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.
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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.
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!
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.
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.