So I did not watch the BET Awards...which is not that big of a deal since most of my Facebook friends posted live commentary while it aired. I spent a good portion of the morning reading their hilarious reactions.
And as I suspected, the universal conclusion was that the show was an entertaining hot mess! Which they all kept watching even after that fact became clear...
That is exactly why the BET Awards will always be a hot mess. It is why the now-defunct Source Awards were a hot mess. It is why Tyler Perry is a multi-gazillionaire.
Because we keep watching. So we need to ask ourselves, why do we keep watching?
I was up last night writing about bad black films for the BBW blog, and while that is another issue altogether, the point still is that if we truly want better entertainment options, then we need to cut out the crap. It is just like losing weight--you cannot say that you want to slim down to a size 6 one minute, but then the next minute finds you scarfing down a dozen Krispy Kremes.
So perhaps a better question is if we truly want these award shows (sitcoms, movies, music, etc.) to improve...or do we get far more enjoyment from criticizing them?
Several weeks ago I decided to stop watching the Housewives series on BRAVO, even though I find these shows highly entertaining. And maybe it was just a few weeks later that I listened to an interview on the radio with one of the former DC Housewives who gave her perspective on this genre. She discussed the new season of the Vh1 knock-off Basketball Wives and how it reinforced certain negative stereotypes about black women. Her own reason for appearing on a reality show was to counteract that imagery, but in the end, her show was cancelled because it lacked the same level of scandal and drama.
How do you spell I-R-O-N-I-C?
So, we really prefer do prefer the car crashes, the back-stabbing, the really bad fashion choices, and the overall sense that this is the best some of these folks can do. We want Kanye to throw a temper tantrum about not winning whatever award he was not even in the running to win. We hope that a third of the female performers will look like hookers and that half of the male performers will look like they were just released from Rikers. We expect that the seven-second delay will be absolutely imperative because someone will drop an f-bomb or two during an acceptance speech wherein they will also happen to thank Jesus. We know that half these folks can't sing.
If we really wanted a good clean awards show, we would watch the Kennedy Center Honors.
In the end, BET is just doing what every other business does when it comes to promoting its products: