Like many, I sat there at 5am Monday morning UK time wondering why the hell I'd just wasted almost 4 hours of my life watching the BET Awards 2009 and it's half-a**ed 'tribute' to the undisputed King of Pop - something only Janet's appearance helped put into perspective. Many questions swirled in my head: Where was the much hyped Chris Brown performance? The whereabouts of Usher, Justin, Whitney - all who were as good as confirmed for the show? Why did Beyonce - the biggest artist in the industry today and a huge MJ fan - perform her own cut 'Ave Maria'? All these and many more, left me hella perplexed. Well now Matthew Cherry - a former producer of the now-ended show 'The Game' and head of Cherry Entertainment - has come forth with behind the scenes info on the show and the last minute change-arounds that resulted in the product we saw on Sunday night. A lengthy, yet very interesting read I must say:
|What's going on world. I haven't really blogged much since getting this account, save for putting my video work up, but after last nights BET Awards I had to say something. So many thoughts ran threw my mind last night after I watched the awards and here they are.|
I did not work the BET Awards. I was there with the DP that I worked with on Girlfriends and I was there observing the show rehearsals from the control room. As you all know I go hard on twitter and the reason for a lot of my excitement was due to what I saw in rehearsal. I was one of the few people that saw the rehearsals prior to the show airing and for some reason or another a lot changed from what was originally supposed to air.
Here is what changed. Alica Keys and Wyclef were supposed to sing "Heal The World" after they accepted their humanitarian award. Beyonce was first going to sing Smooth Criminal then they changed it to I'll Be There/Halo and then she sang something from her own album the day of the show "Ava Marie". T-pain rehearsed signing "Rock With You" and that was on show rundown as well. I'm kinda glad he didn't sing that though. Then on top of all of this, of course there was the Chris Brown drama. As of Friday Chris Brown was slated to perform and he was going to sing "Man In The Mirror". I've heard a lot of rumors as to why he didn't the most talked about one being that Jay-z had him pulled from the show. Not sure if that's true but I will say this. Beyonce, Jay-Z, Al Sharpton, Joe Jackson and some of the Jackson family all sat in the front row in the same row. Jay-Z and Al Sharpton have said publicly that they do not support Chris in this situation and that they sided with Rihanna. Entertainment is way more political than a lot of you may know and the mere fact that he did not perform caused such a big distraction could you imagine what may have happened if he did. This night should have been all about MJ.
With that said I would have tweeted during the show but my phone died and all I left you with was feelings of excitement about the show. I am a director but first and foremost I am a fan of a lot of these artists and I was sitting in the crowd enjoying great music like everyone else. If my phone didn't die trust me my messages would have been a lot different.
First off I love Jamie Foxx and I think he is an amazing talent. With that said I do feel that he promoted his concerts too much and him and Neyo performed way too many times. There are too many talented performers in the industry to have them sing three or four songs each. You can tell they didn't have much time to rehearse as he constantly asked if the feed was on and he walked off stage numerous times when he was supposed to be on stage. That's more of a timing thing and with two days to get ready I'll give them a pass.
In regards to the performances. I loved the old school soul music tributes with Guy, Keith Sweat and New Edition. I loved Beyonce, Jay-z, Maxwell, The Young Ojay's and the new Ojays. I thought Tevin Campbell was random as hell and I have no idea why he performed. I think that was supposed to be Chris Brown's spot because on the production schedule it just had special guest named in that segment.
Here is what I hated about the awards. In regards to the lack of the presenters announcing the nominees at the time I thought was warranted but looking back it seemed rushed and awkward. I hated Don Cornelius being anywhere near a mic and I also found it odd that so many people swore when they knew the show was live. The Baby Boy skit was in bad taste and Ving Rhames...I mean what the hell was he doing. There were way more MJ tributes and cover scheduled that for one reason or another just didn't happen. There was no news about The Game as much as they re-run the episodes and with them possibly acquiring the show I would have thought the cast would have at least presented an award. Why the hell did Young Money bring out all those kids when they where singing about fucking every girl in the world? Jamie went to the top of the balcony and did a segment with the fans everyone seemed so ghetto. Everyone was mugging for the camera, holding up CD's and calling their boys, SMH These were the times during the show that I actually covered my face in embarrassment.
There were some positives. I love that BET honored people that weren't entertainers and celebrities doctors, mayors, lawyers etc. Our young people need to know that you don't have to be a rapper and an actor to be successful. A man proposed to his girlfriend during one of the commercial break, I wonder if it aired? Jamie Foxx was funny as a host and his MJ outfits were on point. Janet Jackson at the end. She was so strong for doing that. That alone made the show worth it.
All in all I am still a huge fan of awards shows, I mean, where else can you see 20 different performances in one night. I feel like BET tried to do too much and maybe they should have either dedicated an entire segment to Mike or did an entire show all about him. I definitely jumped the gun with my excitement for the show but if you would have saw what I saw then you would have said the same things I did. I so also think that it's a different experience seeing something live rather than on TV but it is what it is. I truly hope that BET steps there game up next time and they learn from this experience.
Thanks for reading
-Matthew "Mac" Cherry
While I don't agree with everything Mac said, such as the night should have been ALL ABOUT MICHAEL- yet he still had some valid points. Chris Brown should have performed regardless. If he would have killed somebody... of course it would have been understandable to leave him out of the equation of the night. But the boy did something that has been done by countless celebs and average Joes alike. He made a mistake. I can guarantee that everyone would have forgotten about that if he got on that stage... at least temporarily!