The BET Awards 2012: The Parlour Review

Last week, I good-naturedly teased a publicist buddy about how exhausted she’d be thanks to travelling to and working at both the BET Awards and EMF. My quip about how the events are days apart was funny too, until I was in the same boat thanks to the Ford Fusion marketing team and their offer to sponsor a Parlour trip to the Awards. I’d love to tell you that I’ve preserved my fresh face despite my mileage but an LAX security officer told me this morning, “You should smile, you look tired.” Still, enjoying the 2012 BET Awards in person was worth an under-eye bag or four.

Cissy Houston brought down the house with a brave rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” during the tribute to her late daughter, Whitney Houtson. Mariah Carey began the tearful dedication by saying, “I miss my friend, I miss hearing her laughter … but we’ll always have the music.” Monica followed, delivering a soul-stirring “I Love The Lord,” and Brandy increased the tempo with “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” complete with fancy dance steps. Angela Bassett, Loretta Divine and Lela Rochon said a few words about their fallen Waiting To Exhale sister and Chaka Khan wowed the audience with her performance of “I’m Every Woman,” and her dramatic weight loss.

Elsewhere the show’s highlights included Kanye West‘s opening performance of “Mercy” and “the song formerly known as Theraflu” alongside his G.O.O.D. Music crew of Pusha T and Big Sean. D’Angelo‘s return to the televised stage (without so much eyeliner this time *claps*) was so fabulously organic that he made me forget I was at an Awards event and not a Voodoo concert. Kevin Hart’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood” has been my favorite since its introduction and host Samuel L. Jackson’s clowning Hart, saying “He already did a slave movie, it was called Soul Plane” had me hollering in my seat. Melanie Fiona was stunning in a gown accented with tulle as she killed “Wrong Side of a Love Song,” and Nicki Minaj performed “Champion” and “Beez In Tha Trap” with my favorite scarecrow, 2 Chainz. Chante Moore, dressed in ostentatious platforms and a teeny dress, gave the musical tribute to Donna Summer, and Chris Brown didn’t disappoint with “Turn Up The Music.” The Reverend Al Sharpton received a Lifetime Achievement award, and delivered a call for participation in the 2012 presidential election by saying “It ain’t about Obama, it’s about our mamas.” Frankie Beverly and Maze picked up a Lifetime Achievement award as well and Joe, Tyrese and Faith Evans sang classics like “Happy Feelings” to my joy.

Kicking off the BET Awards show festivities at the Ford Hot Spot media lounge backstage at the Shrine Auditorium, I walked to the red carpet with the press trip crew, including Christen of DivasanddorksTalking with Tammy of Atlanta and our girl, Christina of Love Brown Sugar. I caught up with celebrities like A$AP Rocky, who looked terrified at first but eventually warmed to the barrage of interviews thanks to support from his fashionista bestie Jeremy Scott. Marsha Ambrosius, French Montana, Tamia, Swizz Beatz, Tamar Braxton, Shanell, Pusha T, LaLa Anthony and actor Boris Kodjoe also stopped by. The Awards pre-show, where the OMG Girlz, Kid Ink and Future performed during the carpet hours, concluded with a Ford executive announcing the winner of a new Ford Fusion, and of course I couldn’t stop hearing Oprah’s voice in my head, saying ‘And you get a car!’

Later, after asking Tamia and Boris for marriage advice in the Ford Hot Spot – He said because I’m an only child, I’ll be the worst, and he ‘knows because my wife’s an only child.’ Me, ‘Humph.’ – I met my girl at Warner Music Group’s after-party. There, I listened to a slew of Maybach Music records, watched Meek Mill re-rap his own lyrics with friends, took a fan photo for Chris Paul, chatted with porn star Mr. Marcus and reminisced with Rick Ross’ manager about old times as he laughed. Bridget Kelly also stopped by for a kiki, before I waved good night to Stalley and I wrapped the night at Hollywood’s Kitchen 24 diner, where my girl and I almost fell alseep in our eggs.

The BET Awards 2012 were the best I’ve seen from the channel in years and a birdie told me that next year, BET will blow the event out into a three-day party, scheduled the week before ESSENCE Music Festival. Maybe I should get some eye cream, eh?

ps. I apologize in advance for any typos, I’m deliriously tired.

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