The 2011 BET Awards, Or The Vindication Of Chris Brown
6:58: High-five to the Houston Press for flying us out to Los Angeles to cover the BET Awards. Cool move. Thus far, it's been extra fun. We ran into Kobe and, um, saw some people filming a movie, and... uh... there were some angels or something, and... there... there was... eh, shit.
We're not in L.A. We're at home, sitting on a couch with unstable support springs and countless pencil/crayon/marker/pen marks on it (pencil marks on fabric don't erase as easily as you'd assume they would). About 25 feet to the right is a bathroom cabinet that's missing a door because it was recently yanked off the hinges by an eager four-year-old. And nine or so feet to the left is a toybox that, in all likelihood, has various bits of foodstuffs mixed in with the cars and planes and motorcycles and so on. Flat root beer on deck.
Booyah. Just like the green room at the awards, to be sure.
7:01: Ah, starting with a Mary J. Blige concert. Blige is still tied for our Favorite Female Singer of All Time award (which, we're just certain, she'll say has made it all worth it). She runs through a few favorites. A promising beginning.
7:14: Kevin Hart, everyone's favorite tiny comedian (Katt Williams is for shit), is hosting. Cool. He'll certainly be more entertaining than the last two traffic cones that hosted (Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah). He came out to Lil Wayne's "6'7"." Funny.
7:25: The first rapping performance is about to start. Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Ace Hood, Wayne.
7:26: Guys, come on. Rapping over your own beats is never a good idea, even (or especially) if you're Rick Ross.
7:28: Why does Ace Hood look like his face didn't fully develop while he was in the womb? Weird, weird, creepy, weird.
7:29: ...Aaaaaannnddd there's Ricky's man-bosom. It's not a party until you've seen Rick Ross's nipples. Man, they look like giant chocolate pepperonis.
7:31: Quick cut to Jaden and Willow Smith, Will Smith's little starlets, enjoying the peformance. Those kids are either really awesome or really awful.
7:34: An award: the Youngster Award or something. Winner...
7:34:05: ...a tie. Of course. Willow and Jaden.
7:37: BTW, Chris Brown won the evening's first award (Best Male R&B), noteworthy for two reasons: 1) He was wearing a bedazzled bandanna around his neck, as well as jean shorts that had "BBC" spray-painted on his crotch (of course). Glad to see that he took the time to get all dolled up for the show; 2) He's up for several awards tonight, which means he has, potentially, the opportunity to wipe the I Don't Care How Perfect Your Teeth Are, You Punched Rihanna In The Face stigma almost completely away.
7:40: Hart's best contribution thus far: A parody of those wife-based reality TV shows. Is that Bobby Brown? He looks healthy.
7:42: They're giving out the Best Female Rapper award. Is there any way that Nicki Minaj doesn't win this? Has there ever been a greater lock for a bet? The nominees she's up against: Diamond (Who?), Cymphonique (Who? Also: Terrible name) and Lola Monroe (Who?). And they're announcing the winners...
7:42:05: Nicki wins. The first thing that she says when she gets up there: "Wow, I can't believe I won." The crowd OHHHs and she tries to cover it up with some nonsense about a staircase and Lil Wayne. Whatevs. She has a point: No females are fuckin' with Minaj right now. None. Not a one. None.
7:46: Hey, Stringer Bell and Jill Scott are on stage. Jill Scott is amazing. Also: Can someone else please make a Jill Scott As Avon Barksdale joke here? Thanks.
7:55: Is Kevin Hart wearing a letterman T-shirt? Where do you even buy those? Is there a store that specializes in making shirts that look like jackets? Is it called The Ridiculous Shit store? Cool.
7:55:30: Steve Harvey is going to win the Humanitarian award later. Cool. Has he officially become an all-time great black comedian? Did he sneak in there yet?
7:56: Oh snap. The Five Heartbeats are on stage. Will Smith looks extra happy.
