“BET Honors 2015” was a magnificent production. It was chic and notable. Out of numerous strands of commentary surrounding the next turn on the journey of Black Americans, let’s pause to recount this broadcast moment in history that did right by the Black community. Weeks ago, I wrote an article about discounting wisdom because of the vessel from which it flows. Kanye West was an honoree of “BET Honors 2015” and one of the examples of that recent article. So, excuse me if I harp on Kanye West some more, along with some other highlights from the show.
Kanye West received the Entrepreneur Award. In an interview aired on the show, West says, “You can’t just be the kid in the back of the class with the black polish on your nails. You gotta smack the s*** outta somebody to make sure your vision smashes all the way through,” or something to that effect. That’s powerful. When accepting the award, he challenges the Black Community to not only influence change and summon prosperity within the Black community, but for the benefit of the human race. We must admit that is takes a visionary to recognize his moment as a platform to unify “opposing” sides rather than reinforce the racial divides.
Usher Raymond IV, recipient of the Award for Musical Arts, was also honored and it was said that “Usher’s impact on Pop culture is irrefutable.” I add to that fact the notion that Usher’s positive impact on young Black men is irrefutable. Usher has achieved rockstar success, but he displays humility in such a way that it is enviable. The accolades that he has obtained seem to be far outweighed by his soft-spoken modesty each and every time he is given the opportunity to gloat and that is why, when all is said and done, Usher will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.
To this reflection, I would like to add that the greatest tv mom of all time, Phylicia Rashād was honored during “BET Honors 2015,” receiving the Award for Theatrical Arts. I watched her facial expressions throughout the show and her mannerisms suggested a true appreciation for the opportunity to have made a difference. It’s hard to even write about a woman like Phylicia Rashād without looking down at the keyboard to make sure that you’re pressing the keys as elegantly as possible. Integrity, grace, fervor– that’s Phylicia Rashād.
Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, recipient of the award for Education, says that her parents “insisted that education is the single, most consistent, and powerful means for the advancement of an individual and a people.” She was the first African-American female president of Spelman College. She is a teacher, fundamentally, and a women after my own heart. She’s resembles the kind of educator that makes you want to stay in the library, occupied by books until security has to forcibly take you away. Kudos to BET for honoring Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole.
John W. Thompson, a Kappa Man, was awarded for his achievements in technology and business. Fortune gave us a peak into his world just last year. The brother is accomplished and well-spoken, but honestly, I didn’t listen to much of what he had to say. I was too busy trying to figure out how I’d be able to get tailored suits and blazers like the ones he donned. Thompson is a brother who’s business models seem to hinge on focused effort; the buzz words that he used in his interview were “passion,” “tenacity,” and “compete.” Brother Thompson, a veteran in his game, is an inspiration.
Before I end this piece, I would like to recognize and honor Aunjanue Ellis, who was raised in Mississippi and left the state’s name on the lips of all of the attendees. Aunjanue Ellis is a name that you should add to your notes because it will be on the test (and she attended Tougaloo College with my mom and dad). Kudos to Aunjanue Ellis.
So, if you missed the show, you missed a televised banquet hosted by Wayne Brady that was splendid. It was well done. It was [kisses fingertips and spreads fingers apart] très bien. I’m inspired to be a better educator, a better man and husband, and a better human being. Doggone it BET! THAT’s how you do television!