  We can all do it in our own way.  Some may write to BET and share their feelings about the quality of the show.  Some may expose a teenager to the Gap Band or Marvin Gaye and share with them what music is, not just songs.  I think that Alicia Key’s words of “we can’t do everything, but we can all do something” definitely applies to this situation as well.  The landscape of Black music as we know it today is being degraded at an alarming rate.  If you were in doubt of that, certainly watching the awards show brought the words “it ain’t like it used to be” to mind for many people.  Remember the magnificence of the “Motown 25” Tribute Show in the 1980’s (some of you can) and how they had a fraction of the resources and budget that BET has today.  The missing ingredient is talent.  It’s hard for the future singers, songwriters and musicians of tomorrow to know what heights can be reached if we don’t step in and expose them to what real music is all about.  I’m blaming these guy’s Moms, but it’s on all of us.  Share the gift – expose others to quality – you won’t just save them, you’ll save a legacy – our music.

Let the music play…VA

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54 Responses to “I had a problem with the BET Awards…and I blame somebody’s Mama!!”

  1. I’m Roderick T. Head, and I approve this message!

  2. Daryl Champion Says:

    No truer words could ever have been spoken on this.

  3. DJ Shazam Says:

    Excellent blog sir…I’d have to agree 110% With you on this one bruh

  4. Great piece VA. Agree on the 100. Let’s hope word gets to BET and they fix up their act, because I know they just ran off a whole lotta viewers with their new fall lineup promos and this excuse for a tribute/award show.

  5. Nanina Lavallais Says:

    Extremely well put per usual. I am currently working on my child now who will definitely grow up knowing what real music and true talent sounds like.

  6. SHUT UP I MISS A DON’T WHAT SHOW YOU WATCH YOU MISS AGREAT SHOW.

  7. Vicky S Says:

    You expressed everything I’ve wanted to say. I was shocked and saddened by this whole spectacle. When the show was over, I was still waiting on the Tribute to Michael Jackson. This show is part of the dumbing down of America.

    I’m so tired of mind numbing, silly sing song lyrics, degrading songs with an old worn out drum track.

    Save us from this madness. I will not be viewing BET 2010. I felt my time was wasted on a large level this year!

  8. Tamorra Says:

    And let the church say AMEN and AMEN again!! Wonderfully and eloquently put!

  9. i agree with you ALL THE WAY. Janet should’ve came out first or at the end..but NOT when she did right after they just got done performing ”bad” songs.

    They should’ve changed the lyrics in Lil Wayne’s performance or something…cuz we pretty much were listening to just silence on TV…..it was so bad.

    AND WAS IT JUST ME OR DID JAY-Z’S PERFORMANCE RUIN THE SHOW!!?? Chris Brown should’ve done a tribute to M.J. he’s the only one (in my opinion) that could dance like him and pull it off. I think that C.B. should’ve done the finale besides Drake, Lil Wayne & Young Money. (their performance wasn’t all that great either) and wasn’t Chris Brown planning on doing a tribute to M.J. anyways? but Jay-Z turned his ass down? thats not right. I was a Jay-Z fan…but when i heard about that..i changed my mind right then and there. When are people gonna let him perform and get everyone’s respect back? He wants to be out there performing…He wants to get all his fans back…but how is he supposed to do that if he has to sit and watch instead of perform? Jay-Z should’ve just shut his fucking face and let C.B. perform..when Jamie took Beyonce off the stage and said “something crazy is about to happen” i thought Chris Brown was gonna come out, i think everyone thought Chris Brown was gonna come out. That’s the only reason why i watched the show…to see if Chris Brown was gonna perform.

    all im saying is that Chris Brown should’ve performed..and that would’ve stole the show.

    i’ll be watching the Video Music Awards in September…and if I dont see a Chris Brown performance…MTV is gonna get some comments on the show.

    • I agree! You stated you we’re going to let MTV know if the show was no good, well here is the perfect opportunity to let BET know the same thing. I DVR’d the show and watched it last night. I could have saved my time because is was disgraceful to say the least! Come on BET is there not enough money to pull off a better production than that???? I beg to differ….there is plenty of money available and plenty of qualified people to produce, direct and run the show. STOP letting the entertainers take charge because the majority of them are uneducated on presenting themselves with class and dignity.

      Part of the problem was because it was such a short notice they didn’t pull out the true entertainers who were inspired by Michael Jackson such as Chris Brown and USHER (who was not scheduled to be there). They used the people who were already scheduled to perform. BIG MISTAKE! If you couldn’t do it the right way it shouldn’t have been done at all! A simple video tribute would have been a lot better and much more tasteful, than subjecting millions of people to the monstrosity that we saw!

