It wasn’t his fault. Donald Glover was involved in one of the most awkward moments of the BET Awards last night but the person responsible for the discomfort was unequivocally Jamie Foxx.
If Jamie had a script, he wasn’t reading it. A few times throughout the night, he said out loud that he wasn’t following whatever was written on his prompter. Yeah, we could tell. Jamie Foxx is a great entertainer. He’s funny and talented and truly the perfect choice to host a live event. In theory. However, last night he did not deliver. Maybe he was too comfortable. Sure, a comedian can be off-the-cuff and loose but there’s a difference between unfiltered and unrehearsed.
There were many moments throughout the BET Awards broadcast that were sloppy and unprofessional but the most disappointing was Jamie Foxx’s messy performance. I wanted him to put in the work. I wanted him to be funnier, yes, but I also wanted it to seem like he was trying to host a show, instead of just randomly calling out artists in the crowd who made some stuff he liked this year. I wanted him to rely on something other than his natural charm because as we saw last night, that can only take him so far. I wanted him to be several steps above drunk uncle who never should be given the mic at a family function.
Desus of Desus & Mero gave the most accurate description of the night that encapsulates the show’s vibe so precisely, you didn’t even need to watch to understand the specific kind of awkward the BET Awards provided.
"you know when you're at a funeral and they open the mic to people and someone wearing a bluetooth starts talking? we want to capture that feeling" - the 2018 bet awards— Desus Nice (@desusnice) June 25, 2018
Get it now? Which brings me back to Donald Glover. He was sitting front row and his face was frozen in various degrees of “why’d someone give Uncle Jamie a mic?” When Uncle Jamie started talking about how great "This Is America" is and forced the audience to give it a standing ovation, Donald smiled uncomfortably. He was even a good sport when Jamie unexpectedly PULLED HIM ONSTAGE TO PERFORM. Seriously. Donald Glover is just sitting there in his sexy man pyjamas and Jamie Foxx literally forced him to get onstage and dance. Are you cringing yet?
If you’re thinking that the above clip isn’t that awkward, imagine sitting through five minutes of Jamie fanboying over Childish Gambino and trying to get the audience to do the “yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah” of "This Is America" to no avail BEFORE this happened. The control room must have been losing its goddamn mind. To make things even more awkward, there are rumours that Childish Gambino was asked to perform at the show and he declined.
The GAG is Childish was supposed to perform but pulled out. A few others did as well, including Janet Jackson #BETAwards— Gerrick D. Kennedy (@GerrickKennedy) June 25, 2018
It’s not the most legit source and I’m just speculating here but it wouldn’t be a surprise to me that artists would pull out of a show that couldn’t even get its prompter situation together. The entire broadcast was a hot mess and that was the final product. I can’t imagine the disaster happening behind the scenes.
The BET Award is a self-proclaimed celebration of black excellence. Celebrating black excellence is one of my favourite pastimes. I don’t want to be sh-tting on the production of this show. Black Twitter basically dragged it for three hours and while that was hilarious, I’m sure everyone would have rather been praising a show full of black people that has in the past been the best award show of the year. I usually love the BET Awards because it’s not like other award shows. People actually get up and dance (well). It always has the feel of a backyard cookout instead of a stuffy Hollywood event.
The thing is, the laidback barbecue vibe still needs to be produced and your host still needs to stick to script on occasion to pull off that vibe. You still need to show your work. The BET Awards had flashes of brilliance like certain performances (H.E.R and Daniel Caesar OH MY GOD), the Anita Baker tribute (!!!!) and Janelle Monae (see here for my post) but overall, the show was not worthy of the talent in the room.