Thursday, October 18, 2007

The 3rd Annual Festival of Negro Nonsense Recap

[We watch, so you don't have to.]

Despite how righteous I might occasionally come off on this blog, reality is, I love a heaping helping of ignorance on the regular just as much as the next man. So when I realized the BET Hip Hop Awards were coming on last night, I didn't just watch because I knew a recap would be blogger gold. Sure, that was part of the motivation, but I also watched, because just like everyone else, I like to watch cringe-worthy train wrecks too.

I know my recap is going to cause a few of you to point hypocritical fingers at me, since I just praised The House That Debra Lee Renovated last week. Reality is, duality is the essence of life. There are very few absolutes. So, I can rightfully praise The Station That Everybody Hates, But Nobody (Allegedly) Watches for putting out good shows like Sunday Best, Exalted, and The Chop Up, while clowning them for such niggnorance like the BET Hip Hop Awards. Is this essentially talking out of both sides of my mouth? Sure, you could call it that. Do I care? Not so much.

That said, I don't think a more blatant televised display of Extreme Niggadom has evar been condensed in 120 minutes in the history of the world. I know Enough Is Enough and Pastor Delman Coates were literally salivating on their remote controls while watching this nonsense. If you ever wanted to document concrete examples of just how sh***y BET is, last night provided Exhibits A - Infinity. Yeah, I know Infinity isn't an alphabet. Whatever.

Since the foolishness was all over the place, I won't bother trying to piece together a real recap. But just in case you missed it, here's a sampling of the lowlights.
* Kanye West opens the show with a stirring medley of his radio-friendly hits. While I can't nitpick at anything other than his choice of fruity attire (c'mon dawg, fushia pants?), you know you're in for an awful show when your biggest star is the opener. It would probably be all downhill from there.

* The downhill descent begins. Katt Williams is escorted out by two plus sized women. I can think of no other real reason for them using two plus sized models than for the shock and awe, and ignorant laugh factor of them using two plus sized models.

* Williams performs a churchy monologue with 2-3 bleeped out shouts of the word "G.D.". Our Savior is crying inside.

* The whole show seemed overshadowed by an ongoing defense of hip hop as an artform. Several vignettes by hip hop luminaries focused on the topic of "Why I Love Hip Hop", but these all just come off as lame apologies by folks desperate to keep their lights on and rent paid.

* David "The ManChild also known as Lavell Crump" Banner (props to WAOD) uses his "Why I Love Hip Hop" segment to rattle off his usual ignorant banter about how many millionaires hip hop has created, and why it's "necessary" to hear voices like Lil' Boosie and Plies. Then we goes on some self-aggrandizing spiel about being "like a pimp" and "like a President". I gently throw up in my mouth. Then he unfurls a XXXL Michael Vick jersey and shouts "If the Falcons don't love you, we still do!". I violently throw up in my mouth.

* Speaking of pimps, Eric Michael Dyson and Cornell West both give their "Why I Love Hip Hop" segments, and use the opportunity to softly pander to hip hop artists, while kicking a lil' rhyme themselves. Just a few weeks ago, West and Dyson were both softly pandering to hip hop artists on BET's "Hip Hop Vs America" townhall discussion, now both guys are sitting front row at the Hip Hop Awards. Is that not a slight conflict of interest of some sort? Seriously, what does it say when our brightest intellectuals, Ivy League professors like these two dudes are rappers themselves? Maybe education ain't all it's cracked up to be.

* Nelly performs his new song "Let It Go, Lil Mama" or some such nonsense, while flanked by a 10 year old girl doing stripper dances, splits, and droppin' it like it's hot. If there was ever a child headed straight for the pole... And these are my son's future wives? Damn.

* The nameless d-bag who made the song "Ay Bay Bay" performs, flanked by a 4 year old hypeman cloaked in dark stunna shades, and a Bloods-style red bandanna. MLK is crying inside.

* Following yet another self-aggrandizing Hendrix-like guitar solo by Wyclef, out comes Busta Rhymes (in a military style gas mask) and one of TI's weedcarriers (in a stick-up style ski mask) performing a song with a hook that goes "get hurt, merked, put em' in the dirt". Noticeably absent if the song's originator himself, TI, who, well, let's just say got caught up and couldn't make it. This minor legal snafu didn't stop his co-horts from yelling "Free T.I.!" of course.

