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CliffsNotes: I Watched the BET Awards So You Didn’t Have to

I’m officially some sort of pop culture martyr. The BET Awards were last night. And instead of going my usual Sunday evening television watching route, I dissed the Gorga/Giudice feud for Sam Jackson and n’em. For those of you who missed it, forgot, or thought better of it, I noted the important moments and provided a list of the highlights below.

You’re welcome.

  • Morehouse, how ya feel? The show opened with Sam Jackson and Mars Blackman performing an incredibly incomprehensible and alarming version of “N****s in Paris.” Really needs to be “N****s in Oxygen Masks.” Rapping is a young man’s game. Breath control is real, son!
  • Occasionally, there are moments when I like to imagine what the BET Awards planning show committee–or whatever they call themselves–pitched during an awards show meeting. This year’s thought? Giving Gwyneth Paltrow a special award with Nas as presenter. C’mon. You know some version of this idea was pitched by some young and ambitious upstart. Debra Lee sat at the head of the table, petting her skinless cat while seriously ruminating over the matter. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to do it, but knew that Gwyneth was off doing real nigga shit and thus couldn’t make it. I know this thought had to have been discussed in some BET boardroom. If someone can give me irrefutable evidence that it wasn’t, I will watch nothing but BET everyday for a year.
  • Hello, Angela Bassett.
  • It’s official. Taraji P. Henson is officially on my Mount Rushmore of around the way girls who just so happen to be famous.
  • The nominees for BET’s best actor award: Common, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Idris Elba, and Kevin Hart. The winner? Kevin Hart. In other words, don’t let the fact that Sam Jackson is hosting this show fool you. There is nothing legitimate about any of it. ANY OF IT.
  • With a beard like that, Jamie Foxx is really giving me blacksmith-named-Josiah face. Just sayin’. It’s like he became the black spokesperson for ancestry.com. Or got sucked into its matrix.
  • Speaking of Jamie Foxx, I know many are scandalized by the way that he hyped his new film, the slave revenge Django Unchained. He called Roots ”unfinished.” Roots may have not been unfinished, but it was definitely plagiarized. You know, for those of us who bothered to read the book. #readingrainbow #thinkaboutit
  • If the BET Awards were a country, Beyonce and Jay are clearly the queen and king of that realm. BET kept cutting to them to just make sure they were still there. Seriously. If the BET Awards were the “Remember the Time” video, Beyonce and Jay were Iman and Eddie Murphy. I just wish they had ordered the death of the performers. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!!!!!
  • Full disclosure: When I heard the opening notes of “Untitled: How Does it Feel?” I thought I was being punked by Kevin Hart. Surely BET would hold me hostage for as long as possible. I realized it was the real D’Angelo and promptly stopped tweeting. D looked great, sounded great. Clearly, most of the audience was confused by the high level of talent and musicianship they were witnessing. I like to call that The BET Effect. Whoever booked D’Angelo should promptly be fired by the station…and then receive an offer of employment from a legitimate organization.
  • Hello, Angela Bassett.
  • The way too short Donna Summer tribute was over by the time I learned that it was Chante Moore performing. I have no idea if it was the nose job or her unexpected brownness that caused the confusion, but she did a good job. Lesson: it (still) don’t crack, y’all.
  • As much as I dis BET, they do a generally good job of finding the right talent for these tributes. Which are, frankly, the only reason I watch the show. Their guiding principle: All performers must have recorded and released an album in the 1990s.
  • Rev. Al Sharpton is his own bobblehead. And another thing: Delroy Lindo is to Lebron James what Kurtis Blow is to Kanye West what Rev. Al is to Tracy Morgan.
  • The seemingly obligatory–and tired–Chris Brown domestic violence jokes are supremely played(, black Twitter). So I offer you this: Chris Brown: Half Pop Star Bad Boy, Half Zombie Ashtray.
  • Speaking of Chris Brown, am I the only one who shrugged when he announced that his upcoming album would be his last?
  • Hello, Angela Bassett.
  • Because Bey and Jay weren’t enough, Debra Lee was sure that the name of the POTUS was invoked at any and every opportunity. And none of those moments made sense. I suppose they made more sense, though, than Debra Lee’s ability to live with herself.
  • I totally wanted an MJB “Crispy Chicken Wrap” medley.
  • Oh, right. The D’Angelo performance had to come early because of the Whitney tribute.
  • Monica, yes.
  • Clearly, Brandy was putting the full court press on those in charge of casting the inevitable Whitney Houston biopic. I have mad love for Brandy. So I’m just going to blame this overzealous and disingenuous performance on a Sonia Norwood pep talk.
  •  Just as Dave Chappelle wondered what Ja Rule was thinking, I wondered how Soulja Boy was feeling about the Whitney Houston tribute. Thanks for answering that question for me, BET!
  • The (only) other reason to watch the BET Awards: Black movie cast reunions. This year? Waiting to Exhale.
  • Hello, Angela Bassett.
  • With all the pontificating by all these anonymous, Wayne-clone rappers who appeared on stage last night, the realest person in the entire building was Ms. Cissy Houston.