Approximately three weeks ago on a Monday morning, I emailed Xilla (‘Nuff Respect!) to ask him a question. He answered, then asked me if I wanted to go to help cover the BET Awards as a member of the media.
At first, I thought he was pulling my leg so I said, let me think about it.
*brain starts churning*
“It would be cool.”
“This aggin lying though. I don’t even know him like that.”
“The BET Awards are two weeks away?”
“Enh…the BET Awards sound lame, but what else would I be doing on a Sunday night?”
After about a day of internal debate, I told fam “Sure, I’ll go.”
And by Saturday, June 27th, I boarded a plane for L.A., set to return on Monday morning. Yes, if you know me, I’m not straying far from home for too long. I’m one of those folks who has done pretty much all that a human being needs to experience in order to write a decent autobiographical tale. I’m not a tourist or sight-seeing type either. If you’ve seen the Statue Of Liberty in pictures & postcards, you’ve seen enough in my opinion. Plus, my kids, my lady & my bed > waking up in some strange place & being surrounded by entertainers.
Yes, Gotty’s™ a simple man enjoying the simple pleasures, yet I made an exception for this one. Since it’s not like Nashville has that many red carpet events (okay, none besides Country music), this was a new experience for me & that I couldn’t pass up. But it’s from that simple man angle I use to recount those roughly 48 hours I was in L.A. for the Awards.
Losing It: I only found myself slightly losing composure when I set my eyes on Alicia, Beyonce…and Carmelo. Yes, Carmelo, no pause.
As a lifelong Syracuse fan, my eyes lit up when I saw him, as he’s the man that’s responsible for ending the pain & suffering caused by “The Shot.” I managed to walk up, exchange a quick dap & thank him for that. Truth be told, I prolly would’ve hugged him if he let me.
Beyonce breezed right by with maybe about 5-7 security types around her. She was all smiles & shit though. Unfortunately, it was so random, I couldn’t snap pics fast enough as this wasn’t a part of what we’ll refer to as “the stroll.” I was standing there, most likely oogling @ someone or something else, when I heard a lot of high-ptiched yelps from the crowd. My ears rang for a second before I realized they were yelling “Beyonceeeee!!!!” I wheeled around and boom. My heart fluttered a wee bit as well.
“Oochie Wally Wally, Oochie Bang Bang”: Melyssa Ford seemed cool. We first bumped into her on the red carpet & she wasn’t the least bit shy about fulfilling our picture requests. Later in the show, I was chillin on some steps and her & two to three other chicks walked by. I overheard her telling them that “Girl, we did the carpet, we been seen. I’m about to change.”
Transitions: We were on the carpet for a good bit before security guard Harvey (not sure if that’s his name, I made it up because he looked like a Harvey. Either that or that old cop that Martin used to play in character) forced us off and into the “the pit.” “The pit” was behind the area behind a gated set of bars where the media gathered to snap pics. This is where we were supposed to be all along but we had no idea. Honestly, it should’ve been called “the armpit” because it smelled like B.O. when you were in the masses of cameramen. Sure, it was warm out there but my deodorant never seemed to be under pressure @ all during the course of the day. Plus, I put some baby powders on my armpit & nuts, figuring today was a “special occassion” and I should go all out. These people did not.
Most Stunning: Amber Rose — Dear Lord, I see why Kanye can’t rightly quit her, as was rumored a few months ago. Pictures do not do her justice. At all. They strolled across the carpet early and I think I snapped a good 40 pics in succession.
At this point, the paparazzi/pit folks made me laugh because about 20 seconds into Kanye’s walk, someone yelled “fishsticks!” I giggled. Kanye didn’t react (I’m almost sure he heard them), but he did seem to loosen up on the second stop of the carpet. They yelled a similar barb @ Cassie, hollering out “nekkeeedd.” Honestly, you could see the sadness float across her face, looking like she might shed a tear. I giggled anyways because it sounded & felt like I was in a living version of the TSS comments section.
Back to Amber…she’s provocative & fully aware what she’s capable of & doing for the cameras & media. Hamming it up the whole time, she hit the carpet with no braissere and the headlights were on. Yeah, I snapped as many pics as I could.
Most Improved Person In Person: — Trina looks much more glamorous in the flesh. And thicker.
Honorable Mentions: Tatyana Ali — Little Ashley has grown into such a supple little peach.
Keri Hilson — All that monkey talk, I’m over it. I’ve been to the promised land. I’ve seen the goods and they look good upon inspection. In fact, I think I saw evidence of a bubble. Thumbs up.
Least Improved In Person: Dear Diamond, how I lusted you in Player’s Club. While I’m not saying I would not thrash her with the Power Of Greyskull, I have to honestly say that she doesn’t look as stunning as I expected.
Looked Just Like I Thought: Tiny. No pictured included @ this time & I’ll stop there because if you don’t have nothing nice to say…
The number of people I saw but didn’t get pictures of was pretty endless.
Too Far Away
Puffy — Son had on track shoes or something. Or maybe the ghost of Biggie or the thought that Shyne may be out already had him moving.
Jay-Z — Son strided through the backstage area rather quickly, with B trailing behind him.
Lil Wayne — Came thru shirtless & with roughly alllll those kids that were reportedly on stage. As much as I would’ve liked to have taken a pic, I’m good.
Maxwell — That dude breezed right past me backstage before I realized it was him. If he had his hair, I would’ve known.
Keith Sweat — Man, that dude just breaths cool pause. I’m gonna go back, study his whole discography & change my game up. I might grow some hair, get me a wave cap & all that. Start wearing hard bottoms even when I don’t have to go to work.