      And I love Jaime, but he was annoying!!!

      BET you have set us back as a people and you don’t even realize it!

  10. totally agree!!!

  11. I could add to this but I don’t need to. Vince has summed it up totally…I may not ever know when someone is singing of key, but I DO know great music and great production. We appreciate that you switched gears last minute but that was on you BET, and I am sure you felt obligated to because of you niche of being a urban network. No one told you to switch your show, but what you could have done was stick to your guns and then add a few segments.

    I remember getting in a verbal fight with a young white female teacher at the golf resort I worked at in Hilton Head, S.C. back in 1993. She worked at the course too when school was out. So one day I went in the bar to get a soda where she worked. She was flipping through some channels on cable and that the En Vogue “Never Gonna Get It” video was on. I asked her to flip back to the channel for a sec. Then I told her ok that’s fine I saw what I needed to. Don’t you know this teacher had the nerve to ask me “Why do ya’ll have your own station?” Now you know I had to defend BET by saying that 99.95 of ALL stations in the US are white owned and operated so giving us one that stays on for less than half of the day is fine. After last nights fiasco I really don’t ever see myself defending BET again.

    Now my real only problem was that they had the Devil in the front row…Joseph and they kept giving praise to that man who by many accounts killed his own son slowly for many many years with the constant shouting, beatings, super strict slave master reign on his children. We may never have witnessed any of his authoritarian personally but we damn sure saw it in the movie and heard about it from the kids. Katherine and the kids should have gotten all of the love and support and make this man feel like shit globally for once in his life just so he could feel what it meant to steal the childhood of his own.

    In time we will look back on BET and say damn this station that used to air for 10 hours out of a day grew into something other than what we thought it would be. It grew into the “blackface” network that the contemporary stations wanted it to be. It grew into sorry programming, second rate reality show, ghetto lifestyles, and a waste of advertiser’s dollars. Donny Simpson never in his wildest saw BET ever getting that ghetto and proceeding aimlessly along the road to no where.

    Take a step back people look at what WE have let happen. What can and are WE going to do to fix it? WE might have just lost two entities one MJ one BET.

  12. Great post! The BET Award Show was pure fuckery indeed!!

  13. Well said! But as a dj, do you ever feel like, WTH? The music of today is just not the same and not hardly equal to the ‘good’ music of the past, but I’m sure you still have to play some of it to ‘please the crowd’. I mean really, how sick do u get when you hear/play Stanky Leg? (you probably don’t even play songs like that though lol)

    Amber

  14. Desiree' Says:

    OK – I thought I was the only one who had the feeling of shame regarding the BET awards. Everyone in the office this morning is talking about how great the show was. It was so bad that I actually changed the channel. (But I have to admit – if it wasn’t Michael – I wasn’t interested) Unfortunately, that meant I missed Janet. I really wasn’t expecting to see anyone from his family there. However, that they took the time to be present at such a lame debauchery makes me even more ashamed. I’m just hoping someone will put together a “real” tribute for Michael, in his style of grand opulent precision and over the top-ness. Sad to admit but – in my Mom’s words (may she RIP); it’s going to have to be a white person. Blacks just miss the mark when it comes to this kind of thing. There is no way you can tell me that 2 days wasn’t enough time to coordinate a better show…and what galls me more is that (this year) we probably had more non-black viewers than ever. But the BET Awards don’t have to worry about that happening ever again. Can we (Black people) please stop proving everyone right! ! ! Thank God for President Obama – a shining beacon of hope that shows we indeed DO have class, grace and intelligence.

    • oh oh oh no Desiree, black people can put on fabulous events, the key is being given the budget and opportunity, FYI just because BET says Black Entertainment Television, don’t think it is all black-run. I am curious to see what TV1 a real black-owned station comes up with. I have no problem with a white, asian, latino, or any other person doing an MJ tribute, but I will not accept that my people can’t do it!

