Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BET Awards 2010: The Paradigm of Redemption

The classic song of redemption reminds us that "We fall down, but we get up".... and so it is for the 2010 BET Awards...

This time last year, the fans were incensed. We were terribly shocked at the news of Michael Jackson's death. The world was reeling with grief, shock and awe as we grappled to understand the sudden passing of the King of Pop. The BET Awards, already set and ready to rock at the time of MJ's death; was now the center of media scrutiny as the world looked to the show as the supreme articulation of cultural perspective into the untimely demise.... Instead, we got coonery.... we were shocked and appalled... it was an embarassment.... BET had committed serious cultural crimes even as we sought to honor the memory of Michael while celebrating the best black music had to offer.

This year, the BET Awards was the catalyst for cultural redemption.  Oh yes, this year was a tremendous turnaround. With the addition of Queen Latifah as host, and the Lifetime Achievement Award performances from a visibly pregnant Alicia Keys climbing on top of her grand piano, Janelle Monae, and the legendary Patti LaBelle - all in honor of Prince, the Awards made a quantum leap in quality, presenting a dramatic, redemptive, first class perspective of black entertainment. The Awards took its rightful place as the premiere awards show saluting the best of the best in black entertainment. We fall down, but we get up.

A major element of this redemptive presentation was the tribute to Michael Jackson as the Awards found itself once again at the center of media scrutiny as the world paused to contemplate the one year anniversary of  Michael's untimely death. At the center of this keynote presentation was the controversial Chris Brown, who delivered an incredible dance tribute to MJ - the key influence in Chris Brown's "stylepath" to stardom. It would be one of the first tributes that included Chris, who has been sitting in the cultural corner enduring derision and fan disappointment. It was time for Chris to get his turn, And boy did he deliver.

His moves evoked memories of MJ. His moonwalk sent the crowd into an ecstatic uproar. But then it came time to sing "Man in the Mirror". The song's message of love and support to global crises rang true and deep, however it was soon apparent that the message took a personal turn for Chris. Overcome with tears, he was unable to finish the song.....

We witnessed a powerful moment in this young man's life as he gained the forgiveness and respect of his fans while paying proper and excellent tribute to the primary influence on his art... The essence of the song rang true and deep in his soul... It was one of those hallelujah moments.... you know that cleansing tearful exfoliation of the burdens in one's life.. He is free..... We fall down, but we get up.

 Some have speculated that the tears were contrived, but most have felt Chris in this moment, clearly understanding the significance of the performance. Redemption. 

We Fall Down But We Get Up.....The 2010 BET Awards. A Paradigm of Redemption.