1 July 2016

Africa: Double Standards Debate Continue At the BETs

Photo: Black Coffee/Instagram
DJ Black Coffee.

There was drama and some more drama at the 16th edition of the Black Entertainment TV awards which was held over the weekend.

Though the chaotic scenes in America's recent past and the shadow of Prince's passing gave the broadcast a somewhat somber air, there were still electric performances.

From the tributes to Prince and Muhammad Ali, a performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, to the don't Trump America statement written on Usher Raymond's back.

Usher used his performance to make a statement against Donald J. Trump. And when Taraji P. Henson, the star of "Empire," accepted her best actress award, she also warned the audience about Mr. Trump.

And then came actor Jesse Williams who commanded the spotlight with an impassioned speech calling for an end to police killings, racial inequality and cultural appropriation.

It is probably at that point that the African artistes got their departure as many claim the double standards of awarding the International Act Africa at the rehearsals is segregation in itself.

"They have failed to practice what they preach!" said one commentator

On that night the International Act Africa award had earlier on gone to South Africa's Black Coffee.

Black Coffee had beaten off competition from Diamond, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Aka, Casper Nyonvest, Serge Beynaud and Mzvee

This year despite all the nominees being given an invite Wizkid who was among the nominees did not attend the awards, somewhat a continuation of his last year's resolve.

Though all the nominees from Africa travelled to the US some didn't find it meaningful to attend the Africa segment which was awarded in the morning.

Nigeria's Yemi Alade was not in the Microsoft Hall whereas though South Africa's AKA who was in the hall he refused to join other acts on stage for the award.

He claims it is the double standard which isn't giving them their due and they are not ready to stand by what they consider a vice.

As we got to learn it is a procedure that artistes from Africa and the UK are awarded separately before the main event and that they don't get to share the same stage with their American counterparts.

"They are awarded in the morning at a pre-event gala and it is done backstage," says a source.

Wizkid in particular who is a former winner of this was also vying in one of the categories was more concerned with the state-of affairs. "I love you all for what you do for black entertainment. I respect the fact that you guys do this every year. I know it is not easy I understand. But as a matter of fact I won't be attending your pre-shows and nominee if I am getting the award at 10am before the main show," wrote Wizkid in one of his posts.

The 'One Dance' singer added in another post that: it is for the same reason I didn't come back stage to pick the award when I won it the first time.

The singer says that the established order was bent on treating African artistes as second class that did not fit to be on the same stage with the other artistes. At the peak of the debate last year something that seems to have been carried on several artistes have continued to sound exasperated by the status-quo

Rapper AY in an earlier interview added his voice among those who feel it is unfair for other artistes from outside America to be awarded separately.

"I have tried to ask myself so many times the essence of this awarding system but I still can't find any reason and the best I can see is double standards," he told the Beat.

He adds: If what is uniting us there is the belief that all black people are the same irrespective of where you come from then why should you segregate. For example, look at even their coverage for the event that doesn't include Africans on the winners' list.

He says the system makes BET lose its entire meaning becauDouble Standards Debate Continue At the Betsse one cannot travel for 18 hours from East Africa to Los Angeles California only to be awarded backstage.

"Yet when broadcasting they make it seem like it was the same show!" says the Zigo star.

This year's Global Good award was given to Senegalese star Akon, who has in the last couple of years used his resources to secure energy projects in many African countries.

The inaugural edition of this award was won by former Miss Tanzania and model Millen Magese for her struggle to promote awareness on endometriosis

The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans and other minorities in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year.

The awards are presented annually, and are broadcast live on BET. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by artists, and some of the awards of more popular interest are presented in a televised ceremony.

The BET Award Trophy was inspired by three words - aspire, ascend, achieve. The BET Award Trophy was designed by artist/sculptor Carlos Mare139 Rodriguez.

OutKast won the first BET award. In 2007, Society Awards, the New York firm who manufacturers the award, enhanced the quality of the trophy design using plated steel and black crystal.

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