TGJ Roundtable: 2018 BET Awards Review

Published: Monday 25th Jun 2018 by Sam

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.

 Yes, Jamie had his funny moments but there still seemed to be a disconnect. I’m not sure if it was poor timing or impromptu, but something about his jokes seemed to fall flat at times or didn’t feel as (well) scripted as we’re used to.  
Next, the performance roster (even before the show started) alluded to the fact the show would be…well…a snooze fest.  Simply put: it was the damn BET Hip Hop Awards.  Where were all the R&B acts?!  Nicki Minaj was (to some degree) billed as the show’s headliner…a poor decision. The girl is simply not an engaging performer. Most of her performances always come off as if they were rehearsed just minutes before she was due to go on stage.  She does the most off-putting “crowd hyping” and moves as if she is literally thinking of every step in her head.  It’s a no sis.
Anyway, the ultimate highlight was, of course, the Anita Baker tribute (sans the Jamie Foxx karaoke). As TGJ’s resident Anita Baker Stan, I was disappointed to learn she would not be performing due to recovering from an upper respiratory infection.  And, while I was equally disappointed to learn the likes of Toni Braxton and Mary J. Blige would not perform (two major singers who have consistently praised Baker as their favorite songstress), the selection proved excellent.  Ledisi and Marsha are always good tribute picks and Yolanda just blew the roof off the place.  Her short, but stirring rendition of “You Bring Me Joy” was easily the best performance of the night.



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.

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Getty]

Comments 17

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  1. pat June 25, 2018

    Yolanda saved the night and Nicki used her p**** to try and save her career.

    • Fancy BISH June 25, 2018

      You pretty much summed it up chile lmao ? ? ✅ ?

  2. Lol June 25, 2018

    Why do y’all care so much about Normandy?? She has no solo music out so why would she do anything on that stage? Literally no one cares

    • S.U.P.E.R.S.T.A.R.!. June 25, 2018

      @Lol – Dude you are sooo wrong for that! But it was funny as h3ll.

  3. Who cares June 25, 2018

    After last night I might re consider going to nickis tour… she’s so far into her career and still can’t give a captivating performance

  4. China June 25, 2018

    THEY turned the show in to the “hip hop awards”. No major performer showed up. Meek was great, J. Cole was Epic and The Anita Baker tribute was magical. Where was Rihanna? Beyonce/Jay Z? Bruno? Mariah? Janet?


    Y’all hatn on Nicki. That b**** cardi ad bruno mars is not black isn’t it the bet awards . they did not give that tounge tied b**** the award. ..

  6. Jasmine (The Real Jasmine) June 25, 2018

    I did not go this year nor did I watch. People have simply moved on from the EBT Awards and let’s face it….if you want to be taken seriously as an A list CURRENT star then you don’t go to that awards show. Sad but true. The only way they can get A listers is to cater the whole awards show to them (I’m talking about Beyonce here).

    What BET should have done was book a bunch of older 90s and 80s artists to perform and capitalize on their older audience to fill in the gaps of the popular a listers feeling they are too good to attend.

  7. iamdiego June 25, 2018

    Normani should have performed. Maybe Khalid was busy.

  8. ~The Arcade~ June 25, 2018

    I don’t think there’s much to discuss here. SMH

  9. ~The Arcade~ June 25, 2018

    ?? Today is the 9 year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing. RIP LEGEND

    *Now playing*: Scream

    • Fancy BISH June 25, 2018

      Scream is my favorite MJ song! ?

  10. ontherun June 25, 2018

    so many issues

    1. Jamie Foxx was so cringe and cannot connect with this generation it appears.
    2. lack of star power in the building bar J cole (boring) and nicki
    3. the whole show seemed sloppy and badly put together
    4. Blackanda, really?? it’s a played out and cringey concept
    5. Nickis hairstylist must hate her
    6. i really wanted nicki to shut the place down with all her haters watching…she did okay but the performance seemed lazy especially as she literally copied and pasted the SNL chun li performance but with less choreo and energy 🙁

  11. Tim Brown June 25, 2018

    Should’ve let Missy perform—it was her anniversary of Supa Dupa Fly…who books these stars? We can’t keep hoping Veteran acts come to save the day smh…the newbies have to start pulling their weight man… 🙁

  12. Antincia foster June 25, 2018

    Loved. The Anita baker performance loved it

  13. eric June 25, 2018

    How can they overlook Toni Braxton with one of the best songs in her entire career? She should’ve been on that stage, as well as some others including Janet, Maxwell, Normani, and Ne-Yo. There was little care and effort put into this year’s show.

  14. TT June 25, 2018

    You all mentioned Rihanna and Beyonce. No, CIARA AND CHRIS BROWN WERE MISSED.

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