Blazing Hot: The 2013 BET Awards
The City of Angels was on fire as the 2013 BET Awards exploded from the Nokia Theatre this past Sunday night.
Chris Brown opened the show with his hit “Fine China”. With a set complete with flashy Michael Jackson inspired chorography, he exploded into a medley of other songs from his current album, including “Don’t Think They Know” featuring the late R&B princess Aaliyah.
Soon after, host Chris Tucker took the stage dancing to the music that was provided by Ray Chew’s band. In true Mr. Tucker fashion, he candidly poked fun at the audience members, including R&B sensation Miguel and fellow comedian and former host Kevin Hart.
Then it was time for awards. Before Iron Man’s Don Cheadle presented the first award of the evening to Miguel for Best R&B Male Pop Artist, he dedicated the evening’s festivities to an ailing Nelson Mandela.
With a stage boldly decorated in red and black, and scantily clad female dancers in black, Robin Thicke, T.I and Pharrell Williams gave a rousing performance of their hit “Blurred Lines“
Accomplished actresses Angela Basset and Gabrielle Union arrived to present the award for Best New Artist, which was won by rising hip hop star, Kendrick Lamar. Surprisingly, Lamar happened to be M.I.A. to accept his award. Maybe this was because he was backstage prepping for his performance with Neo-soul songstress Erykah Badu for their performance of his hit “B***h Don’t Kill My Vibe”.
Shortly before the exciting Lamar/Badu collaboration, actor/comedian Wayne Brady presented Olympic Gold Medalist Gabrielle Douglass with the Young Stars Award.
Host Chris Tucker returned to the stage to share endearing memories of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. During his speech he did an impromptu performance of Jackson’s 1983 hit, “Human Nature” As the crowd roared with laughter, they got ready for more surprises.
Supported by an army of male and female singers who walked down the center isle, R-Kelly blew the roof off with his performance. Singing snippets of his biggest hits acapella, the army of singers set the tone for the R&B singer/songwriter and super producer. Once Kels appeared on stage, he continued with another medley of hits that made him the “King of 90s R&B”. As the crowd (especially the women) swooned with excitement, Kels belted out hit after hit, including “Ignition”, “Your Body’s Callin”, and “Bump and Grind”. Due to a time crunch, he ended his set abruptly. Despite this, it was beautifully nostalgic.
Actress/correspondent LaLa Anthony and actress Meagan Good presented the album for Best Gospel Artist to Mary Mary. Decked in a risqué’ royal blue gown, Mrs. Devon Franklin better known as Mrs Good – her ensemble was reminiscent of Jennifer Lopez’s revealing Versace dress worn at the 52nd Grammy Awards.
Actor/ Comedian Cedric the Entertainer presented basketball star Lebron James and Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglass with the awards for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year.
As the hilarious Jamie Foxx accepted the Best Actor award, he remained humble. Clad in all white with a T-shirt, with the image of the late Trayvon Martin, Foxx joked around and danced with an overly energetic Kevin Hart while also mentioning Nelson Mandela. He said, “We want to take a moment and send our prayers and thoughts to a man who literally changed the world”. “This evening we would like to offer prayers and support and hope to the extraordinary Nelson Mandela and his family.”
Soon, the cast of the Best Man’s Holiday, which was also the cast of 1999’s The Best Man, minus Taye Diggs, appeared to present Nicki Minaj with the best female Hip Hop artist Award.
Actresses Taraji P. Henson and nine year old Quvenzhane Wallis shared a comedic moment as they presented Best Male Hip Hop Artist to Kendrick Lamar.
Decked in a black Sherri Hill hi-low gown, Olympian Gabrielle Douglass presented hip hop artist J-Cole as he performed his songs “Crooked Smile” and “Powertrip” with Miguel.
The View’s Sherri Sheppard gave a remembrance speech for performers that we lost this year, such as rapper Chris Kelly, martial artist Jim Kelly and musician Bobby “Blue” Bland.
She then presented a performance by actress/ Gospel songstress Tamala Mann whose powerful voice earned her a standing ovation.
Classily dressed in a silver ensemble, BET’s CEO Debra L. Lee presented Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade with the Humanitarian Award. Joined onstage by his parents and sister, Wade candidly gave his heartwarming acceptance speech, and lastly thanked his girlfriend Gabrielle Union. He referred to her as his beautiful Black queen.
Chris Brown received the Fandemonium award, which was his fourth win of the evening.
2 Chainz then took the stage with fellow rappers ASAP, and Kendrick Lamar for an energetic performance their hit, “F**kin Problems”. The song also featured Drake who did not attend the show. “F**kin Problems” also won for “Best Collaboration“.
The last award of the evening for Best Movie was presented by the cast of The Game minus Wendy Raquel Robinson and Cody Bell. It was won by 2012’s Think Like a Man.
Stand out performances:
The show’s performances were explosive this year as a few artists appeared onstage more than once with a plethora of awesome collaborations.
The Charlie Wilson tribute set the stage on fire! India Arie, Jamie Foxx and the incomparable Stevie Wonder kicked off the tribute with individual performances of Mr. Wilson’s hits. The 60 -year -old soul sensation was then joined onstage by Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion and Pharell Williams. As the audience danced and sang along, together the fabulous foursome performed a medley of memorable Gap Band hits. The former Gap Band front man and successful solo artist was also the recipient of this show’s Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award.
Emerging neo-soul artist Curtis Fields literally played an acoustic guitar using his cell phone. All I can say is, you had to see it to believe it.
Ciara and Nicki Minaj took the stage for Ciara’s new single “I’m Out“, soon after Ci-Ci- performed a sultry rendition of her R&B smash “Body Party”.
After a clip of the November release The Best Man’s Holiday was shown, Miguel took the stage to perform his hit, “How Many Drinks” Joined by Kendrick Lamar, the singer’s choreography was accented with Prince inspired splits.
One of the evening’s main highlights was when Mariah “Mimi” Carey took the stage to perform her new hit “Beautiful”. Carey sparkled immaculately in a glamorous white gown with an iridescent bottom, which was accented with silver rhinestones. As she stood in a glass case, which was accented by the golden ballroom themed stage, her duet partner Miguel performed his backing vocals off stage. Many speculated that she lip synced but who knows. It was a grand performance.
In an instant, the show became an island festival as Reggae icons Dawn Penn, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Beenie Man and Elephant Man electrified the audience when they gave a colorful performance of reggae classic hits.
Backed by female dancers clad in black and white, pop sensation and Cover Girl Janelle Monae and Neo-Soul songstress Erykah Badu ended the three and a half hour-plus event with an exciting performance of their song “Q.U.E.E.N.”
Of all things seen and heard, excitement was an understatement. If you missed it this year, I bet that you won’t miss it next year.