6. Change the Award – We’re not at Disney Land
Issue: I get the concept of the award, but unlike the Moon Man, Grammy, or Golden Globe, does anyone ever remember what a BET award looks like until it’s time for the BET Awards?
Solution: Create an award that represents BET’s core values, but also asserts a feeling of evolution with a touch of iconic aspiration. What’s the first thing an artist says during the first batch of interviews? “I’m trying to get a Grammy.” They don’t say, “I’m trying to get a BET Award.” Justin Bieber didn’t even say that and he got one. We have a few designers in mind, but we’re only divulging their identities if BET calls us.
7. Sponsorship – Sponsored By …
Issue: The Reverend Al Sharpton is presented with the Humanitarian Award, a great and extraordinary honor. The frustration sets in when CEO Debra Lee presents Sharpton with the award and says, “Sponsored by State Farm.” On any other awards show, when there’s a special recognition, the award is simply given with no announcement of the company.
Solution: We’re not experts on sponsorships, but there’s always another way. Let’s find an alternative to award our people that doesn’t include having poor M.C. Lyte read sponsorships from index cards. We’re six months away from 2013; let’s push the needle forward.
8. The Gospel – the Separation of Church and Secular
Issue: We believe there’s a distinct obligation to embed the BET Awards with a gospel segment. However, we feel a line-up that includes Yeezy, Ross, and Yolanda Adams just doesn’t sit right. You don’t go to Starbucks to get a cheeseburger!
Solution: Honestly, as hard as it is to write this, we can imagine how hard it is for BET to do this. But we feel BET should keep the gospel recognition for the gospel awards show. We promise everyone will be better off, because right now, the gospel segment (and we’re using this term loosely) on this show gets treated like hip-hop at the Grammys.
9. Quality over Quantity – Did We Forget Anyone?
Issue: The show is entirely too long! 3-½ hours. This results from a combination of poor execution and too many unnecessary performances/sideshows. Who can forget a few years back during the so-called MJ tribute when it turned into the Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo concert?
Solution: The old adage “less is more” couldn’t be more fitting. We understand they want to use this vehicle to showcase our stars as well as introduce the world to new and emerging artists, but that’s what the red carpet show is for. The platform? Two-hour show, six performances (four of our biggest names, two new artists), a few skits in between, and less random camera shots of nothingness.
10. Bridge the Gap – There’s More to Us
Issue: Remember the Grammys when people had no idea who Esperanza was? Why aren’t there more collaborations meshing genres together, raising the visibility of artists that have achieved mainstream success? We don’t nurture and support our musicians and artists, which produces a sense of division between the popular and the underground.
Solution: It may sound crazy, but instead of always having Alicia Keys perform with Stevie Wonder, have Nikki Minaj perform with Esperanza, pair the Roots with A$AP Rocky, have Odd Future and Robert Glasper create a collage honoring our fallen citizens of music. Someone said if everyone is thinking outside the box, we need to fix the box. BET, please fix the box.
- Self promotion – Stop it! Cedric the Entertainer, we all know you have a new show on TV Land. Well, not really, but no need to remind us.
- 500-plus people backstage – No wonder T.J. Holmes never made it to the stage to present and promote his new show.
- Save the comedy for the comedians. Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee’s spoof of N***** in Paris was exactly that, except they weren’t in Paris.
- Michael Jackson, the greatest artist of all time, has yet to receive a proper tribute. We’re talking at least a 10-minute segment in his honor. We know his death came right on the eve of the show a few years back, so we understand the rushed attempt then. But now it’s time.
@Dale Coachman resides in Washington, DC, with his wife, Tia B. Coachman, and their 2-year-old son Cullen. He’s currently the communications manager for @CBMNational and occasionally freelances for Waxpoetics, Black Enterprise, Essence, and Inquiringmind magazine.
Chad Quinn, a native of New Jersey, currently resides in Maryland with his wife and 1-year-old daughter. He’s a consultant with Governing magazine and a freelance photographer/writer.