BET AWARDS 2011: Bringing Back American Soul Music & Missing the Boat on Truly Representing Global Blackness

As much as most people love to hate on BET or we, Black folks worldwide seem to have a love/hate realtionship with ourselves & those who we pay & are sanctioned to represent us in the world ; I never see anyone coming with real solutions & being the change they want to see, so with that said kudos to BET for bringing the music back & showing us a way forward as we honor & commence Black Music Month!

The performances of so many were thrilling & showed a much needed return of our Soul Singers! A few standouts were Jill Scott -back , bold, grown & as beautiful as ever! Ledisi , Ledisi, Ledisi -Wow is all I can say -this true soul singer gets it right every time & she made our wonderful Vanilla Child-Teena Marie– proud from heaven.  Mary J.Blige lacing us with her classic ‘ol skool’ jams & standing toe to toe with the great & beautiful Anita Baker in humility, pride & power, while showing us why she will always be Queen of Hip-Hop Soul was simply Wikked!

The Pattie Labelle tribute was by far the best highlight of the night showcasing the beauty & longevity of our elders in this beautiful God given gift of music that serves one’s soul! Grand Dame of gospel, Shirley Caesar, the incomparable Gladys Knight & ofcourse Miss Pattie herself looked beautiful, dressed for the occasion & once again led by example to show the youngins that class, hard work, perseverance, pride in your appearance, nurturing your talents and being a true artist can bring you the type of longevity in a survival of the fittest type of industry with one too many fly by night entertainers who work on their celebrity more than their craft. Kelly Rowland can shout from the mountain top that she is “Winning” this time around & as the song says “You can’t stop me…Baby I’mma be your motivation“! Kelly has come into her own with the confidence of a woman who is fit & ready for this year to be her year- take no prisoners style- Kudos Kelly -we support you- get it girl!  Sorry King Bey , you  still remain the beloved but we’ve seen all you have to give in your queendom & kingdom of sequince, gold, body suits, grand stage performances & the usual dance steps, but Kelly is giving us something fresh & new that we have not seen from her already & the streets are not only talking but loving it! It’s time for Ebony Princesses to unanbashingly  shine with class, beauty & graciousness in mainstream global media, while adoring their femininity- fit, proud & powerful because the blonding of Black is getting to be a one sided story too often told, which novelist Chimamanda Adichie explains as The Danger of a Single Story!  If we as a culture say we support & love the multifaceted  story of ourselves then it must be reflective in our actions toward change. Love is a Verb!  (Excuse having to sit thru the singing chippendale Trey Songz to get to Kelly-LOL!)

Marsha Ambrosius, Miss “Late Nights & Early Morning‘s” powerfully intoxicating Al Green take em’ to church & the bedroom at the same time & have em’ screaming for “Jesus” -performance of Patti Labelle’s “If Only  You Knew“- had me thinking if the world only knew how great & rare singers like Marsha are. The grand Diva of them all Mr. Cee-Lo Green keeps having the best year ever as he comes for the crowns of Liberace & Elton John all at the same time, while showing us just how much soul he has pent up in that round figure of his as he counts & rounds out zeros in dollar bills & Euros too! There is no voice in gospel that can take the crown of  Miss “No Charge“- Queen Shirley Ceaser -she’s been in the game for a long time & she is not giving up the mic anytime soon. At the age of 73, like a bottle of wine she gets better with age just like everyone’s favorite soul diva -Pattie Labelle, 5 decades  in the business later, at the age of 67  she can still out sing, out dress, out class & outlast most if not all the soul singers of today who are half her age. If you are a true lover of music you will always love & need & want Pattie Labelle. We HEART you Miss Pattie!

BET always brings it hard with the gospel because if there is one thing that Black folks know is church & the music of the church, but this time around  the  gospel performance was lackluster & I was not jumping out of my chair exalting “Amen” for being taken to church in my living room as I have with past performances. As far as the fashion– BET really needs to implement a dress code for those grown folks who just refuse to have some pride & class in their apperance & who just can not seem to comprehend that there is a time & place for everything . Well there’s never a time & place for grown men to be showing their underpants to the world, but we can only fight ignorance & ill teachings 1 day at a time- like the global financial crisis it took a long time to get us to this point of self destruction & self loathing -so it may take us twice as long to get back on the right track. It was painful to watch the insanity of grown women who have no friends to tell them that when you are of a certain age & you gain weight in so many places without physical fitness being part of your everyday routine- you can not wear certain things because you only come off looking like somebody’s auntie who refuses to accept her age & weight & who desperately needs to be Free from the uncomfortable packed in snausages look in trying to stuff all that junk in a trunk that is already overloaded. Nia Long looked beautifully radiant &  with a pregnant belly & all was able to outshine, outclass & out dress most of the women in attendance. If that is what pregnancy  looks like , I will do it 100 times over! As for the not so gentle just because you pack a stick between your legs does not a man make -gentlemen, who couldn’t have enough class & self respect to dress appropriately for the occasion -All I can say is just have a look at Idris Elba, his career & how well respected he is in the industry globally- it takes more than talent to earn respect & longevity in career & life.  The way too tight, overly exposed, overly shiny disco ball , blinged out, pants on the ground, everyone rocking the same ridiculous shade of Beyonce blonde that only really works for Beyonce -if that-  is getting old & needs to stop immediately! We need to take some pride back into our culture, our appearance & our lives by bringing back some class & charm!

