Think of it as a grandiose networking event amongst stars, where BET’s Chairman and CEO Debra Lee gathers the crème de la crème of Black Hollywood for the preclude to its yearly awards show. The private, invitation only event, held at the London West Hollywood included a congenial toast to the 17th Annual BET Awards, with plenty conversations on fame, success, and how to overcome adversity.
While on the silver carpet, the Sentinel caught up with a number of attendees including “Empire” star Bryshere Y. Gray, the humble diva herself, Tamar Braxton, singer MAJOR and ‘sheETHER” rapper Remy Ma.
Throughout television history, BET has always been known to showcase and support the budding and advanced careers of artists in the Black community.
For an artist like MAJOR, being a part of the BET family not only provides exposure, but allows him to reach millions of people throughout the world with his universal sound.
“What’s interesting is that I’ve always seen myself here … and so I’m honored to actually now be officially a part of the BET family,” MAJOR said. “BET is holding it down, and I’m grateful that they’re showing me this type of love,” he said.
For Tamar Braxton who went on to completely slay her BET Awards performance, overcoming adversity is a choice.
“It’s a choice, my choice is to be happy, and my choice it to relish in all of God’s blessings. The adversity doesn’t mean anything to me. What means everything to me is God and what He’s doing for me in my life and how I can bless other people,” Braxton declared.
The limelight isn’t always smooth sailing, however. Actor Bryshere Gray recently made a post on Twitter that left many wondering about his inner-circle, and how he manages to differentiate the real from the fake.
“Once you get opportunities and responsibilities and fame and money, you want to have people around you that’s gon’ keep you focused and guided the right way,” Gray declared.
Remy Ma, who recently initiated a fund for women who have trouble conceiving, also spoke with the Sentinel about the importance of staying true to oneself. While incarcerated, Remy said she would listen to the radio and look at magazines, only to see carbon copy images of women that looked the same, with different names.
“It’s nothing wrong with you (women), it’s something wrong with the way that we’re being perceived as women, as women of color especially,” It’s easy to conform, but it’s hard when it’s the warrior, the person who stands for what they believe in,” Remy Ma continued.
Speaking of how women of color are represented in entertainment, several female industry titans like Ava DuVernay and Issa Rae are making quite a few waves in the art of Black story-telling.
“I think it’s important to have a diversity of voices for men, women, all racial groups, all perspectives, so when I see people like Ava DuVernay and Issa Rae doing well, I’m so excited,” Lee said. “Of course it means competition for us, but we’re ready for that. But it’s so great to see some emphasis on programming targeted to our African American audience,” Lee continued.
And according to Lee, BET has been making that difference in programming for the last 37 years. “It’s really a labor of love every year,” she said. “Our goal is to top the year before, and that’s hard, but that’s what we try to deliver to our audience” Lee said. To see interviews from the “pre” BET event, be sure to visit lasentinel.net.