Adapting: Virtual Award Shows

Still in the middle of a pandemic, the show must go on. The BET Awards didn't let the moment pass them, using the virtual world to their advantage. DId you watch? Pour a glass of something toasty and let's touch on some of the highlights of this evening on screen.

Rather than letting another cancellation act as the heavy clouds about the entertainment industry, BET decided to spring to action and make the most of what we’re all currently working with. The results were star-studded, innovative and heart-wrenching. Due to COVID-19, the award show made use of green screens, with social distancing in effect even during duets and with multiple band members playing close by. 

BET-Awards-2020-pitstop-musicians.jpgThe Atlantic reviews “Rather than opening with a nominated star debuting a new song or having its host, the comedian Amanda Seales, kick things off with a monologue, the three-hour ceremony began with the 12-year-old gospel singer Keedron Bryant belting out his viral ballad, “I Just Wanna Live.” When he finished singing, images of the recent protests against police brutality and systemic racism flooded the screen, and the rappers Nas, Rapsody, YG, and Black Thought joined Public Enemy to perform their rousing 1989 anthem, “Fight the Power.” By the time the song ended, awards show felt like the wrong way to describe the night. This year’s production was pointedly aiming to televise a revolution.”

The evening was lit up by stars from all corners of the industry, but a special guest who was dearly missed was Kobe Bryant himself. BET paid tribute to him with a gorgeous performance by none other than Lil Wayne performing his track “Kobe Bryant” with lyrics added to honor the heart-hitting loss. 

DJ D-Nice has been keeping us all in the zone with his “Club Quarantine”, which is a multiple houred Instagram Live, where he spins all of our favorites, has special guests and thousands of viewers who come for the music and stay for the comradery. This year during the 2020 BET Awards, he was one of the Honoree Recipients for the "Shine A Light" Award. Co-recipients included  Timbaland and Swizz Beatz.

Two of our very favorite performances hail from upcoming R&B songstress Summer Walker and the sister duo Chloe x Halle. Summer Walker performed a few of her own tracks and then teamed up with Usher. The set was gorgeous for these particular pieces, with Summer playing electric guitar behind walls doused in light pink and blue hues. She truly stood out as her own artist and did not disappoint. Chloe x Halle performing “Forgive Me” and “Do It” virtually, on their very own green lush set. They were ever as intriguing and incredibly talented as they always are. 

We believe that this will set the stage for the rest of the year with awards shows to come, and beyond. So many have gotten creative - this is truly the act of making lemons into lemonade. We can almost view this as a blessing in disguise, as the usual M.O. of television networks and the general way of how things are run has now come to halt. This is a chance for all of us to come together and make a change. We’ve got to take initiative and make the best of what we’re working with. BET has done this and has now set the bar higher than we could ever imagine, all dazzled and dripping in talent, promise, hope and the love of art.