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The 2014 BET Awards – Of Happy Wonderlands and Love Songs

 

The BET Awards are long. Almost four hours so. That’s two movies – or one, if you’re watching Transformers 4.

But a lot happens in that time – young performers get a snippet of time to showcase their fresh skills (witness for 17-year-old Gabi Wilson), a noted Humanitarian is honoured, and a dozen awards are, of course, handed out. And a handful of solid performances are turned in too – highlighting the spectrum of the channel’s ethos.

From Nicki Minaj’s Alice in Wonderland theme to Chris Brown’s kitsch cool backdrop for Loyal, the setup of Sunday night’s show was vibrant and the energy high. The collaborations – John Legend playing piano for Jhene Aiko and Travis Barker drumming for Brown’s dance moves – and the throwbacks, courtesy Troop, Color Me Badd and Silk, as well as Lionel Richie, who was given Lifetime Achievement Award, were fun. The tribute to the late Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou, done by the impeccable Phylicia Rashad, was everything most in memoriams aren’t – moving and sincere. Chris Rock made for a very entertaining host, with jokes about the Black World Cup and Brown’s new – plea – deal, that showed off just how on point his witticisms still are.

My only gripe is that the Best International Act, Africa and UK, are not shown, or at least mentioned during the live show. But many of the awards aren’t – including the sports and movie awards. Although, Lupita Nyong’o’s category of Best Actress was announced, even though she wasn’t there to collect it. Nonetheless, as a South African, it’s been fantastic to watch Mafikizolo shine and represent my country, with their distinctive rhythm and style, during the BET Experience weekend.

Mafikizolo's Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza during the BET Experience
Mafikizolo’s Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza during the BET Experience

The winners, then:

Best International Act: Africa

Davido (Nigeria)

Best International Act: UK

Krept & Konan

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Beyoncé

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Pharrell Williams

Best Group

Young Money

Best Collaboration

Beyoncé f/ JAY Z – Drunk In Love

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

Drake

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Nicki Minaj

Video of the Year

Pharrell Williams – Happy

Video Director of the Year

Hype Williams

Best New Artist

August Alsina

Best Gospel Artist

Tamela Mann

Best Actress

Lupita Nyong’o

Best Actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

YoungStars Award

KeKe Palmer

Best Movie

12 Years a Slave

Subway Sportswoman of the Year

Serena Williams

Subway Sportsman of the Year

Kevin Durant

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award

August Alsina f/ Trinidad Jame$ – I Luv This

Centric Award

Jhené Aiko – The Worst

FANdemonium Award

Beyoncé

[Pics: BET International]

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