I watched the 2010 Edition of the Soul Train Music Awards last nite. Generally I was impressed with the presentation, but was left wondering if indeed, the Awards has resurrected itself back to its former glam status. Or if indeed the essence of Soul Train is even present in this current generation of the music industry...
I remember that the Soul Train Awards was a must have ticket. I remember that you went and got your tux or your gown and got dressed to the nines for this show. After all, since the Grammys did not award our music as we felt it should, then we HAD to be our best and look our best to honor our best.It was, at the time, the consummate honoring of our musical universe.
One year, I remember sitting with Tom Joyner when Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre rolled onto the stage in his '64 impala.... that was dope!!! And Tom was so funny, but I believe at that moment he was speechless!!! I remember with the explosion of hiphop, the quality of the show quickly diminished to a super ghetto presentation that folk came out for in tennis shoes, jeans and even flipflops.... and then the violence.........
The Soul Train Awards was dead.
Well, that was then and this is now. Don Cornelius has sold the Soul Train brand to Madvision Entertainment who in turn has produced the nouveaux generation of the Soul Train Music Awards. They've done a deal with the new Centric Channel (an extrapolation of BET) and turned it into a first class production. The current generation of music artists have seemingly embraced the renovation wholeheartedly.
Atlanta is the new center of African American culture and, I suppose, it is a fitting location for the new generation of Soul.... The red carpet presentations seemed shallow, though. After all, how many times can you ask what was your best memory of Soul Train. What about the substance of the music projects? what of the artist perspective of current, culturally relevant events? But nay, the red carpet interviewers only asked the obvious: "What was your best memory of Soul Train?" and the answer was always the same.... "The Soul Train Line".... ho hum.
The production was awesome. A first class presentation. Although, like a lot of twitterlings, I have mixed feelings of R. Kelly's appearance - I just have a problem with forgiving him and moving on... however, his appearance with Ron Isley and Chante Moore was completely off tha chain!!
Cee-Lo: Loved it, but what the heck was that you had on???? Also, I know it was the Soul Train Awards and Centric and all that, but the original version of that song is the complete bomb and just doesn't do it for me as a clean version. I wanted to hear you sing F&^k You straight up....(sorry church fam... that's just how I feel)
Anita Baker Tribute: loved it! and especially loved the return of Dionne Farris... where you been girl? Goapele is someone the national audience has been sleeping on.... on the Steve Harvey Morning show, they couldn't even pronounce her name.... Goapele is the bizness.... you betta ask somebody!!
Ron Isley Tribute: I love that the Awards has these tributes. It makes today's artists give props to those who paved the way for what they do today..... I actually think some of the artists onstage are humbled when faced with singing the hits of the honoree IN FRONT OF the honoree... Everyone did well, although Eric Benet seemed like he was working too hard to impress.... he got down though...
Janelle Monae: don't sleep on this young lady.... saw her at the Greek for the first time this year and had to wonder out loud.... who is this child?? she is James Brown, Prince, and Jackie Wilson reincarnated!!
Taraji and Terrence: Jury is still out for me, but looking at twitter and facebook comments, they get mixed reviews.
In the end, I am so glad that the Soul Train Music Awards is rebirthing itself... It should take its place as the premier black music awards show in America. It should be the creme de la creme of urban music culture. The mantle has been passed....
So in the words of that song from Jayo Felony a few years back "I could give it to ya but whatcha gonna do with it"