Photos credit: Malcolm Ali for Sentinel
As I read some blogs there has been some disparaging remarks as to why we choose to “separate ourselves and have our own awards show.” We don’t want to live in a non-racial world, just in a non-racist world. Racial is identity. We are by no means trying to discount anyone’s cultural influence, just to celebrate our influence on the American culture. Let’s make this clear. We are not choosing to separate ourselves.
What always perplexed me is the corporate influence behind our culture. From a distance a fan only sees the performances, the commercials, and the presentations. Behind the scenes nearly every radio, TV, print, and now online media outlet scramble for the best red carpet spot to ask the same celebrity the same question. Publicist need exposure for the clients they serve, writers need stories for their audience. The hook was set, the hook was BLACK!
It was the celebration of that which is Black. The return of the pretty woman and the dapper don. It was gentlemen with their pretty ladies. In all our splendor, in all shapes and sizes .It was time to celebrate us and that which has become us. Black is big business. There’s publicist, managers, agents, record companies, studios, sponsors, journalist, all have to be in sync and this is even before the show. The BET awards this year was put in its proper priority. No doubt this is L.A. and we are deserving of our Hollywood moniker. Not this time. The T.V fans celebrated, but I witnessed the beauty of our folks. There was an unspoken reverence. Everyone knew their place, and understood that tonight was not necessarily about their next single or movie, but to pay respect to Michael Jackson, one of our own.
It was important for me to get different perspectives on why we are here tonight.
Reflections of Michael Jackson (2009 BET Awards)
“If Mike was here he would have enjoyed this celebration. It’s like he’s larger than what he ever was before. His record would never be broken. I would like for him to be remembered forever, all over the world. ”
Lance Gross (Actor – House of Payne)
Michael left us a ton of hits, and even though he left us so much great stuff we always want more, it was before his time. He had so much more he could have did”
Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis Colts)
“Michael Jackson introduced me to music, no matter what you were doing you loved music, when I was five or six years old I was like wow, he is really doing his thing”
Sean Paul (Reggae All Star)
” I knew of Michal Jackson’s music all my life, there was no one Michael Jackson moment.”
Ginuwine (R&B Singer)
Mario (R&B Singer)
“Human Nature was my favorite record it was beautifully written, I just felt like he was in one of his most creative moments when he did that record”
Rick Ross (Rapper)
“Michael did a lot of things for the equality of people. Black or White I feel that we got to acknowledge. ”
Kee Kee Palmer (Actress)
“Everything he did was out the box… he did not think about what was now, he always thought about what was next… Mike’s a bad boy, anything he did”
Taraji P. Henson (Actress)
“Michael Jackson made Black culture Vogue. He dispelled the myth that Black men are dangerous to the world… our children’s children will be talking about him for a while. He is at peace, he did what he was suppose to do.”
Teddy Riley (Producer)
“I got to work with the greatest of all time, he gave me my college degree”
Ciara (R&B Singer)
I did not grow up with music and I realize by the time I was 13 that I could do something with music, for me he is the reason why.”
Jeremy Piven (Actor Entourage)
“The first time I seen him perform was at the tribute to Motown 25 and he did Billie Jean for the first time and I didn’t know that you could actually move through space the way he did and that blew me away.”
Idris Elba (Actor)
My reaction was disbelief. Imagine a world without Michael Jackson I am from a generation where we always grew up with Michael Jackson in our lives, it was disbelief and I still don’t believe it.”
It’s beautiful to be in a room full of people who share one common love, and feel the desire to yell it, scream it at every possible turn. I am honored to be here tonight to honor him. It would not have been the right show without honoring him, we all know that.”