TGJ Roundtable: BET Awards 2021 Review

Published: Monday 28th Jun 2021 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, Rashad, Joe, and Ryan – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on the…

BET Awards 2021

The BET Awards has long been at the forefront of the pack, which is apt as it celebrates a culture that very much leads the scene.

Hence, I had high expectations for this year’s show. Especially given how much of a slay last year’s Virtual offering was.

As for whether it delivered? Read on…

Historically, the BET Awards has always birthed moments [click here to read some of our faves]. And this year’s show definitely saw two spectacles stand out in earnest.

Lil Nas X, whose Egyptian-themed showing was a highlight in and of itself, made sure he was the name on the lips of many when he locked lips with one of his male dancers. Ever the provocateur, his brazen brand of unapologetic is proving a compelling watch and – as a Black queer man on the Blackest of stages – his act was arguably necessary too in helping move the collective culture forward towards a place of universal acceptance. On a sidenote, loved the Michael Jackson ‘Remember The Time’ reference.

The evening’s other historical moment came courtesy of Cardi B’s pregnancy reveal. Her appearance during Migos’ set was unannounced and folk largely haven’t seen her on social media in months. All of which heightened the surprise. A jaw-dropper and TV gold.

As a stickler for detail though, I do feel the moment would and could have resonated a little more had it not been sandwiched into a “Migos-by-the-numbers” performance. So, perhaps a reveal while presenting an award or on the red carpet would have been better suited. But hey, Cardi loves her some Offset and conceptually it made sense.

Other enjoyable segments included Jazmine Sullivan and Ari Lennox’s soaring showing of ‘On ‘It’ and Silk Sonic’s butter-smooth rendition of ‘Leave ‘The Door Open.’ Although, I’m ready for Bruno and Anderson. Paak to press on to the next single – something their witty banter makes clear they understand is the mass consensus.

Gratingly, Megan Thee Stallion and the City Girls – two acts I was really looking forward to – left me wanting more than they delivered.

With the Hot Girl Coach, she’s made such seismic strides as a performer that her name on the bill often means sure-fire spectacle. Yet, her first live take on ’Thot Sh*t’ was a little too textbook for yours truly. Yes, she hit all her marks, but it lacked the va va voom that award show performances are renowned for bringing.

JT and Yung Miami had the opposite problem. There was too much va va voom. So, despite their clear improvements as performers (which definitely deserves applause), they occasionally seemed a little lost amidst the theatrics and were visibly calculating their 8-counts (a personal pet peeve). What’s more, their pre-recorded vocal (which I’m actually a big advocate for) was far too low volume and did not meet the energy of the other elements of the performance – which were turned up to the max.

Beyond performances, the show deserves props for continuing to salute the cornerstones of the culture – case in point with the Queen Latifah Lifetime Achievement segment and the spirited DMX tribute.

All in all, this year’s BET Awards was a welcome return to the traditional format. It’s my hope that next year brings with it more in the way of mega-watt moments that add the iconic legacy of the platform.

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Rashad

The adage “less is more” was never more apparent than it was at last night’s BET Awards – a show filled with its most jam-packed performance roster to date yet likely the ceremony’s most forgettable ever.
By no means a “bad show,” it was just – for lack of better terms – underwhelming and lacked “moments” that have cemented the telecast as “culture’s biggest night.”  Who knew the most talked about incidents of the night – Cardi’s pregnancy announcement and Kim’s #VERZUZ shout-out for Nicki – would happen at the very top of the show, leaving the rest to be a 3-hour snooze fest.

Megan – who has rocked every other award show performance she’s rendered over the last year – phoned in her stage time, seeming unengaged and just going through the motions.  Lil Nas X had all the makings of an UNFORGETTABLE showing with the night’s best staging, costumes, and props, but his unsharpened performance skills (i.e. vocals, dancing) subtracted from what should’ve been the night’s clear standout. It took a pregnant Cardi to wake us up during Migos, and the City Girls – though making clear strides in their performance capabilities – still gave us an overly busy, “High School Musical” pep rally.