  15. you hit on so many key points hot mess for sure. As a” mama” of a teenager my daughter knows and loves her some marvin gaye, luther , M.J., anita baker and old school hip hop doug e fresh, mc lyte and her salt-n-pepa she has these artists on her ipod and listen to them regularly . and is heartbroken that Michael Jackson passed away in fact my earliest memory of her dancing and singing was MJs “Off the Wall” she was two years old. so we must help our children be multi- faceted . and vince i had the pleasure of being in attendance of your dj “genuis” keep doing what you do!!!!!
    God bless Kim

  16. Hey Vince
    I think you are being a little too critical about something that should be of no suprise to you, actually it was better than some previous award shows. The BET awards is what it is and always will be. Now days, the musical industry is full of of non-singers who are only good at “shuking and jiving” across stage. The BET network is nothing what it used to be and some of the things that are aired on this channel is very ignorant. They are only trying to appeal to the younger/popular crowd and so are Jamie foxx, etc this is how they make so much money…
    In the end, at least BET payed a tribute to Micheal given less time to plan…I wonder if these other popular networks will pay a live tribute to Micheal without bringing up his so called “Drug habbit, plastic face, his three home-broken children, accusatin of him molesting children and the one i hate the most comparing him to cocaine addicted, stealing music Elvis Presley….That all i asked for from BET last night and i appreciated that….By the way dont blame the mothers, blame BET for not doing better

  17. Good blog VA, well said and I fully agree! Let the music play and I’ll add on….TURN IT UP! My kids are 4 and 3….who knows what they’ll be listening too when they are 18-19, or even 29-30. But I bet you this much, they’ll know about MJ, BDP, ATCQ, The Plugs, Booker T & MGs, Ojays, Dilla, Pharcyde, Gill Scott, Jill Scott, etc. In fact, I’ll be handing my vinyl record collection (which grows weekly) and techniq 1200s over to them for safe keeping! Thats my way bro! I think President Obama should shut down BET indefinately. Is there anything positive about it now? After that awards show, you have shows glorifying rapper baby mamas, Monique glorifying over-eating and being proud of it, and other 30-min shows in the same. There is so much more that can be entertaining, yet positive……

  18. Shawn Oliver Says:

    You think very deeply!! I’m not going to give the overall show, the performances or some of the sideline antics (e.g. the “Baby Boy” impromptu skit) a pass, but the show was still about entertaining and NOT just a tribute to Mike.

    I really want to speak more to your last point regarding the lack of exposure that the current (i.e. young) artists have to the real “old school” music of our youth. I agree with you wholeheartedly that they don’t show a proper respect to it or themselves with their lyrics and song topics. The performance of The O’Jays last night was stellar as was the performance of Tyrese, Johnny Gill and Trey Songz (in fact, I gained a new respect for Trey last night). As I said to our mutual friend in Maryland last night, it’s amazing how a song that pays RESPECT to a woman, or women, is SO much better than the majority of the things that we hear on the radio today.

    I’m not gonna front, I like Drake’s songs, but last night showed why ticket sales of hip-hop concerts are down dramatically. The abuse of Auto-Tune has fooled today’s consumers into thinking that their favorite hip-hop artists can sing too!! 🙂 Then, when these same performers perform live, you realize that the king is truly not wearing any clothes!! In our day, singers sang and musicians played instruments…there were no backing tracks or explicit use of synthesizers to emulate other instrumentation. Ego aside, Kanye understood that on his “College Dropout” tour, thus he performed not with a DJ, an 808, and backing tracks, but with a mini-orchestra!! To this day, my favorite LL Cool J song is his “Unplugged” performance of “Jingling Baby” because of the acoustic backing with real instruments!!

    V, I know you love music because it’s your livelihood, I love music because it either takes me to a new place or reminds me a great place I was once upon a time. I just feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to witness some current artists who understand that true artistry is to do a song and make you feel like you did the first time you heard it. Last Thursday, my wife and I saw Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild, and Anthony Hamilton take an audience from here to there musically and left us exhausted and exhilarated at the same damn time!! So, there are some out there that still get “it”; unfortunately, they’re seemingly out-numbered by those in the industry (including those in the executive suites) that don’t!!

    As I reiterated to my wife on Thursday (to the extent that she probably didn’t want to hear it anymore), there ain’t nuthin’ like good live music!!

  19. NO! It was a great show! What a way to honor MJ

  20. Angeline Griffith Says:

    The entire country watched for a tribute to Michael Jackson and what they got was a bunch of black folk acting a mess. We missed our opportunity to shine as a proud people.

  21. passion Says:

    This my friend was excellent”) I agree 100% with everything you’ve said. “) It’s like your reading my mind”)

  22. Couldnt agree more…I used to laugh at how bad some of the ‘current’ music is…now it is just sad. I find myself comforted by a collection of “old skool (lol)” Cd’s and *gasp* albums.

    Keep up the good work and doing what you do!!

