Yesterday, BET aired their annual awards show. The June awards show celebrates achievements in music, television, movies, and philanthropy with a focus on the national black community. In that night, black twitter comes together to watch the show and generate jokes, memes, and gifs for the second half of the year.
Now, we do have our qualms with the network. Despite the name, BET hasn’t been a staple for black entertainment in the past 10 years. It is now owned by the white ran Viacom and it is barely the image of its old self. We no longer have Rap City, College Hill, or Teen Summit. The channel doesn’t have too much original content anymore but I will continue to watch as long as the awards show is a black twitter staple.
In this past week, we have seen the unwrapping of the GOP healthcare bill, Philando Castile’s murder receive no justice, Prodigy pass away due to sickle cell anemia, a black off duty police office be shot by his own fellow officer and black teenagers be arrested for selling bottled waters on federal land (an offense that is usually punished with a citation). With a week like that, I don’t care to be depressed on a Sunday evening. The Lord made that day to rest so that’s exactly what I was gonna do. I wanted to rest my heavy heart. Ladies and Gentlemen, what is the best way to rest a heavy heart? For me and millions of other people, the best way is to watch blackness thrive and flourish without any interruptions. Us millions virtually watch it together and share commentary. This is where the BET awards come in.
Don’t get me wrong. There was definitely some shucking and jiving occurring during the pre-show. I found the distributing of honorary black cards cringe worthy and the discussions of chitterlings and gizzards should have stayed in the twitter universe where they came from. But for those four hours, I didn’t think about any of the injustices above. Even for the most positive person, that type of peace in mind is hard to come by. The awards show also allowed entertainers to get some shine and attention. No one else is honoring Chance the Rapper for his humanitarian work at such a young age. No one else understands the magic of Yara Shahidi they way the black community does. No one else understands the major mic drop BET did by awarding Remy Ma with the female MC award. The grammy’s doesn’t understand how dope Cardi B’s story is. So yes, Viacom does now own BET, but this awards show is still FUBU (for us by us). Production was trash but even the flubs were something only #blacktwitter knew how to poke fun at.
Nowadays we bond over our blackness because of tragedy. Watching these shows allow us to be black together but in another way. It’s like being at an event and then the DJ plays Before I Let Go. That moment is incomparable and that feeling is so hard to hold onto when we feel like our humanity is being challenged 25/8. For many, it taps into the duality of being a black activist. It doesn’t distract us from reality because inequality is shoved into our faces everyday but it is a good way to come up for air and I don’t know about ya’ll, but I need air to survive.