Sunday, July 15, 2007


I watched the BET awards last night the same way I watch cartoons - on acouple of different levels. You know, the Jetson’s are cute and funny while at the same time they present a biting commentary on man vs. machine. On one level, it was great fun analyzing the hair, makeup and costumes with my 22-year-old fashion maven. Latifah’s make-up was bizarre, Debra Lee’s new hairdo was cute, T.I’s pants weren’t just sagging…they were around his knees.

Jennifer Holliday and JenniferHudson are roughly the same size. Holliday’s glam black ball gown did her justice, while Jennifer’s too-small white mini made her look frightful. The comparison made for a great teaching moment, which cometoo few and far between with adult offspring.

Then, there was the nascent culture critic in me. Beyonce’s Performancewas a smash – the lighting, the costumes, the robotic opening, were justpure fantasy entertainment. Kelly Rowland sounded as if her mike hadbeen turned off, while the two Jennifers (Hudson and Holliday) remindedus with their rendition of “I’m Telling You” that this Extravaganza was really about music after all.

Finally, I watched as the activist lawyer looking for clues about theway the Hip-Hop community might respond to recent (and old) criticism that it promotes violence, misogyny and materialism. Parenting matters. While Beyonce’s father could be interrogated in several jurisdictions for pimping his own daughter, Diana Ross was glorious as she hugged her assembled rainbow of offspring and insisted on delivering a message, “you don’t have to shake it all down to have a great career in music. You can behave like ladies and gents. I will be giving Diva lessons when this is over.” The pained look on Beyonce’s face when the camera panned to her during Diana’s motherly advice said it all.

Luda’ apparently thought Diana was picking on him and retorted coldly during his acceptance speech that that “people should raise their own children” and stop criticizing Hip-hop for “not having any content.” As my grandmother would say, ‘a hit dog will holler.’ I can’t speak for everyone over forty, but I think Ludacris is talented and intelligent. He was wonderful in “Crash” and I hope more acting roles go his way.

I don’t want to censor Ludacris or any other artist. It is sufficient for him to THINK about his art and his craft. If he thinks about it, he will realize that he was on stage accepting an award for his conscious music, not for inviting young women to come “stand by this money.” If he THINKS about it, Ludacris will realize that it is ludicrous to be so insecure about his masculinity as to think he has to purchase female attention.

The winners cleaned up in more ways than one. Atlantan Ceelo Green’s group Gnarls Barkley beat out 3 Six Mafia and Pretty Rickyf or Best Group. Could we be turning a corner where good guys finish first? Let’s keep the conversation going.

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