  23. This is absolutely awesome, I agree 50000% you would think that BET would have a little class and cut the coonery and bufoonery, I felt as if jamie foxx made far too light the loss of MJ, its certainly a celebration but it certainly could have been handled MUCH better. RIP MJ!

  24. Stepfanie Says:

    Ij completely agree on the end part about our young people not knowing about the better day in the music industry. But when it comes to the show, producing and making a show isn’t a 2 or 3 day thing. And one of the best pasted away 2 or 3 days ago. The only ones that know about how the BET awards was supposed to be is BET. Who knew MJ was gonna pass away? Who besides BET know whether MJ was gonna do something at the awards, we don’t know and can’t point blame at the show for there lack of interest. I mean, I feel it was amazing for them to put all that together in a mere 2 or 3 days. Pulling artist up on stage to do a tribute to the greatest, it take months to practice a fraction of MJ’s moves and get them just a little close. You may have not realized how much of an impact MJ had on the music industry but now you know and it threw the whole BET award show off. It could have been better of course, but as you saw a great person was lost and threw the award show off balance.

    But I do completely agree about the soulja boy thing…

  25. Leslie S. Hughes Says:

    Vince this is Simply FANTASTIC!! I couldn’t agree more!!
    Love you for this!! Keep up the good work!!

  26. iLLaNOise Says:

    Totally agree VA! That show just solidified why I don’t watch Award shows it’s always a mockery in my opinion… I thought Jay Z had the best performance of the night, everything else was sloppy – Kerri woulda been good but seemed really nervous…

    Not good at all though 2 thumbs down

  27. we have to get our younger people on the road to GOOD MUSIC…we have definitely been “entertained” lately!

  28. !azmine Says……I agree…still awaiting that Tribute to MJ.

  29. I was born by water from the essence of 2 Black Panthas, with 1 of them joining the MOVEment and a political prisoner since 8.
    Yet, after 30+ years of visiting a father behind walls and being raised by the aftermath of that love-joining called mother…I know/love/live in
    Lyrics.
    Because of my mama, I know all genres. Because of my father, I know the truest meaning behind Nina/Sarah/Miles/Tito/Chaka/EW&F so-FULL music.
    I am an entertainer, having hammed it up from Broadway to my living room. I breathe in lyrical fashion with music moving me along this journey called life.
    I am opposed to Desiree stating that blacks folks can’t do a tribute right cuz we’ve done it for so many years before. What we’re seeing is the current state of our collective being without the truest struggle for justice moving movements through music.
    Vince is that 1 philosopher DJ that can put keys to keyboard and get into my mind. With the minds on this page + a lil’ $s behind it, we could produce a much better awards show that included “homage” to Michael that was classier, cleaner and so much better than that debacle last night.
    The Revolution may not be televised, but I swear that neither will class-on-TV/Radio be available to the masses if WE continue to accept such non-premium programming. Thus, I will continue to create Black Entertainment for my youth in my home so that they know better when they face a lower standard world.

  30. may GOD directed and guide the minds of those that are fathers,mothers,aunts,uncles,singers, and actors to be a positive influence on life it self! i didnt watch the b.e.t. show, but ever ones opinion is respected and highly read.

  31. J Payne Says:

    You know what? I didn’t see it, and it seems to me that I should be thankful for that. I am sure I’d have been PISSED and yelling at the television, judging from your review (among others that breed the same sentiments).

    I am SURE it will run in syndication at least 100 times, so I will check it out just to educate myself on the talent-LESS performers that apparently made it to the stage. It’s a shame that on the tail of a truly painful loss of PURE talent and with the world watching, BET has again let folks down, and allowed buffoonery on stage! And then yeah…let’s add the consistent LACK of decent production as well. And please don’t EVEN let me get started on the RIDICULOUS shows they actually run on the channel. >:-(

    But ya know what…it IS the parents! You know what’s sad…I have a 30-something-year-old friend who’s MOTHER (55+) taught HER the “Staynky Leg”.

    And…there ya have it RIGHT THERE! Nuff said!

  32. Ra'Mara Says:

    VA that was very well written-you hit EVERY MARK!!

  33. aka04kb Says:

    Vince, I loved the commentary and I agree 100%…The show was bad plain and simple and they would have done better to just have the show without trying to dress it up as a tribute. That is what made it even worse. Michael is definitely rolling over in his grave, and the Jackson family should sue BET for defamation of character.

  34. The awards, in short, was a mess. I haven’t watched it in years because I outgrew “shucking and jiving” entertainment. But I watched last night, like so many others, hoping to watch a tasteful tribute to Michael Jackson. I was disappointed

    I agree wholeheartedly with your post.

