The 2007 BET Award show, recently held at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, had some great performances, the usual list of celebrities and a exciting evening for the lucky few who got a seat in the upper balcony. Of course you can watch the telecast on BET as it will be replayed several times. Good thing, as a few of this year’s performers were rewind worthy. Performances by Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, 50 Cent, and a tribute to Gerald Levert, were just a few of the highlights of the night.
I had a chance to attend the Media Day event, on Monday June 25th and managed to talk to a few of the presenters, deejays, and various media reps there. T.I., Robin Thicke, Bun B, Swizz Beats, and Monique were a few of the celebs, who mingled with the press crowd, interviewing with radio personalities that were set up with live remotes in a separate room.
The security was tight and loose at the same time, as I was able to walk freely in the radio press room and literally bump elbows with Slimm Thugg and Mike Jones, in the packed spot. The staff seemed to catch on to the security breech pretty quickly, and soon all press was required to be escorted anywhere we went. It was a small inconvenience, as all the media had to do was sit and wait for the stars to come to them.
The cast of BET show, “College Hill Virgin Island” spoke on how the show has helped them all in their college careers, as well as help bring exposure to their the Virgin Island to viewers. Brian McKnight spoke on his upcoming movie projects, his new job at The Wave as a morning talk show host, and doing more work in film.
Shop Boyz, the group behind the new joint, “Party Like A Rock Star” spoke on their rise to fame, telling the crowd how they came up from the projects of Atlanta, curb serving and trappin’, before finally putting their talents together and making music. Now they are certified rock stars. One of the journalists started to pull their card, stressing the whole rock star gimmick thing. At first the Shop Boyz didn’t seem to even hear what was being said to them, but the reporter mentioned it again, asking them who were their rock influences, and pressing them on the fact that the song is basically a gimmick. They handled the question…well..like a rock star, with a safe answer and exit sage left. In fact many of the artists seemed to do that when the hard questions came out. Many were asked their thoughts on the whole Imus/Hip-Hop thing and misogyny in rap music, most of them returned by basically giving the safe answers without getting into the whole thing and getting the hell outta dodge.
Comments like “I never say that word in MY house for real”, or “We use that word as a show of love and respect” or “We flipped it and use it how we want to use it” also were repeated. I don’t know if I blamed some of the artist, especially when they have the N or B words, in the middle of the hooks of their song of the moment. That and the fact that every one is so ultra sensitive about lyrics in hip-hop. Imagine that.
Nevertheless the interviews were cool, with some of our favorite artists talking to us all for a second. T.I. came on stage and spoke about everything but his altercation with Chaka Zulu the day before. He did mention the “fine line between genius and insanity, ” something he repeated in his onstage apology, at the following award show. The press was told he would speak about the current project only, but he went to speak on the Chevy deal, “Top Down” and hip-hop in general. The self proclaimed king of the south was all smiles as he spoke to press room, clearly in T.I. mode, keeping TIP under lock and chain for the moment.
Kymani Marley spoke on his new music and the release of “Shottas 2”, coming out soon. The cast of BET’s new show “Baldwin Hills” spoke on their upcoming show, their thoughts on technology (Now you don’t have to call a girl anymore, you can hit her up on the sidekick so that’s cool), famous parents and life in their neighborhood that is being called by some The Black Beverly Hills. Check for the show soon.
Press was also granted a peek into the rehearsal stage for about five minutes, and I got to listen to Robin Thicke warm up with “Lost Without You”, complete with dancers and a rising front stage. The performance was amazing, topped off by the whole stop and start flow of the live rehearsal. Make sure you set your Tivo for the next rebroadcast of the show!
story/photos by Laron Cue