Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!
Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!
Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.
Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.
Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on the…
2018 BET Awards
Historically, the BET Awards has been the most consistent of such specials, scorching the competition with the hottest performances, lit-est audience, and an overload of memorable moments.
However, last night was far from its finest instalment.
From the outset, the performer line-up read more like the BET Hip-Hop Awards – confusing as there’s a whole show dedicated to that in October. What’s more, given the slew of major releases in the Urban sphere, several names were notable in their absence – such as The Carters and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music clan.
But, given that it’s anyone’s guess why they skipped out, my main gripe isn’t even that.
The show itself just made for an underwhelming watch this year.
Many performances dragged for far too long (Nicki Minaj, Migos), hardly any awards were given out, and Jamie Foxx made for a better hype man than he did host. For, he excelled in waking up the audience, but then sent them right back to sleep with his so-so skits.
There were promising moments though, which re-affirmed that the network does still have its finger on the pulse of what’s hot, happening, and heating up. Case in point the performance slots for newcomers Ella Mai, Daniel Caesar, and H.E.R – all of whom delivered with their showings. Seasoned performers Janelle Monae and J.Cole were also relative highlights.
Still, for yours truly, this couldn’t negate the number of missed windows.
For instance, no Female Hip-Hop winner segment? Sure Cardi B won and wasn’t there, but Nicki and Remy Ma were and we all know that would have been something to see. Elsewhere, we have Normani (fresh from slaying the BBMAs) sitting in the audience but not on stage? Then add to this murmurs that both Childish Gambino and Janet Jackson were supposed to perform, but dropped out. What could have been, oh what could have been!
Next go round needs better balance between the R&B and Hip-Hop acts, a heavier weighting of top tier names, and a fervent focus on delivering mega moments. Conversely, Urban acts themselves ought to prioritize platforms such as the BET Awards, as there aren’t m/any shows saluting them to the same magnitude.
Put simply, everyone needs to do a bit… better.
Unfortunately, this is probably the first shows I didn’t enjoy because it seems its organisers struggled to maintain the level of order and fluidity they could once boast of delivering when Stephen Hill was at the helm.
From Cassie’s confusion on the red carpet to some of the sloppiness we were forced to endure during some of the pre-show performances, the night felt-for the most part-wildly unorganised.
Frustrating, as all of this made it difficult to appreciate the night’s brightest moments which came via the likes of Ella Mai, Daniel Caesar, Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill and Jamie Foxx who smashed his role as host.
Here’s hoping next year’s delivery is much stronger. As for talk on social media that the show’s problems were caused by the absence of Beyoncé and Rihanna? Can’t say I agree. Because, though performances from the performers would have helped, last night’s lineup should have been strong enough to help it mirror the glory of years past (see: 2007, 2009 and 2016).
I, for one, have consistently stated the BET Awards is the year’s best award show offering. Beyond the stellar performances, the energetic audience and stirring speeches from at least one or two award recipients usually help breathe even more life into an already animated setting. Granted, last year’s Leslie Jones-hosted edition dropped the ball in a major way, I was hoping 2018’s – hosted by funnyman Jamie Foxx – would pick up the slack left by the ‘SNL’ comedienne. It did, in part, but overall this year’s awards was not much better than last year’s.
For me, the most noteworthy part about yesterday’s BET extravaganza is just how ma
ny acts never bothered to show up! Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, The Carters. The show was the definition of lackluster and uneventful.
Even Jamie Foxx’s efforts weren’t enough to lift spirits.
Questionable styling aside, Nicki’s showing was decent. Although I do question whether “decent” is enough. Vocals were served during Anita Baker’s tribute, but I was disappointed we never got to see the master herself at work.
Still, H.E.R. nailed her performance, serving early Kelis aura.
Surely the two best showings of the night were Meek Mill and Miguel with a heartfelt and socially conscious moment, and Ms. Janelle Monae with her inspired performance of ‘Django Jane.’
No surprises when it comes to the winners list, seems like everybody got a little something… it’s a shame we didn’t get a Cardi satellite-acceptance speech though.
I do have one pressing question: why was Normani in the audience but not on stage killing it? Not even presenting either?
Do you agree with our picks? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and your thoughts on the 2018 BET Awards.