    No one mentioned the pre-teen video vixens dancing and popping on stage while Lil Wayne and crew sang “I wish I could “hug” every girl in the world.” Just sad. What’s worse is that they have no idea.

  35. Kimberly Oglesby Says:

    VA first of all thank you for your insight and speaking for a segment of the masses. I don’t have the time right now to go into specific details about that minstrel show I viewed yesterday but I will in the next 24 hours. I feel so strongly about this that I feel an open letter to BET being taken out of the USA Today paper and should be taken out. If money were no options. Will revisit this later. Thank you.

  36. Samuel J. Martin III Says:

    bet.net

    black entertainment television
    niggah entertainment television

  37. I couldn’t agree more

  38. Chinita Says:

    I was not impressed with the MJ tribute of the Awards, only enjoyed a few performances. I agree with one of the respondents on this blog. BET should have done a simple acknowledge segment and dedicate a show maybe in the next week as a tribute to Michael. Some may say we as a people are always more critical on each other and that may be true. They get an “E” for effort. We need to be critical, we are the minority and things don’t come as easy for us…we have to try harder to shine-just the way it is. Tough love! Even if they kept the same talent the structure would have made a big difference. Yes, it was short notice, but we are talking about Michael Jackson, not MC Hammer (no disrespect). There is absolutely no excuse for catastrophe of what they even called a MJ tribute award show. Get it together.

    Your passion is obviously deeper than mine Vince, but I feel you…well said.

  39. Nichelle ma Belle Says:

    Couldn’t agree more! 100% Old skool 4ever! Well written VA!

  40. Thank you for taking the time to memorialize your thoughtful, accurate critique and empowering conclusion. I am inspired by your “call to action” and my first “act” was to share this blog entry with my teenage daughter, who immediately upon reading it, paused and informed me that she had seen a commercial for an Earth, Wind & Fire concert and asked if i would take her and some friends. I was thrilled by this request from a child who loves MJ and Prince, but has given up on contemporary Hip Hop/R&B in favor of other genres (Rock & Metal–80’s street punk, & surf) so I am looking forward to her cultivating a love and appreciation for REAL R&B that she will share with her friends.

    You have also reminded me that as a young urban professional I have a responsibility to educate AND support programs and indviduals who are dedicated to saving the Arts in our public schools and city recreational centers…You are so right – if we all take a step in the right direction we can make a difference.

  41. Wow, VA your blog hit very close to home for me. First let me say that I was very disappointed with the BET Award/MJ Tribute.

    I truly believe that BET (Black Embarrassing Television) miscalculated their ability to present a gracious and honorable tribute to one of the world’s greatest entertainers, Michael Jackson. It was a half-ass attempt on their part to try and pull together the show so quickly.

    God forbid, but what if Stevie Wonder or Aretha Franklin had past instead of MJ. Would Stevie and Aretha be honor with C-level talent that couldn’t carry a note if you put it in a bucket for them? No legend is deserving of that ridiculous charade of characters that performed that night.

    Where was Dianna Ross, Quincy, Whitney, and Barry Gordy? Perhaps they did not want to be a part of the buffoonery that was exhibited on BET. They were at The ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Awards the night after Michael died. Barry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo, Alicia Keys and Timbaland all participated in a brief yet tasteful tribute to MJ. And then there was BET (Black Embarrassing Television).

    I am a big fan of Jamie Fox but his vulgar tone and gestures were not clever or witty, they were inappropriate. The programs level of decorum was dismal to say the least. Musical has-beens (Keith Sweat) and self promoting rappers (Lil Wayne) dominated the majority of the show. On a more positive note I enjoyed Maxwell and Ne-Yo. Alicia Keys was beautiful and very well spoken.

    Okay Vince I hope you can appreciate this story. I am the mother of 3 young adults (21, 20, and 18) all of them were exposed to a wide array of music from Classical to Country, Alternative to R&B and of course… Hip-Hop. They have a healthy balance of all music genres thanks to their MAMA. I also have an eight year old son (long story). My eight year old son asked me the night of MJ’s death, “Why are you so sad?” At the time, I was on the computer searching for all of my favorite MJ songs and videos. I told my son that I was sad because MJ’s music has been a part of my life since I was a little girl and his music has special meaning to me. I also told him I was sad because Michael Jackson died. My beautiful baby boy looks at me and says, “I understand Mom, kinda like how I would feel if Soulja Boy died.” When do you listen to Soulja Boy, I asked and he said all the kids at school sing his songs and do the dances at recess (note to self find a new school) I made him watch every Michael Jackson video I could find that night. Of course his favorite is Thriller. I am also signing him up for a music appreciation class. Mothers are the incubators of the future. Talk to your kids. Raise them and cultivate them.

