TGJ Roundtable: 2019 BET Awards Review

Published: Monday 24th Jun 2019 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…

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.



In addition to reminding viewers why it is easily the year’s best award ceremony, the BET Awards is the show of its kind where the audience makes the watch just as enjoyable as the performers. Evidence was scattered across the night but highlighted mostly by the absolute lit-ness of Mary J. Blige’s and Lil Nas X’s respective performances.
Before I hop into those, overall the show – as expected – was good. Cardi B and Offset opened in a most applause-worthy fashion.  Kudos even to Offset for adding in a nice two step in the performance and, of course, shouts to Cardi for absolutely flaming the stage and breathing new life into ‘Press.’  Elsewhere, Lizzo got an A+ from me for her consistent stage-blazing performances that seem to get more and more polished with time and Fantasia rocked the stage with ‘Enough’ and gave us exactly that…enough (which, in this case, was a good thing).

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!
H.E.R. never fails and the show’s nods to culture (i.e. Central Park 5, etc.) just served as notice of why the BET Awards are so so so important! I tip my hat to the team for yet another amazing year.
P.S. – That City Girls performance was disastrous in ways that were unmentionably disappointing given how hot that song is.  Similarly, that deeply disturbing performance from Da Baby was the stuff of nightmares.



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.

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Getty]

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  1. I hate blaccck n whyte June 24, 2019

    Yall talking in riddles. You never said any of them especially the Lifetime award was right fully given. We can never said mjb deserved the award.. just she held it down. It confirms they ripped off Diddy mjb isn’t on his level. Love Mary but no.

    • ??? June 24, 2019

      girl shut up and stop sucking diddys d***, he wouldnt be ish if it wasnt for mary lmfaoooo

  2. ~The Arcade~ June 24, 2019

    Glad my boy Lucky Daye got the chance to perform on the Coke-a- Cola stage. My favourite performance was H.E.R ft YBN Cordae… Man that was so powerful.

    • ~The Arcade~ June 24, 2019

      Forgot to add that John Songleton should’ve also got a memorable tribute like Nipsey; his child’s mother wasn’t too pleased about that.

      • MessyBoots June 24, 2019

        I totally agree. It’s amazing how Nipsey Hussle, tragic as it was, NEVER achieved mainstream notice throughout his career until he was murdered. It’s a sad commentary on how black lives dont matter until they’re shot and killed. Nipsey didnt matter in the mainstream until he was gunned down. Not one single hit song to his credit and you would believe he’d sold millions of records the way folks mourned him. On the other hand you have a highly prolific well known creative in black entertainment go completely unrecognized and he passed away tragically as well far too soon. He gave us Boyz N The Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Rosewood, Baby Boy etc. They were culture defining moments in black culture but no mention? Let’s not even get started on them completely ignoring Queen Aretha. I’m disappointed.

      • Keith June 25, 2019

        @TheArcade: I tend to agree with the undervaluing of John Singleton’s contributions to the cinematic canon…

        @MessyBoots: I was one of those who had to figure out what seemed to be a disproportionate response to his tragic death. Other than someone who was dating Lauren London, I knew (and still do, really) little about him.

  3. Ariana Grande June 25, 2019


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