First, I want to congratulate all the winners and nominees. I am not sure how to put my finger on it, but this award show was strategically perfect from the pre-show to the main show, to the after party. I am aware that with events like these, as soon as they are done, planning for next year has already begun. It is evident from the final broadcast that there are people in the background that are fully on one accord and know to the fullest extent what they are doing. They have maintained what works and in the midst of COVID made adjustments for the benefit of the artists as well as everyone else in attendance, including not making the TV audience feel cheated of a transcending and energetic musical experience.
The intentional display of black love by Soul-Coming Pre-Show hosts, husband and wife team, Flex and Shanice, carries a strong message of faith, family, and tradition, upheld by the black community for generations. The "I love Your Smile" powerhouse singer and sexy Black actor became a hit with audiences many years ago with their first hosting of the BET Honors ceremony around 2012 and have since become a staple in hosting many BET events. The pre-show also exhibited up and coming and established artists like Infinity Song and Skip Marley, in super vibey performances with beautiful backdrops that paid homage to the style of Soul Train from years past, Infinity Song, a family group of siblings wearing afros and 70's style clothing. The beautiful tiered performance system, from the pre-show artists to the amplified artists on the US Army stage, which are given about half the time of the main artists, and then to the main artists themselves, served its purpose in making sure that a plethora of artists could be seen, heard, and exposed to a wide television audience. Sponsorship placement and announcements were far from overbearing and cleverly incorporated into the show with comical punch lines instead of numerous commercial breaks. I don't eat Cheez Its because I am vegan, but it was all so memorable and very cute.
Listen, I loved every single performance and every single speech. They were well written, well read, thoughtful, and vulnerable. There seemed to be a fairness amongst the artists who were nominated and who won. No popularity contest here, but later we will talk about Summer Walker and her Album of Year win. The performances showcased a variety of music styles from Ella Mai's sultry mood to CeeLo Greens wild and funky dance tune. Brandy gave me whimsical wizardly conducting and opened that vocal bible which had me moaning and groaning with a scrunched up face, while the Atlanta diva herself, Monica, killed it, performing past hits that made me feel nostalgic, then had me up cutting a rug to her new single "Trenches". Moses Sumney. Do I need to say more? Um, yes I do. Look, I've been following him on Instagram for a very long time and he is one of the few humans on the planet that make my mouth salivate. I was so proud to see him on the Amplified artist stage showcasing his beauty, style, and voice. And, I can never fall out of love with the smooth vocal stylings of Smokey, Babyface, and uncle Charlie. I tell you, by the time the final award of the night for Album of the Year was presented I didn't want the ceremony to end.
Last but never least, are the triple threats themselves, childhood to adulthood friends who met at an audition as little girls, Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell. From the theater stage to television and more these ladies have yet to receive their flowers in my opinion. For three years now they have been hosting the BET Soul Train music awards and it has been a win win for all. I love seeing them together in comedic fashion while displaying all of their talent. They are the epitome of black performance of the past, present and hopefully the future if we can continue to bring powerhouse singers to the light.
So, if you have not seen the BET Soul Train Awards head over to BET.com for all the latest highlights and performances. I will see there.