  42. HEDSPACE Says:

    Black music, as well as black music shows such as the BET Awards, are picking at the bones of its own carcass, and as you alluded to in your excellent blog here, has been doing so for a long time.

    So much of what you said is so DEAD ON CORRECT. It seems that no one in any aspect of the music industry “gets it” at all. This lack of respect and education of music history will only serve to implode black music as a whole. Of course, we KNOW there are some artists out there making top shelf, quality music and videos…but unless exploited females and gold and platinum chains and grills are in the contract, these artists get no play whatsoever.

    When i’m at work, i play all kinds of music, but especially older music with the sole intention of doing exactly what you mentioned, educating the younger folks about the ones who came before. Of course,this is done much to the chagrin of the younger staff members, but they tolerate it nonetheless. I feel like its important that these younguns are exposed to this “older” or “old school” music because a significant amount of the crap that’s on the radio and video airwaves nine times out of ten came via courtesy of an “old school” hook from a 70s or 80s classic.

    As far as the black awards shows are concerned, i gave up on those ages ago, as there seems to be this desire to be haplessly irresponsible with the production quality. The idea seems to be more flash (or is that trash?), less substance. Perhaps the people in charge of putting on these programs feel that they need to cater to the characteristics and qualities of the people who actually watch these shows. Perhaps we as black people have given them the green light to assess us in this way, given the kinds of music we request on the airwaves and buy online. Perhaps the programmers are not to be blamed after all for what was seen on the BET Awards broadcast…

    Perhaps WE are to blame for the debaucherous display of sloppiness and irresponsibility…

    Perhaps WE need to step the hell up as a people and realize that we are not the “playaz” in the game, but are indeed being “played”!

  43. Sa'Rah Valentine Says:

    Didn’t see it Vince but I guess from what I’m reading that was a good thing!

  44. Fireman Bahb Says:

    Bahb Peters…… http://adsupport.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=rockthespace.fan&sproutid=GgD-OohVBqU7PHIU….. Daddycation is the name of this song I’m sending you the link for…My group is the New Style players…i’m not looking for you to hook me up or anything…I just thought it would be okay to let you check out something different because i hear you LOUD and CLEAR bro.

  45. Sypriss Says:

    I am not a mother, therefore I do not know what it is like to raise a responsible, respectful Black Boy into manhood. However, I am curious, why are mothers always at the receiving end of someone’s accusatory finger when children grow up “wrong” , what about fathers? Where was Soulja Boy’s father when he was talking about “Superman dat Ho” ? Not to absolve women of responsibility because clearly the hands in the air that are cheering him on and encouranging his foolishness belong to Black women. But pointing fingers and placing blame is not going to fix the issues that plague the Black community. We have all contributed to this mess in some way and it is going to take ALL of us (not just mamas) to fix it!

    • I used Mama as a euphemism for guardianship. I agree with you totally that fathers are as responsible if there is a father in the picture. I didn’t grow up with my father, so Mama is my natural default. Your point is totally valid. Thanks for the clarification!! VA

  46. Cassandra Bell Says:

    Ahh the Ojays tribute was good… LMAO!!!! You a mess boy….

  47. Andrea Horton Says:

    I know a lot of people have commented on this over the last few weeks, but this is very well stated. I remain embarrassed that WE could not produce a better tribute to a man who was such a giant and without whom there would be no Lil’ Wayne, Drake or any of the rest of them. (As a side note, I was quite appalled by Wayne’s performance with the 12-year old girls on stage. WTF was that?).
    You are right about the quality of the music, though I constantly struggle with trying to force “our” music on teenagers and allowing them to have their space/voice. I think most of the stuff they listen to is garbage, but I know my mom felt that way about house music and A Tribe Called Quest too. I think the thing that is missing is balance. We had N.W.A. and X Clan and Public Enemy. A bigger problem with this is that kids have no ability to filter the good from the crap, or to understand artistic expression. Instead of art imitating life, life starts to imitate art and they believe that whatever these “artists” talk about is real and try to live those things (a different blog, I know).
    Anywho, I’m enjoying the blog. Keep it up!

  48. Great Blog. Just not sure why I am up in the middle of the night reading this. 🙂 🙂

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