I think Chris Brown's tears at the 2010 BET Awards were sincere. I think that when you are an entitled brat who can't for the life of you figure out why no one wants to listen to the supremely shitty music of a pop star-beater ("It’s nothing else that I can do. I’m doing everything that I need to do," is how he put it), it must feel really good to receive the attention you were before you beat that pop star. I think this was a perfect storm of acceptance from his peers and the self-actualization message of "Man in the Mirror" that led to Chris Brown's onstage breakdown. (From where I sat, it was hilarious at first, shocking to watch unfold, and unsurprising in retrospect.) It may have been the most sincere thing he's done ever, but at least since beating Rihanna. It was also incredibly unprofessional. He had a job to do -- salute Michael Jackson -- and instead, he shifted the focus to himself. This is why you don't invite Chris Brown to perform a tribute. When he beat Rihanna/his career to oblivion, he showed that he has a hard time controlling his emotions. Well, look how much things haven't changed! He couldn't even sing a line of a song that he was assigned! The general tone toward him seems to be one of forgiveness and I wonder why. He only furthered his reputation as a volatile wreck. The very act of crying is what makes everything better? Absurd and ridiculous. Let's remind ourselves of this next time we have a murderer or rapist or BP exec whining in front of cameras, OK? Or don't. Whatever. Be as emotionally irresponsible as you want. It's apparently the thing to do now.
I'm sure you would like gifs of him crying, so...
The thing is that with nothing to lose (and a recorded awareness of it -- again, let me direct you to the ONTD post linked above where he says, "I can’t be an underground mixtape artist. That’s where we are."), it was in his best interest to pull something so emotionally manipulative and potentially controversial. Again, I don't think his tears were premeditated, but it doesn't matter, anyway -- it's the same despicable result, regardless of the intent.
Oh, and then he won the totally fake Fandemonium Award, which came as a result of his fans passing a battery of "social media tests," and so it proves nothing except that his fans are web savvy and probably annoying as hell.
And I don't like that he borrowed a jacket that my aunt stopped wearing in '87 to accept it in.
But regarding his fans, I said some shit about this shit on Twitter, and would you believe that no one stepped to me about it? Maybe people know better (although someone tried to get sassy with me about Nicki Minaj, which please), maybe no Chris Brown fans follow me, maybe they aren't as annoying as I think they are. Jury's out.
Actually, after experiencing the aural Xanax of Usher performing "There Goes My Baby" (badly!)...
...and Alicia Keys babbling about whatever, I figured that I would just confine my comments to my Twitter account and not recap here. And then the Chris Brown thing happened and I felt obligated. Yet one more reason to despise the guy! Anyway, this will be by no means complete as I've said so much on Twitter already and the show was well over three hours long. No one was in any rush to make it end on time, either -- the introductory naming of stars that were to appear lasted three minutes, there was a long stretch of humanitarian-recognizing, CoverGirl U.N.I.T.Y. winners (whoever they are), lots of artists on the rise taking us out to commercial and a little girl that came onstage and sang "Fallin'" for approximately an hour. So if you want a more comprehensive, albeit backward and 140-character quip-based recap, check my Twitter. Otherwise, press on:
First, let me talk about Nicki Minaj. I don't like her, but what I haven't talked about really is the fact that I wish I did. I really wish someone so attention-grabbing and fun-seeming could also be a respectable female MC because god knows we need one, but no. Sorry. And the thing is that I only feel more justified every time I pay attention to her. She has the nerve to rap something as banal as, "I look like yes and you look like no," on Drake's album, you know? That shit does not match whatever wig she's wearing. And speaking of wigs...
...she wore a lot of them. But you know what she didn't do? Rap any of the three separate verses she spit on stage. She lip synched everything. I mean, I'm sure she's full of herself at this point, but she has to realize that a lot of people do not take her seriously in principle, sadly starting with the fact that she's a woman. She acknowledged that much in her acceptance speech for Best Female Hip Hop Artist when she told us she was "doing this for women," too. But it's really hard to swallow the feminism of a woman who's literally seen and not heard. It's even harder to swallow her rapping ability.