7:58: The Best Group Award. Nominees: Cali Swag. Diddy-Dirty Money. N.E.R.D. New Boyz. Travis Porter. This is an especially weak category. We're not even going to tell you who wins because, really, the only way you care about this is if you're in one of these groups, in which case, you know whether or not you won. So, congrats. Or, better luck next year.
8:07: Chris Brown is about to perform. Brown is always a lock for a good show. And here he comes... What the shit? He's wearing a suit with exaggerated shoulder pads and pants with gigantic knee pads. This will almost certainly end up on Yahoo! with one of those "Chris Brown's Devastating Fashion Faux Pas: See What He Wore" impossible-to-not-click links. Did he really look at those pants and say, "Yep, these look amazing"? Also: Will anyone out there be brave enough to make a "Those Pants Are Worse Than Beating Rihanna" jokes tomorrow?
8:09: Ahahahaha. So while Brown is performing, he gets to the part in "Look At Me Now" where he says the words "shit" and "toupee" real close to each other. The censor guy just missed bleeping out "shit" and bleeped out "toupee" instead. Don't you dare say toupee, Chris Brown. Don't you dare.
8:09: Ooh, Busta is up. Behind him: Masked monsters, giant eyes flash on the giant screens that bookend him. Cool, Cool.
8:13: Best Collaboration: Chris Brown's "Look At Me Now." Brown is feeling good about himself. You can see the relief on his face. He makes a sideways joke about his famed TV blow up and then lets Wayne and his croaky charm swoop in.
8:16: Sportsman of the Year award: Michael Vick. Okay, so the theme of tonight is pretty much set, then?
8:21: Alicia Keys is onstage. Four things here: 1) The first thing the wife says when they announce Keys' name: "She's a home wrecker." Do all women hate Alicia Keys? We mean, yeah, Swiss Beats' ex-wife does, but do they all?
2) Keys is performing a new song we're assuming is called "Typewriter." They're playing the words behind her on a screen as she sings. She bellows out "...when you're gone." The screen behind her reads:"...when you gone." Whoops.
3) Bruno Mars shows up for a quick cameo. Um, what race is he? Is he even human?
4) Where does Alicia Keys rate in the Top Female Vocalists of the Last Two Generations conversation? Is she in there? Can she keep up with Whitney? Mariah? Blige? Erykah? Jill Scott? Why don't more people talk about this?
8:28: Hey, who should get to introduce the winner for Best Male Hip-Hop. "Ummm... what about Beiber?" Perfect.
8:28:30: The nominees: B.o.B., Drake, Wayne, Rick, Kanye. Two things here too: 1) Um, so we'll just act like Eminem is dead then? Cool; 2) This is a monster category. B.o.B. is the weakest, most least famous guy here, and he was NOMINATED FOR FIVE GRAMMYS.
8:29: Winner... Kanye. Malibooyah. He's not there, but did anyone really expect him to be? He's a little too With It for that, right?
8:36: A Kwame Kilpatrick joke. And Chris Brown is back again. This has turned into The Vindication of Chris Brown show.
8:37: A less-than-delicate conversation just had:
Wife: I guess it's okay to be Chris Brown again. Us: It appears so. Did he spend a long enough amount of time being hated? Wife: When did the Rihanna thing happen? Us: 2009. Wife: Yeah, that was long enough. Rihanna is annoying. Were it someone else, it might've been longer. Us: Really? Who could he have beat that would've made demanded a longer public shaming? Wife: ...Beyonce. Or Oprah. Or anyone white. Us: Dang. Who could he have beat that would've required a shorter sentence? Wife: Who's that girl Wiz Khalifa dates? Us: Amber Rose. Wife: Her. Or Alicia Keys.
8:43: Kevin Hart's aforementioned reality TV parody, Real Husbands of Hollywood, is a genuinely funny bit. Aces for that.
8:49: Best New Artist award. Nominees: J. Cole, Bruno Mars, Miguel, Willow Smith and Wiz Khalifa. Winner... Wiz.
