Archive for June, 2010
I watch the BET Awards show every year. Multiple reasons:
I’m almost (not quite) completely ignorant of current hip-hop, so this catches me up and gives me a line on what I want to go spend some time listening to and watching. I’m old. I cut my teeth on Public Enemy. ’nuff said
I LOVE R&B.
I love women rappers.
I first heard rap long before I knew anything about hip-hop culture. Then, it was street rhymin’ back when I was in graduate school (late 80′s). Poppin’/lockin’ were already well-established even in the Midwest. Friendly competition – it was all about who could outdance/outrhyme everyone else. I spent hours and hours down on Vine St., watching and listening. (Any Cincy crew in the house?) I was the only white chick for 2 miles. I was down there so much that I ended up with protection from guys who figured I was crazy and needed it. Thank God.
I’ve got stepkids aged 21, 24, 26 and 27. And a nephew, aged 21 who thought he was Eminem during the bad ol’ days. Questions?
For this year:
I adore Queen Latifah. She started as a rapper dissin’ all the “hate women” crap and still made it in what was totally a man’s world. Now, she’s the Cover Girl spokeswoman – a long way from Cheryl Tiegs (look her up). Along the way she did a turn in the filmed version of “Chicago” that made me think about her as a latter-day Sophie Tucker (look her up too). I think she’s only just getting started.
El Debarge back on the stage. Alot. Kickin’ it old school.
I’m still getting my head wrapped around Marshall Mathers III (aka Eminem) as a reformed, in-recovery addict. He’s clearly moved his stuff to a new plane (backed up tonight by a gospel choir) but I’m still reeling from almost a decade of misogyny. What can I say, I’m trying. Boy’s got talent and brains and a way with words. Time will tell.
They’re making Prince the Lifetime Award recipient. I grew up with James Brown and Motown -The Supremes, Martha Reeves, the Jackson 5 – but my “latter-day” sensibilities were all about MJ…and Prince. I paid a ton of money while starving in grad school for floor seats to make it to the Purple Rain tour. I stood on a folding chair (my first husband playing a supporting role) with a lighter in my hand like about 20,000 other people, singing “whoo-hoo-ooh-ooh” as the man conjured Jimmy Hendrix with that white Strat – but with a personal talent all his own that burned oh so bright. I still listen to the album – er, CD – er, iTunes download.
John Legend getting the Humanitarian Award. Following in MJ’s footsteps – with a few of his own.
Other highlights – Alicia Keys makes it absolutely clear that pregnant women can be as sexy as hell all laid out on top of a piano.
Patti LaBelle kicks off her shoes and does Purple Rain. Prince catches one of the shoes and holds it over his head as she stands in front of him belting it out onstage. OMG.
After last year’s show (a “tribute” to MJ, who died 3 days before the awards ceremony – BET scrambled to rewrite and restage the show and didn’t _quite_ pull it off) – Chris Brown finally did his tribute to MJ – singing and dancing like the uber-fan and dancing talent he is – and completely lost it during Man in the Mirror. He’s got a long way to go to overcome the damage done over the past year, but I guess I’m a sucker for second chances. (And then, there’s MJ himself. Breezy wasn’t the only one bawling. A whole other blog, there.)
Finally – it’s June 27 – my birthday. I spent it following the precarious health of my mother, worrying about whether I could get a plane ticket back to Cincinnati with no warning, doing paperwork, thanking my NASA MOD (Mission Operations Directorate) friends who are on standby to watch apartment and take care of Tigger, and thinking about the upcoming week and NASA politics. So I had it coming – a little bit of celebration; a 1/2 bottle of sangiovese and the BET 2010 Awards Show. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.
There is nothing on cable, film or TV – NOTHING – that even comes close to the combination of energy and talent on the annual BET Awards when they get it right.
And tonight, IMHO, they did.