02-19-2017  10:39 pm      •     
McMenamins

The BET Awards — or "The Prince Tribute Show" — featured emotional and energetic performances from Sheila E., Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Hudson honoring the Purple One, along with political statements on issues ranging from racial injustice to the U.S. presidential election.

Sheila E., jamming on the drums and guitar, singing and dancing without shoes, closed the three-hour-plus show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with "Let's Work," ''A Love Bizarre," ''The Glamorous Life," ''America" and more. She was joined by "Purple Rain" actor Jerome Benton and Prince's ex-wife, Mayte Garcia, who danced alongside the background dancers throughout the set. They ended by raising a purple guitar in the air as the audience cheered them on.

Hudson, rocking a white-hooded blazer, and Wonder, clad in a purple suit, sang "Purple Rain" — a month after the piano-playing icon performed the song with Madonna at the Billboard Music Awards, which BET dissed on Twitter. This time, Hudson was a vocal powerhouse, delivering screeching vocals while Wonder played piano and Tori Kelly was on guitar while a photo montage of Prince appeared on the purple-lit stage.

Janelle Monae was animated and funky as she danced skillfully and ran through Prince tunes, including "Kiss," ''Delirious" and "I Would Die 4 U." Bilal was sensual and passionate during "The Beautiful Ones," even lying on the floor while singing near the end of the performance. The Roots backed Bilal, and the band was also behind Erykah Badu as she performed "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker," singing softly as she grooved in place.

After singing an original song, Maxwell went into "Nothing Compares 2 U," changing some of the lyrics while honoring Prince.

Though the BET Awards were heavy on honoring the icon who died on April 21, the show went from Prince to political throughout the night.

"Grey's Anatomy" actor Jesse Williams, who earned the humanitarian award for his efforts as an activist, gave a fiery, nearly six-minute speech that brought the audience to its feet and earned a rousing applause.

"We're done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them; gentrifying our genius and trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies," he said onstage.

Williams was introduced by BET CEO Debra Lee, who spoke about gun violence and brought up the recent Orlando shooting at the Pulse nightclub.

"We all need to take stance against gun violence. You can make a difference," Lee said onstage. "Use your voice and vote."

When "Empire" star Taraji P. Henson won best actress, she encouraged the audience to vote against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"I'm really not political but it's serious out here, and for those who think that, you know, 'Oh he's not going to win' — think again. So we really need to pull together and turn this country around," she said.

Co-host Tracee Ellis Ross said she was supporting Hillary Clinton and reminded viewers several times to "get yourself registered!" Clinton has a past with BET: She appeared at BET's "Black Girls Rock!" event in April and told the audience "my life has been changed by strong black women leaders."

The BET Awards wasn't all serious, though. Beyonce kicked off the show with a surprise performance featuring Kendrick Lamar and multiple background dancers of her song "Freedom," dancing in a pool of water to the song's heavy beat. At one point, Lamar and Beyonce kicked the water and danced in sync, drawing a heavy applause from the audience.

Beyonce won video of the year and the fan-voted viewers' choice award for her hit "Formation." Her mother, Tina, accepted the awards and said Beyonce had to quickly leave the show after her performance for a concert in London.

"I want to thank, first of all, her husband and her daughter," Tina said onstage.

Alicia Keys slowed things down with a performance of "In Common"; Fat Joe, Remy Ma and French Montana were energetic during "All the Way Up"; and Desiigner was excited as he rapped "Panda" onstage and in the middle of the aisles, as most of the audience nodded and sang along.

Beyonce's mentees, the duo Chloe x Halle, earned a standing ovation after they sang impressively and played instruments.

Rising newcomer Bryson Tiller also performed. In a surprise win, the singer won best male R&B/pop artist, besting Chris Brown, The Weeknd, Tyrese and Jeremih. Tiller also won best new artist.

"Thank God, thank my mommy, thank my granny. This is my first award ever," Tiller said, who was also nominated for video of the year.

Drake, who didn't attend the show though he was the top contender with nine nominations, won best male hip hop artist and best group with rapper-singer-producer Future.

Samuel L. Jackson received the lifetime achievement award and was introduced by Spike Lee. Jackson ended his speech by offering praise to Williams, calling him "the closest thing I've heard to a 1960s activist."

"That brother is right and he's true, and when you hear what he said, make sure you vote and you take eight more people with you to vote, OK?" Jackson said. "Don't get tricked like they got tricked in London!"

Prince wasn't the only icon honored Sunday — Muhammad Ali was remembered by his daughter and Jamie Foxx.

"To me and my eight sisters and brothers, he was just dad," Laila Ali said onstage. "My father also once said, 'If people loved each other as much as they loved me, it would be a better world.'"

Foxx said Ali "stood up at a time when no one was standing up. So it's definitely more than boxing, more than entertainment."

Ali died June 3 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all