2012 BET Awards: D’Angelo Makes Triumphant Return; Chris Brown Hints At Retirement; Whitney Houston’s Protégés Shine
Big Sean was overwhelmed with nerves while opening the award show with GOOD Music’s “Mercy.” Pusha T and 2 Chainz eventually joined him, but failed to add any excitement to the dull performance. Kanye West came out last, reciting his verse from “Cold” and an intense freestyle filled with conviction.
Jay-Z surprised his protégé while accepting the award for Best Group. They awkwardly promised to keep crafting the best sh*t you ever heard.
Big Sean was very coy while at the podium accepting his award for “Best New Artist.” The Detroit rapper gave props to his mom, who allegedly left his acceptance speech somewhere, for “raising him right.” Although he wore dark shades, he never looked up at the crowd. He finished his impromptu speech by thanking Kanye, his discoverer. He also left some food for thought: “When I started doing what I wanted to do, that’s when my life started to be what I wanted to be.”
Jessica Reedy, Y’anna Crawley, Amber Bullock and Yolanda Adams took the Shrine to church early in the event. They covered the Clark Sisters’ “Jesus Brought the Sunshine.” Bullock stole the performance with a short, skillful scatting session.
Chanté Moore represented disco queen Donna Summer very well. The big-haired, svelte beauty gave a feisty rendition of “Bad Girl” and “Love To Love You Baby,” where she naturally entered her whistle registry.
Chris Brown awkwardly stomped on stage in “fighting clothes”–a white tee and timbs–to accept his award for “Best R&B Males Artist.” During his speech, he thanked his fans and said, “my last album that’s coming out in two days.” Is he hinting at retirement?
He later hit the stage to perform a medley of “Don’t Wake Me Up” and “Turn Up The Music.” Though boasting an elaborate set, nothing was enthralling about Chris’ performance. His singing was all over the place, the provocative costumes made no visible connection to the music and the dancing was manic and repetitive. Thankfully, the performance ended rather abruptly.
D’Angelo’s long-awaited return was triumphant and will be placed in BET Awards’ history (right next to The Fugees 2005 reunion). The soul man teased the crowd with his sexually-explicit hit, “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” He then segued into a jam session only James Brown, Stevie Wonder or Prince could replicate. It was inspiring watching D’Angelo lose himself in the music.
Music Matters artist Elle Varner introduced Charles Perry, who is a unique fusion of D’Angelo and Cee Lo Green. Later in the show, Music Matters artist Jennah Bell took the stage. Though she captivated everyone’s attention with her guitar and attractive voice, it was hard to understand her.
Determined to redeem herself, Nicki Minaj made her grand entrance with dramatic lights and orgasmic strings. The “smart, feisty and colorful” singer continued impressing throughout the showing by executing her simple choreography and even performed live.
Kim Kardashian, who sometimes appear to be in a comatose state, shared a moment with Beyoncé.
Melanie Fiona was “soulful and sexy at the same damn time!” The R&B siren poured her heart out over her gut-wrenching ballad, “Wrong Side of a Love Song.” Charged with emotion and presence, Mel surely left a lasting impression on viewers.
Yolanda bested her gospel competition and gave a moving speech. The award was sentimental to her because it was the first released from her own label. She also gave the crowd of stars some wise words.
“I see so many beautiful faces in this room that inspire me and keep inspiring me. My life is so great. To my babies Monica, I love you, thank you for being in my live. To Brandy, I love you. Bey and Solange, I love y’all! We need all of y’all. I’m saying the world needs everyone in this room,” Adams said. She concluded by saying, “Please make sure you that you use your gift responsibly. Because we’re watching–our babies are watching, and they want to be like us!”
The other voice, Mariah Carey, recounted her kindred sisterhood with Whitney in the intro of the tribute.
“The first time I heard Whitney [Houston]’s voice I was mesmerized like the rest of the world,” just an unknown budding singer myself I was captivated by the power in her range, the richness of her tone and her unique ability to wrap a lyric in emotion. When I first met Whitney, we didn’t really meet, we were back stage at the Grammy awards and we exchanged glances. I was in awe, and a tiny bit scared because there were a few rumors out there that we r some kind of rivalry. One thing we all know was Whitney was not to be toyed with. We first worked together on prince of Egypt, our Oscar-winning duet. And we got to spend a lot of time together as we promoted it. We really got to know each other as people–not divas. Ok maybe occasionally it got a little divaish, but it was just for laughs. She was a hilarious person with a cutting sense of humor–she wsa real and she kept It real and that’s why we got along so well. And so many others feel like I do. If you really knew Whitney, you couldn’t help but love her. When I last saw Whitney, we were in London exactly one year ago and for us it was business, as usual. Laughter, commentary of the room and jokes galore. Even then, folks were surprised ot see us sitting right next to each other, clearly enjoying each other’s company. I miss my friend, I miss hearing her voice and laughter. But we’ll always have the music, we’ll always have that voice we fell in love with. She inspired us all. We’ll always have my friend, Miss Whitney Houston.”
Saying that Monica, and Brandy have been very vocal about their admiration for Whitney Houston is an understatement. Mo spiritually embraced the audience with “I Love The Lord.” She exited her vocal comfort zone to deliver a memorable and stirring performance.
Brandy opted from the expected ballad and chose to perform upbeat tunes, “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” As ever, Brandy laced the cover with her husky tone and delicate runs. She even implemented some charming choreography.
Whitney’s brother, Gary, performed “Where Are You,” followed by their mother, Cissy, who performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” It was an amazing, yet heartbreaking, sight, watching the 78-year-old honor her late daughter. Of course, emotions were high; Soulja Boy, Beyoncé and Melanie Fiona were all brought to tears.
Chaka Khan radiated the stage with her eye-catching gold dress, big hair and even larger vocals. She performed “I’m Every Woman,” which Whitney remade in 1992.
Overall, Whitney’s honoring was by far the BET Award’s best tribute production to date. Though emotional, it was more of a celebration rather than a melancholy memorial service. Monica, Cissy and Gary soared with their faith-filled presentations, whereas Brandy and Chaka lightened the mood with some feel-good fun, further illustrating Whitney’s versatility as an artist.
Other noteworthy and brow-raising moments.
During one of their acceptance speeches, Jay-Z cut off Kanye, saying, “excuse me, Kanye, I’ma let you finish but…” Kanye retorted, “I was trying to defend your girl.”
Gary Houston had some stirring words for Whitney before performing in her tribute: “I miss you so much, I love you back to life every day.”
Rev. Al Sharpton was presented with the “Humanitarian Award.” He also spoke on the importance of voting: “Not just Obama, this is about yo mama.” He concluded he speech pledging, “that [he’ll] fight every day and keep working. Every night I go to sleep I have one thing I mind, I wake up the next morning and [when] my feet hit the ground, I want every bigot and unjust person in the world to say: ‘damn, he’s up again.’ “
Overwhelmed with excitement, Wale knocked over Jay-Z’s drink while dashing down the frontrow. The MMG rapper was celebrating his win for having the “Best Collaboration” of the year with Miguel for “Lotus Flower Bomb.”
Usher proved that he is undeniably a vocal beast.
Mindless Behavior disrespected the legendary Lauryn Hill by reciting a tasteless punch line regarding her tax issue. Beyoncé quickly and subtly defended the R&B diva.
Nicki Minaj vulgarly ended one of her acceptance speeches by saying, “step ya d*ck up.” It was beyond crude, considering a pastor was in a attendance and children.
Samuel L Jackson referring to Tyler Perry as an actress.