As for it being Chris Brown’s night-it was well deserved-we forgive so many for so much worse & if we are all God fearing people & so called Christians -then let the young man live & have the chance to make peace with his maker on judgement day! As far as that flub with the viewer’s choice award -I really can’t help but be cynical that BET producers may have done this so called “human error” intentionally with a poor fan left to take the heat just to guarantee press & tongues wagging about the award show  the next day. I hope it is not a fact, but in this media thirsty society that we live in, I don’t put anything past anyone doing the unthinkable or even the unforgivable in selling their soul to the devil just to be a trending topic on twitter. Chris Brown’s talents are incomparable & we do need him in the game because as far as talent & performance symbiotically blending together in greatness of what makes future legends , no one can touch him & he proves it every time. Usher has already lost the crown & can’t seem to find his place in his grown man-ness that grown women of his age want to see, as he belts out passionate grown man music like his Prince like  “do it to me“. If Justin Beiber is his air apparent then we definitely need Chris Brown in the game!

As far as recognizing that Black Music, Black Entertainment & Black People are global , BET continues to get a failing grade each & every time. No one would even know that there is a BET International with access to the world of Black music & entertainment outside of the 50 United States of America. It is really a shame as the world gets more global, Black people in America always seem to be the last to embrace global blackness, just as Elle Magazine was first to put Alek Wek on a cover while Essence turned her down until after most of their mainstream  competitors showed them that yes- this beautiful Black African is relevant in mainstream America & worldwide , while Ebony Magazine finally found a reason to put her on the cover to tell us all that Black is Back ,as we all wondered when it ever left. I guess when mainstream award shows & radio start awarding & playing more music & films from the African continent & her Diaspora outside of the US, maybe then BET & others who are supposed to represent Blackness will see the relevance! Until then global Africa will keep forging forward with or without you & kudos to bringing back the soul of Black music in America & showing that this year the soul singers are taking back the Mic in truly honoring Black Music Month!

For My Global Fusionists, here are the Nominees & Winners for the International acts that were not worthy of live BET broadcast even if it meant canceling some of the tomfoolery to show BET’s movement toward a more global perspective. We could have done without the usual Trey Songz  multiple shirtless performances & Rick Ross -damn how many times did we really need to hear him perform. The Super Eagle Nation of Nigeria took the award home for best international act-  going to both Mr. “Fall In love”  & newly minted member of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music family, D’Banj &  Mr. I took the African Queen global- 2Face Idbia, who both came in dressed to impress as African Kings with global grown man swag!

BET Best International Act(Africa) Winner. If these are the lyrics & sentiments of Future Global Africa then Africa is Winning! Africa is the Future -Don’t Let anyone tell u differently! If ♥ 4 Nation, Family,Craft, Self, Mama Africa & ♥ is a crime Den I Want 2 B Wanted, If ♥ Is A Crime I’m Willing 2 B Hunted,Everytime Dat I Look Into Ur Eyes I See Fire In There, & If U Look Into My Eyes U See Desire In There,Keep D Fire Burning! To Whom Much Is Given ..Much Is Expected… Dedicated to the  Global Daughters of  Yaa Asantewaa…You Are Worthy! There Are Many Ways To The Dream… MUSIC IS A WEAPON!

There’s Been A Lot Of Toasting, Lot Of Guys Hve Been Up To Her But She Told Them She Was Waiting, For The One That God Sent To Fulfill Her Kind Of Craving, A Special Kind Of Loving, One With Luv Dat Undastanding, Come Rain Come Shining, Ppl Started 2 Say Dat She Wanted More Dan Mr. Rite, All Dat She Want Is A Man Dat Sees D Lite, Dey Say She’s A Fool 4 Being Uptight, All Dat She Want Is Good Luv No Be Fight, Special Kind Of Girl Hard 2 Come By, Dis Kind Of Girl Na Him I Want 2 Make My Wife, U R D One, Say No More, Don’t Bother About What D Ppl Say, Cos I Say

[Chorus:]
Everytime Dat I Look Into Ur Eyes I See Fire In There(Fire), And If U Look Into My Eyes U See Desire In There(Desire), Gal If Luv Is Crime Den I Want 2 B Wanted, If Luv Is A Crime I’m Willing 2 B Hunted, Got A Lot Of Respect 4 U Cos Ur Kind Is So Rare(So Rare), It’s Kind Of Hard 2 Imagine But I Know (U R Out There)2ce, If Luv Is A Crime Then I Wnt 2 B Wanted, If Luv Is A Crime I Wnt 2 B Hunted.

[Verse 2:]
She Said 2 Me Do U Wanna B D Last Man Standing, She Said 2 Me Do U Wanna B D One Dem Complimenting, Oh Yeah, Gal I Wanna B Ur Beginning & Ur Ending, Oh, I Wanna B D Only 1 Dat U B Sending, I Can’t Believe She’s Still A Virgin, Lots Of Guys Hve Been Up 2 Her But There Was No Compromising, She’d Been Strong, She’d Been Keeping Herself Until D Day Of Her Wedding, Under D Right Ceiling, With D Right Person, A Person Deserving Of Her Special Kind Of Loving…

[Chorus]

[Bridge:]
Keep D Fire Burning, Burning, Burning, Keep D Fire Burning Keep It Burning, If Love Is A Crime, If Love Is A Crime.See, Everytime Dat I Look Into Ur Eyes I See Fire In There, And If U Look Into My Eyes U See Desire In There, Girl If Love Is A Crime, If Love Is A Crime [Till Fade]

[ These are If Love Is A Crime Lyrics on http://www.lyricsman

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