Don Cornelius — Honestly, he shouldn’t be filed under “too quick.” No disrespect but he look frail, wiping his head with a hankerchief like a preacher would do. I was scared that if my flash went off it might startle him & cause him to fall. I couldn’t live with that on my conscious.
Mike Epps — I actually stopped him to speak & this dude must live in character. As soon as I said, “What’s up Mike Epps?,” he replied back “Hey hey…” sounding like he did on “The Breakup” skit for T.I.’s King album & flashing his pearly whites. Although it was a brief exchange, I was too busy laughing and as he left he said “Man, I’m looking for some fire!”
Saw’em Everywhere I Turned: Joe Jackson — Even though he appears old, I can see why Michael left his ass out the will. When you look menacing without even trying…I dunno, it just says something to me. I was kinda ‘noid to take pics of him, figuring he might take his belt off & beat me too.
Damn, We Didn’t Know Who You Were: Stephen Hill, Somebody @ BET — Poor guy. When most people hit the carpet, the lady announced their name maybe 4-5 times total but cameras were already clicking. She said Mr. Hill’s name four times…and not a shutter shuttered. So she said his name several more times, announcing it this time with his BET title. I think most cats snapped pics out of sympathy & respect.
Jazze Pha — I can’t honestly say that even I recognized him off top. But when he came through, somebody in the pit yelled “Rick Ross,” to which Jazze barked back “I AIN’T RICK ROSS BOSS!” I guess he’d heard the comparison before. I don’t know how people confused the two because even Ross wouldn’t have worn a lilac leisure suit.
Ditch — Don’t recognize him? Me either. But he made a point to tell everybody, “Yo, I’m Ditch!” He may have been the only cat who paid to walk the carpet. As you can see, he dressed for the occasion.
“Hey, Thanks For The Lincoln”: Jimmy Jean-Louis — I don’t watch NBC’s Heroes so I had no idea who cat was (not uncommon since I didn’t know who half the people were). We chopped it up for maybe three minutes, with me even asking him who other people were, before we were ushered off by security. I really sided up to him because I saw a $5 bill on the floor. When the lady told us to move on, I said “Okay,” reached down & swooped the $5. Thanks Jimmy! I’m going to watch at least watch one episode of Heroes & tell people how cool you are.
Your Hair Was The Worst: Taraji P. Henson — Not sure how bad it looked on TV, but in person…it looked like and old, overused broom with strategically placed strands going in every direction. Maybe she rode to the show in a convertible or with her head hanging out a car window like how white people let their dogs do. I dunno. Whatever the case, it wasn’t working.
Xilla: There goes whatchamacallit.
Xilla: Rachel from…uhhh…that one BET show.
Me: (It’s still not registering but I turn to snap a picture or two anyways)
Me: OHHHH SHIT SON! That was Rachel from….whatever that Caribbean show was.
I immediately tried to worm my way around to the area where I saw her headed. Too late. Ghost. Gone. A phantasm.
But her bronze skin was glowing and she still looked as firm & lovely as she did when I used to squint my eyes real tight late @ night as a youth.
She’s still a doll.
I think it’s safe to say that proximity is a strange thing — It can be strong, yet fleeting. I’ve been around “stars” enough that it generally doesn’t faze me at all. It’s not my natural inclination to take a picture of them or even run & speak. But when they’re sliding by left & right, it can get dizzying. When they were making their way through the area we were in backstage, it was either to do an interview, take pics, etc etc, all media related; most weren’t just hanging out persay.
Before we walked in, I told my team that if the opportunity to grab Alicia’s poundcakes presented itself, I would be handling those. No questions asked, I’d take the security beatdown & being kicked out…all in the name of pervertedness & opportunity. Before we got ready to leave, Alicia walked right past me, approximately two feet away…but I didn’t even notice her until after the fact. I was sad for all of 13 seconds.
Similarly, Chaka Khan came past me early in the proceedings while we were still on the carpet. I did good to get a pic because, for the most part, I was mentally, then audibly mumbling “Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan…Ch-ch-ch…” when I first saw her.
Nipsey Hu$$le is mad tall. That aggin could run the 3 for an NBA squad. I purposely took pics of him because I’m really tired of the same 4-5 pics of him & Jay Rock floating around online.
I like these two pics quite a bit. The first one is of Paul Wall, Cham & Maino, all doing interviews. The second is of Soulja Boy, Sean Kingston & Lil Mama.
Aside — For all the negativity he receives, Soulja Boy had an air about him that seemed affable. I think I could take the kid under wings like a little brother & straighten him out.
I took this pic solely for LC.
Why There’s No Actual Words About The Awards: Because I didn’t see that shit. Yes, there were TV’s all around in the media area, it was too buzzin’ to sit still & watch. The only two times I actually stopped to watch were when Janet spoke & when they debuted this…
The Worst Part Of Whole Experience: The return flight — My flight was set to leave @ 6AM PST, which was 8AM normally for me (jet lag never hit me) so that was fine by me. I returned my rental & got to the airport by 5:20…only to be told by the United self-check-in kiosk that I was too late to board my flight.
Long story short, LAX folks were mad rude, United won’t get another dollar from me & my socks were dirty from all the times I had to partially disrobe to walk back through the security checkpoint after smoking. Whereas I was originally supposed to be home by 1:40 CST, I got home @ 8:40 and it cost me $75 more.
Needless to say, I won’t be upset if LAX burns down.
There’s a gang of more stories to be told. Unfortunately, I can’t remember them all.
There’s a gallery of images below but no conceivable way I could upload all the shots I took (well over one thousand). You can see quite a bit of the rest @ the Flickr Photo Set.