The night’s most memorable showings for me were Jaz & Ari as well as H.E.R., with the latter really turning up the heat with her energetic showing.  Watching her rock out (at the BET Awards no less) was nothing short of spectacular and really showed her range as a performer as well as the range of the performance roster.
Overall, C+.

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Joe

Last night, the BET Awards blazed back on the box and didn’t miss a beat.

For me, last year the show stood tallest amongst all ceremonies and it could definitely snatch that same title for 2021.

Megan The Stallion was once and again the star of the festivities with her multiple wins and performances. It’s great to see that while she isn’t her genre’s biggest seller she still gets recognition from the Culture.

Cardi B undeniably delivered the biggest moment of the night with her pregnancy reveal and the DMX tribute made for an emotional yet celebratory segment.

While not as precise as they could have been, the City Girls get an “A” for effort. If they keep it up, they definitely have the potential to do great things from a performance point of view.

On the vocal front, Jazmine Sullivan and Ari Lennox, Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak shut it all the way during their respective showings on stage… but what else is new!

I want to conclude by saluting Lil Nas X for sticking to his guns last night. Historically, the Black community hasn’t been known as the most… forward-thinking when it comes to queerness.

So for him to hit the stage and deliver THAT performance of hit song ‘(Montero) Call Me By Your Name,’ is it no small feat. Come thru, Montero!

A BET Awards ceremony with great live performances, moments aplenty as well as an actual audience: we’re back, baby!

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Ryan

What a year it has been! This year’s BET Awards return to a live audience from last year’s virtual show was a warm welcome. With excitement at a fever pitch as one of the first award shows to make a live return, this year’s show mostly delivered.

Let’s start off with the best. Without question, Lil Nas X gave one of the best performances of the night with ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name).’ From his mid-performance dance break to his make-out session with a male dancer, this performance had everything. It was a perfect way to celebrate Pride and a perfect showcase of his performance abilities.

Surprisingly, DJ Khaled delivered one of the best performances of the night thanks to his ensemble of guest appearances. Including everyone from Lil Durk to Lil Baby to Megan Thee Stallion, this performance not only had a bunch of A-list stars, but it also proved wh Khaled is the perfect hype man. Say what you want about the man, he certainly is energetic, which was perfect for a return to the live show format.

Speaking of Megan Thee Stallion, she delivered not only with her DJ Khaled collaboration but with her own ‘Thot Sh*t’ performance as well. Full of energy, this performance had me trying to shake my flat self along with her.

As for the worst, well, there really wasn’t a specific moment. It was mainly a few lackluster performances. The first of which was Migos and Cardi B. Yes, Cardi pulled a Beyoncé and announced her pregnancy during the performance, but it was not enough to save the stiff and awkward movements of Migos.

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak also delivered a less-than-stunning moment. The song may be a low-key affair, but this was a snoozefest. I needed to get snacks mid-performance just to stay awake. I’ve seen more exciting performances at the local senior center. Perhaps, it’s mostly frustrating because both artists are capable of delivering more.

All in all, it was a decent year for the BET Awards. Here’s to hoping next year continues to deliver exciting performances.

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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 BET Awards 2021.

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: BET / Getty]

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  1. What Would Whitney Do June 28, 2021

    People rater y’all keep it real . who looked the best and who do y’all think should have won or lost..y’all not being real

  2. Farrahs Luggage June 28, 2021

    Megan’s star is fading quicker than I expected. Thot Sh*t is a terrible song and redundant, but her performance showed that she has no creativity, not versatility, and her brand has become stale already. And don’t even get me started on how she got up there and accepted an award for WAP and didn’t even mention Cardi 🙄 Like girl, that beat new artist curse is striking QUICK

    • akathexfactor June 29, 2021

      Meg copying cardi every move!

