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…
2019 BET Awards
While every award show no doubt benefits from the mega-wattage of established names (a la the Beyonce’s of the world), this year’s BET ceremony managed just fine being primarily anchored by today’s crop of stars.
Cardi B continues to make it abundantly apparent that she is playing no games in her quest for supremacy.
If her personality helped her popularity, her impressive portfolio of award show performances are what are cementing her impact.
As a lover of spectacle and all things extra, she fed me ’til I was full. Mama served with the fervency of a seasoned Pop girl and managed to ignite my excitement for a song that – prior to now – didn’t particularly rouse me. A point which highlights the enduring effectiveness of “performance” in an era where so few are honing theirs.
Shout out to Offset for showcasing his own live skillset too. I’d love to see him continue to sprinkle choreo into his offerings. It’s definitely a unique point of difference.
Elsewhere, Lizzo justified her buzz in a major way. For much of the masses, ‘Juice’ has been the vehicle that drove into her into their consciousness. Yet, with an all out showing of growing hit ‘Truth Hurts’ she – all at once – highlighted why she’s a talent that cannot be ignored. It was fiery, fun, and diversified (come through flute).
Other highlights included City Girls’ Yung Miami bringing ‘Act Up’ to life – pregnant and all (though I wish she was gifted a lengthier spot). Kiana Lede took vocal flight in a way that made me sit up and pay attention during her brief but sweet showing; while Fantasia electrified with ‘Enough.’ Easily one of today’s most dependable live performers.
Yet, for as much as the newer names held it down, the night’s most memorable moment came courtesy of Lifetime Achievement honouree Mary J. Blige.
From her speech to her near 30-minute performance, it felt amazing to suitably celebrate one of “our” legends while they are here to receive the love. Rihanna, whose absence from all things musical, was a great touch too and added to what is hands down one of the best celebrations of a legacy that I’ve witnessed.
Beyond the music, the evening re-affirmed the network’s cultural relevance – especially with the inspiring speech from Ultimate Icon winner Tyler Perry, the salute of The Exonerated Five, and a touching tribute to rapper/social activist Nipsey Hussle. Master of ceremonies Regina Hall brought the kii’s too.
All in all, the BET Awards 2019 delivered enough to render yours truly satisfied and then some.
For some time it felt as though BET was dependent on names like Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Jay-Z to deliver what some would call a star-studded show.
This year, without most of those names, they succeeded in delivering one of its strongest nights by celebrating the new (Yung Miami, Lizzo, and Cardi B) while honouring the established (Mary J Blige) in ways which seem to have left its audience satisfied. A far cry from recent years.
With this, the night ticked boxes on several fronts and had something to offer everyone without pandering or cheapening the brand. Highlights? Mary’s impeccable set. Cardi B’s scorching delivery of ‘Clout’ and Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’ delivery. If I had to give it a rating? 9/10.
The ultimate high of the night – as has been the case for years with this awards show – was the Lifetime Achievement “tribute” which saw the Queen of Hip Hop Soul show out royally. Giving the girls body, hair, and stage presence, the ‘You Remind Me’ singer – alongside a much appreciated guest appearance from Lil Kim – reminded us 80’s babies and the new school what was up. At 48-years-old Mama is still hot as ever!
The BET Awards once again brought all the excitement this year.
Though the performances and the winners’ list were interesting in their own right, I was particularly moved by the amplified humanitarian/social angle the ceremony displayed this time around.
From the beautiful Nipsey Hussle tributes, Tyler Perry’s uplifting speech and the recognition of the Exonerated Five, it was a perfect opportunity to remind the masses of the progress that still needs to be made when it comes to the black community.
Still, I enjoyed watching Cardi hitting every mark during her performance, Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus shut the house down with their #1 hit and Lizzo belting and twerking to ‘Truth Hurts’ with the attitude and confident of an artist that has been doing this for decades.
Mary J. Blige’s performance was filled with nostalgic moments and was a true reminder of how iconic her repertoire is. And that powerful acceptance speech!
All in all, it was a ceremony that honored the urban scene – which is having a rather mainstream moment – in great fashion, especially considering the usual suspects of stage slaying (Beyoncé, Usher, Janet, Ciara…) took a night off from performing (and, in most of cases, attending).
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 2019 BET Awards.