While accepting her award, she talked about Queen Latifah showing her positive energy in rehearsal and then said, "I think it’s so important for positive energy among women," before paying lip service to the women rappers who opened doors for her.
It was all a barb at Lil' Kim for her admittedly nonsensical beef with Nicki. But I don't believe Minaj was actually talking the high road. Sorry, but someone who says on record, "It's like I just single-handedly annihilated/ You know, every rap bitch in the building...I don't even know why you girls bother at this point," is not particularly invested in female solidarity. She was just being snooty and condescending, which isn't very positive-energy conducive, now is it?
Speaking of Latifah, the show's host, she looked like a half-bat:
She also did a weird self-deprecation bit followed by a musical medley recapping the year and calling out nominees. I think she got "once starred in a movie with Steve Martin" confused with "is Steve Martin." She told a joke about Lil' Wayne keeping his soap on a rope in prison, which struck me as at least vaguely homophobic and entirely off-putting from someone that we can say is closeted, with near certainty. If you're going to be so (allegedly) callous as to not support the community that's providing your orgasms, you can at least silently respect it by not telling jokes that posit gay sex in the negative realm, even if said gay sex is prison rape. I don't know, maybe I'm nitpicking, but it was at least in poor taste. She also did a weird series of costume changes, which per Adam Graham, referenced her movie career, but I didn't even get that. I was actually kind of proud of myself for not having followed the films of Queen Latifah closely enough to identify this:
When she was dressed like this...
...she said, "This next performer is only seen in the company of fine women, just like me." That just fucked everything up.
(Since she'd already portrayed her Set It Off character, which I did recognize, I can only assume I missed the Queen Latifah-as-Eazy E biopic?)
Kanye's opening performance was so dull.
It basically consisted of him lunging on a fake mountain. There was not a single close-up on him, even. His single's called "Power," but Usher and Diddy showed him up. Between the touch-sensitive light-up floor...
...and the pyrotechnics display...
...they showed us who really had the power. I guess this was Kanye's return to the awards-show circuit after the Taylor Swift debacle, and so it was consciously toned-down. Much as I hate his temper tantrums, I'd still take Asshole Kanye over Boring Kanye any day. In that respect, Chris Brown did Kanye's job for him tonight. How embarrassing is that?
Did you know that John Legend's hairline was a trending topic on Twitter for a portion of the show's run? If you're wondering why...
...wonder no more.
And speaking of Wonder, it turns out that Stevie's been watching us all along...
He set-up the Prince tribute while making fun of him throughout the package's duration. It was, well, wonderful, really.
But before I get to the old-people portion of the show, a few more randoms:
If I got invited to an awards show, I would bring along one of my sisters and do the exact same thing the whole time.
Some people brought enough crew members onstage with them that their acceptance speeches resembled Best Picture acceptance speeches at the Oscars:
Note to the crew members: we can all see you hanging on. If that's how you really want to announce yourself to the world, keep doing that.
Best Halloween costume:
Seriously, it looks like it's made out of felt. There's looking like Lady Gaga and then there's looking like a wayward employee of Santa Claus.
Best crazy old lady:
I mean, just listen. She sounds like she's getting tattooed (and that's coming from someone with total respect for Deniece Williams and "Silly" in particular -- it's probably in my all-time Top 10 tracks).
Best review of Trey Songz ever:
Best review of a pregnant woman crawling on a piano ever:
(In reference to:)
Best turtleneck bearing someone's likeness:
Patti LaBelle kicked off her heels for emphasis, transforming from Patti LaBelle to a drag queen doing Patti LaBelle right before our eyes.
And then Prince grabbed the shoe:
And then his bassist asked for it:
Because she knows what's good.
Best homoerotic moment:
I really thought Chaka was going to say, "No homo," immediately after Patti LaBelle forced her into this lip lock.
Best thing ever:
I don't know if I missed it, but I'm pretty sure that El DeBarge was on this show just because he's El DeBarge. He performed twice. Any awards show that gives me El DeBarge just 'cuz is an awards show that I can't complain about entirely. I'll give this that, at least.