  3. Pat June 28, 2021

    All the females looked like they could’ve been in the same group. Same wigs make up color schemes. Similar beats No originality. Anymore. Easily forgettable

    • akathexfactor June 29, 2021

      💯

  4. Are You Kidding Me? June 28, 2021

    Rashad is one of those “I don’t have to like Lil Nas X just because he’s Black and gay” people.

    Lil Nas X is a fantastic performer for his age and will only improve. Just say you don’t care for him, stick to your DL trade with crusty skid-marked underwear and go.

    Probably lives for Madonna’s non-singing self and thinks she invented voguing.

    • Ace Blanks June 28, 2021

      Chile if you think Lil Nas X is a fantastic performer than that tells me that you don’t have any talent your damn self. Lol And for his age??? Please when I was his age and younger I performed wayyyy better than him. I’m not babying him because of his age when there are people younger than him right now that are wayyyyy better struggling to get their name out there but he gets to be mediocre. Outta here! You are delusional if you think he’s fantastic on stage!!!! 😂😂 #Joke

      • J June 28, 2021

        And yet no one knows who you are 🥺

        And now that age has passed you by

      • Ace Blanks June 29, 2021

        @J B**** yo Lil ass is a joke. First off you don’t even know how old I am so you don’t know at all know what’s passed me by b**** I’m definitely young enough to still make it! Secondly Lizzo didn’t pop off til she was 31 so trust aint no age limit b****. And last I don’t think I was talking to your goofy Ass anyway! 🤷🏾‍♂️

      • Are You Kidding Me? June 29, 2021

        Lil Nas X isn’t Beyonce who was trained classically as a dancer as a young child. So yes for someone just thrown into the industry off a viral song he IS fantastic. Everyone tunes in whenever he performs. He, Doja and Megan and sometimes Cardi are must-watch performances.

        Also, we put more emphasis on women performing than we do men. Most rappers get on stage and just walk back and forth. None of these current rappers could pull off a Busta Rhymes performance.

    • Keith June 29, 2021

      Rashad was the ONLY ONE of the TGJ staff that got the review right. I’m a black, gay man and I will say it again: Lil NASX, at this point in his career, is a HORRID performer. As problematic as he is for other reasons, Todrick is a better performer in that lane. Megan’s stage show is staleAF. HER, Jazmine x Ari, Cardi bringing the energy to the snoozefest that is ALWAYS a Migos performance, and the Latifah tribute were the noteworthy points of the 2021 BET Awards…

  5. Are You Kidding Me? June 28, 2021

    I have high hopes for Megan’s Tina Snow era. This past one felt like she made several songs on the strength of “hot girl summer” hitting the mainstream as a phrase. I am so tired of “I miss mixtape (insert rapper) KEEP THAT SAME LYRICAL ENERGY!!!!

    Yung Miami needs to go solo. JT’s delusion and nasty attitude will end both of their careers before they can take off.

    Jazmine and Ari type singers need to be given more respect. The pageantry and effects are cool, but so is pure talent where you can just stand there and SANG.

  6. Bow Down June 28, 2021

    @TGJ You guys give Lil’ Nas too much credit for mediocre talent.
    The performance last night was subpar and disconnected yet again.
    He’s literally a social media star posing as “pop-star” and using his sexuality to keep appeal and its sickening. Just create your art and let people respond to it however they want after. Not everything has to be on display. Stop trying to get tongues wagging for where you lack which is talent because the song has already slid up the charts and the follow up single didnt do any better as well which says a lot.
    And im not hating, promise you im not. I would love to root for him as another black man trying to make it in this industry but im just not convinced on what he is selling and honestly, i dont think he is either.
    Like an earlier poster said about the bet awards, they need to just name it the Social media awards because they are the only ones who seems to go to these type of things now. Theres literally no star power in the room as it was years before.

