The BET Awards

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Somewhere Jennifer Holliday is beaming with a painful expression that only she would classify as a smile as she was [finally] given the chance to remind audiences that she is the original “Effie White.” Performing alongside the 21st century’s “Effie,” Academy-Award winning actress, Jennifer Hudson, Ms. “And I Am Telling You I’ll Be Damned If You Forget About Me” Holliday was able to place fear in the hearts and minds of a new generation as she ferociously growled with a screaming Hudson on the musical’s most famous anthem, “And I Am Telling You.”

It was an historic albeit a fearful moment in the Dreamgirls saga. There’s something about the way Holliday fixes her face while singing that makes me think, “I see dead people.” It’s not polite to speak ill of your elders, but it’s also impolite to mock stroke victims while singing, J.Holli.

Still sticking with the multi-personality disorder angle for his new album, T.I. introduced his performance of “Big Things Poppin” with a video of himself having a conversation with his ‘spechul frand,’ T.I.P. T.I.P. must be a fan of Gilligan’s Island as he sprinted onto the stage in Thurston Howell III’s hat. As usual, T.I. represented for the thin man (don’t hate) by performing as if he weighed two-hundred and fifty pounds. I don’t think anyone enjoyed the performance more than Diana Ross. The 60-something supreme diva was caught on camera standing up jiggin’ along to T.I.’s — making her my new hero.

I couldn’t tell you what song Ne-Yo performed, because the last song of his that I listened to by choice was “So Sick.” But, since I’ve been advised to throw in a positive spin here and there to balance out the cynicism, I’ll say this: He did Michael Jackson’s old moves with fluency and he didn’t sound off key when he wasn’t singing over a pre-recorded track. Oh, and he gets points for trying to keep the energy up during Fabolous’ underwhelming performance of “Make Me Better.” Master Splinter would be proud (though Usher is probably somewhere laughing). Probably not as proud as The Hershey Company, though, given that Fab was dressed like the wrapping of a caramel-flavored Hershey’s Kisses.

Diddy, still clamoring for hope about that solo career, made the wise choice to lip sync his Prince-inspired single, “Last Night” featuring Keyshia Cole. Keyshia sounded a lot better than she did at church, though she still visibly had the ready-to-stab grimace she’s become famous for. Not so Lil Kim found her way back on to the main stage, giving Foxy Brown even more reasons to cry and lie to DJs.

Beyonce found inspiration in C3PO for the introduction to her performance of “Get Me Bodied.” The most shocking part of her performance was that it was used to introduce group mate and usual understudy, Kelly Rowland.

How great was it to see Kelly finally get her deserved share of the spotlight? Despite her voice sounding like it was possessed by the spirit of Barry White and Grandma Winslow, I think Kelly made up for it by exuding confidence, presence, and much more charisma on stage than she has in past performances.

It was also good to see Destiny’s Child on stage together. Not surprising that they managed to bring along their adopted third-cousin, Solange, on stage with them, but she out-twirked her big sister, so enjoy it while you can, Solange. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be let back on that stage anytime soon. And if you caught the split camera image on the right, you caught Michelle the Gospel Singer pussy-poppin’ her way out of an invitation to the next Stellar Awards. If it’s any consolation, Te-Te, I’ll invite you to the club with me.

I don’t remember much about Robin Thicke’s performance outside of I can now tell that he is in fact the son of that guy from “Growing Pains” by the way he tried to rock his hips, then wave and sip. Negative.

I can’t really mock a tribute performance, but I will say Patti Labelle looked like Glenda the Good Witch as she walked on stage to holler loud enough for everyone – including Gerald Levert – to hear her.

R.I.P. Gerald.

Shout out to the Wizard of the Oz.

So for about a minute and a half 50 just walked around with a big ass grin on his face, forgoing the actual point of him appearing on stage: to perform a song. Around the second verse, I guess he decided, “Hell, I ain’t that high!” and carried on with a performance of his current single, “Amusement Park.” The performance reminded me of the amusement park in Houston that I frequented as a kid: demolished.

R.I.P., Astroworld.

It was good to see Erykah Badu fly back from Pluto to take part in the tribute for Diana Ross. I miss you, Erykah. Fly home more often.

Next in line was Chaka Khan, who looked like she did Diana Ross the small favor of eating Mary Wilson. I don’t remember much of the performance outside of, “Ahhhh!”

Same goes for Stevie, only replace the screams with mumbles. “Zip, zop, do do dop, mumble, mumble, some Diana Ross lyrics, bop a do dop.”

And proof that there is a God, Ciara had a hairstyle that made her look less like a tranny. She can’t sing worth a damn, but who ever expects vocal theatrics from her? Typical performance, but good looks on reminding us all that Lil Jon is still alive. I was certain snap killed him.

Go Big Gul What Chu Gon Do?

The best part of the show for me was the host, Mo’Nique.

I love anyone that will call their 83-year-old grandmother and ask her if she’s been drinking.

If only she taught the girls of “Charm School” how to be that graceful while sweeping the flo’ with it.

As usual, she delivered, hopefully reminding people to never ever invite Damon Wayans to host the show again. Ever.

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