8:49:05: Oh snap. They cut to the Wiz in the crowd to get his reaction and caught him trying to give a kiss to Amber Rose, followed by her ducking it like his lips were on fire. It's as though she doesn't really love him, like she's really only latched onto him because he was on a professional uptick and didn't want to devalue her stock by being seen kissing him in public because she'll eventually try to leave him for someone more famous. Weird. This will certainly be a blog topic tomorrow.
8:56: Okay, this shit is boring.
8:57: Performance: Trey Songz. It takes him all of about nine seconds before he's naked from the waist up. "It wouldn't be me if I didn't get a little nasty." Ack. Who else needs a shower?
8:58: Kelly Rowland has joined him. She's quietly turned into a force, hasn't she? She's doing that song with him where she says, "Go longer, you can last four rounds." We'd just like to point out that that's 12 minutes, which is a long time to have sex.
9:22: The Braxtons are on stage, or, as they might better be known, Toni Braxton and some other people. Mary, Mary wins best Best Gospel Artist. Fair enough.
9:28: Heavy hitter time: Gladys Knight is opening up the sequence to give Patti LaBelle the Lifetime Achievement award. Cee-Lo opens the honoring performances dressed like her (naturally), highlighted by him intermittently spraying his LaBelle wig with moisturizer(?) and the censor letting the first half of "fuckers" slip through. Marsha A. stumbles through her set and Shirley Ceasar, dressed like Glenda the Good Witch, crushes hers. PLB, in Hurricane Katrina mode, destroys everyone once she starts singing. Easily the best moment of the night. Reverence, reverence, reverence.
9:56: So some girl won the opportunity to announce the winner of the Viewer's Choice Award. She bungles it, not even saying who the nominees are, simply looking into the stage, making a confused face, then saying Chris Brown's name, retracting it, then saying Rihanna won, then Drake wandering out and taking it. The internet just imploded.
9:58: Here's where they honor all of the people that have passed since the last awards.
10:10: Closing number? Drake, Khaled, Wayne, Ricky do "I'm On One." Wayne does his best to save the performance, but it's flat. Such is life. Something about this being a parable.
10:16: Oop. Waitabit. They're introducing Beyonce. She's going to perform?
10:16:30: Nope. They cut to a video feed of her performing at a much more prominent music festival. Everyone who waited three hours to see her just got pissed, which is weird because, regardless of where she was performing, you were watching it on TV anyway.
10:26: And it turns out that Chris Brown was supposed to have won the Viewer's Choice Award after all. That makes five trophies for him total, so, in case you missed it, it's totally okay to like him again.
Personal Bias: The BET awards have never been an especially exciting awards show.
The Crowd: Yes.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Daddy, I have to go poop." - Boy A, 10:21 p.m.
Random Notebook Dump: Earlier in the day, a little girl that lives a couple of houses down came over and started playing with the boys, who were outside riding their bikes. They appeared to like her, taking out just about every toy in the garage and trying to get her to watch them play with it.
At one point, she knocked over Boy B's scooter, to which he responded with, "You kicked my scooter therefore I have to kick you." Boy A went with his best girl-impressing move of acting like a robot first, then transitioning into a dinosaur impression, then to a weird Dinobot amalgam. She was unimpressed. He then tried to ram into her with his Big Wheel. She swooned. Boy B adopted the same tactic.
Eventually, they started all chasing each other, during which she accidentally knocked down Boy A. He got up and punched her. They got into a tussle. Boy B, seeing his brother getting worked over by the bigger, stronger, more coordinated girl, ran over and joined the melee. This is not to say something circular about the day starting with a bit of guy/girl violence and ending with the exoneration of a guy who participated in the same sort of shenanigans.
No, this is far less clever. This is to say that, should you pickle one Serrano boy, you should fully anticipate the other one coming for your throat as well. Aces.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.