* Video Vixen Melyssa Ford comes out to present an award. Cue the "gratuitous ass shot" camera.

* Lil' Wayne performs his newest song. In between cleverly disguised drug analogies (cheese and ziti) he gets lazy and just blurts out the words "kill", "gun", and "murder". So much for censorship.

* Lil' Wayne wins an award, and since it's clearly one of his two weekends a month, proceeds to bring all 18 of his kids on stage with him to accept it. Of course, to toast the occasion, Wayne, who is also clearly very high, brings along a 20 ounce Styrofoam cup, filled with who knows what.

* Outkast's Big Boi, wins and award, and ends his thank yous with the immortal phrase "and we still in ya' jaw". I don't have any idea what that means, but I doubt it's a shoutout to his dentist.

* An assemblage of rappers named Titty Boy, Dollar Boy, and something else boy, join Lil' Wayne (yes, again) onstage to perform a song called "Little Dufflebag Boy". I have no idea what all this means, but I seriously doubt it's an ode to Samsonite.

* Outkast's Big Boi, wins another award, gives props to his son's 6 & Under youth football team for winning a game earlier in the day, and signals an impending celebration with the immortal phrase "it's gon' be some smoke in the city tonight". Pop Warner is crying inside.

* In the name of "see we told you we were fair and balanced", Common and Kanye West win a lions share of the awards. Neither seems to really give a sh*t.

* UGK's Bun B wins an award, thanks his wife and kids, and wisely tells the crowd to eschew violence at the after parties and instead to "go find somebody to lay with tonight".

* 1/3 of the Jena Six come onstage to give a shoutout to their Fellow Four, who for various reasons (incarceration, homework, and hopefully lack of parental sign-off) were unable to make it. I can't say much about this, because I was stuck on how these kids parents could let them, as modern day civil rights heroes (sike) come on stage with their pants saggin' to their asses. Spell "saggin" backwards, and that will give you some indication of what kinda nonsense this is. At least Katt Williams did say this was "in no way condoning a six on one attack". I bet Debra Lee wrote that one herself.

* Speaking of Debra Lee, she sat in a prominent seat on the front row the entire time and could be seen periodically gettin' crunk and wincing. Kinda, sorta, just like me as I watched from home.

* The climax (no pun intended) of the night comes when everyone's favorite one hit wonder of the moment, Soulja Boy, gets onstage and performs his hit, "Crank Dat Soulja Boy". This really saddens me, because as cool as the dance is for pre-teens, I can't help but shake the image of what "SuperManning that Ho" really means now that I know better. Did he really have to mess the song up with something to vile and crude? And while I'm on topic, a note to black America: If you're over 40 and doing the Soulja Boy on nationwide TV, just go ahead and kill yourself now. Life isn't getting any easier.

* Near the end of his performance, Soulja Boy goes over and hugs Debra Lee. I notice M.I.M.S., the one hit wonder responsible for "This Is Why I'm Hot" in the background, looking on wistfully. He has the same "that used to be me" look Al Bundy has while watching a high school football game. Then he leaves early because his shift at Church's Chicken is about to start and they've already warned him repeatedly about being late. Soulja Boy, since you're in your 14th minute right now, I have some good news. They are still hiring for the 6-12 shift.
The overall tone of the show was strangely conflicting. Half the segments, like the tribute to KRS One, and the excellent rooftop ciphers were awesome examples of the good that hip hop can inspire. The rest, like the 40 some bullet points above, just completely undermined everything good about the art form. It was like a real life example of Chris Rock's brilliant "Black People vs Niggas" routine.

I guess I walked away with this thinking one thing: the BET Hip Hop Awards showed that despite how far BET has come, it still has a very very very very very long way left to go.

Ensuring that there's no 4th Annual Festival of Negro Nonsense would be a good step in this direction.

BONUS: Here's video of Nelly and the aforementioned future Flavor of Love contestant around the 2 minute mark. Dorothy Height is crying inside.

Peep more Festival of Negro Nonsense video lowlights at

Soulja Boy's tune, T.I.'s troubles give awards show bite [B'More Sun]

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