    • Ace Blanks June 28, 2021

      Facts!!!!! I couldn’t agree more with this!!! We had a time where artists had real talent in the booth and on stage. Now it’s just social media s***. Social media RUINED REAL ART AND TALENT!!!!!

      • Angie June 28, 2021

        Ace…so true! So True! Where’s the Real Talent…the real Singers. That crap that was on stage at the BET Award…the television station reached really really low JUST TO PUT ON A SHOW. They really could have skipped 2021 if this is what they approved of!

      • J June 28, 2021

        If this proves anything it proves that y’all aren’t looking for talent and good music yourselves.

        We are no longer in the era where real talent is spoon-fed to you over the radio and TV. There are PLENTY of artists out there waiting for you to give them a chance.

        Stop being lazy and look for something new. BET adjusted with the times and looks like y’all need to as well…

    • Bow Down June 29, 2021

      @J ….oh shut up Lil’ Nas and stop trying to make fetch happen…it’s not going to happen!
      The show sucked..the music sucked and these award shows have all been trash for serveral years as a result of it. Adjust with the times? So just because the world is currently going to hell in a hand basket, we all must too? And I’m not super religious. I’m just using that as a metaphor…where’s the integrity of this generation? The exclusivity? The protection of privacy and ones art? I’m sorry bruh but I can’t get with it. Call me old school or corny. I’ll take it any day over this new BS. Now granted, there are a few artist worth taking a second look at in this new generation but they are so few and far in between and they seem to only reside underneath in underground while the nonsense takes center stage. Like I said, it’s sickening. And if you think this is talent or art, we’ll sh*t then I feel bad for you….

      • Ace Blanks June 29, 2021

        Chile this character J just some Gen Z lil idiot that don’t know that the f*** he talking about. He basically saying “oh I agree with mediocre being in the for front more than quality”. Like b**** ain’t nobody being lazy finding quality art. Like he just sound like a dumb ass kid that don’t know s***!!! 😂😂 Like did he really try to say the world has moved on to mediocrity and we should too?!?! 😂😂

    • Keith June 29, 2021

      AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! KEEP SAYING THIS. The legacy of black, gay artistic achievement deserves better!

  7. Ace Blanks June 28, 2021

    The only review that kept it real was Rashad. The rest of y’all whack for what y’all saying and I don’t trust y’all judgement anymore. Y’all clearly only giving Lil Nas X love because of the “gay moment”! I’m gay and that still did nothing for me. Acting like that boy is LIKE THAT. Thank God for Rashad for acknowledging how horrible of a performer/singer he is! The rest of y’all delusional. And for the last person to say Silk Sonic was boring but praise Nas X shows how delusional y’all are. Y’all are giving Nas X props for his gimmick and overlooking the lack of talent and for that I can’t respect y’all opinions on this. And then y’all acting like the show was just so spectacular. Rashad really kept it real and from now on he the only opinion I’ll follow from y’all! The show was ok but wayyyyy better. We are in a state where music artists now are trash live and that’s why this awards show showed me. So sad and disappointing!!

  8. Angie June 28, 2021

    I give it a D…too provocative and rhonchi to be a classic BET Award event as in the past. The only performance I loved was H.E.R. and Queen’s Honor of Lifetime Achievement. The rest of the event performances were …in my opinion…garbage! Not the artists, but the entire show itself. I am one that will be carefully contemplating future BET Award shows if this is their future. Disappointed!!!

    • Ace Blanks June 29, 2021

      Facts Angie facts! I still have hope for the BET Awards but this wasn’t it. And I got confirmed to be in the audience this year too. Thank God I changed my mind and didn’t go. Would’ve been a waste of damn money flying over there lol

  9. Fufu June 29, 2021

    Your reviews are trash. TGJ used to be the biggest critics on the planet. Now its just these asslicking woosies writing these watered down s*** pieces. Ever since rihanna stopped singing this site has been so weak.

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