Solange Knowles and Bruno Mars have soul. At least, BET thinks so.
The network has announced nominations for the BET Presents: 2017 Soul Train Awards, an annual ceremony that recognizes the best in soul, R&B and hip-hop music, honing in on artists from the 1970s—or newcomers whose music is evocative of the disco era.
Now, they’re a married couple. The Mane Event kicked off with the live, televised wedding on Oct. 17, so fans could bear witness their extravagant ceremony through BET’s special. And 1.6 million viewers RSVP’d, making the premiere the no. 1 cable series premiere of the 2017-2018 season as of October, according to a press release. It also dominated social media, with 1.2 million social interactions across Twitter and Facebook for that night, with BET’s hashtag #TheWopsters trended at no. 1 worldwide on Twitter during the premiere.
Now that The Wopsters have said “I do,” BET’s 10-part docu-series will backtrack, detailing the extensive prep-work leading up to the power couple’s lavish labor of love, which The Huffington Post deemed “wedding of the year.”
The BET Hip Hop Awards splashed down to the Sunshine State for its 2017 ceremony, taking advantage of South Florida’s tropical vibes, frenetic energy and vibrant music scene to honor hip-hop’s hustle. The show attracted a who’s who of hip-hop royalty, including Gucci Mane, Luke Campbell, Playboi Carti and Flo Rida, while transforming Miami’s Jackie Gleason Theater into a trendy South Beach nightclub with bursts of pyrotechnics, fog, and flashing lights.
Migos performs “Too Hotty” at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Hosted by Miami native and modern renaissance man DJ Khaled, the Hip-Hop Awards paid homage to both industry veterans like Eminem (who went viral with a politically-charged freestyle) and spunky newcomers like Hustler of the Year, Cardi B.
Check out these highlights from the hottest night in hip-hop:
Indeed, the Chris Rock-produced show is hilarious. Thede, the former head writer for Comedy Central’s Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, opened with a ridiculous skit in which she attempts to seduce an attractive Trump supporter with increasingly absurd props, from a Make America Great Again hat to a Confederate flag tattoo.
Robin Thede earned her first writing credit at the 2014 BET Awards, crafting jokes for show host Chris Rock. The gig sparked a fast-paced career in the entertainment industry—a career marked by firsts.
Thede’s “Who Dis?” segment on The Nightly Show was a hit with viewers.
Thede’s irreverent comedic style is a natural fit for late-night, the programming block characterized by acerbic hosts and borderline-offensive skits.
“I purposely put my name in the title so no one can replace me,” Thede quipped in an interview with Essence.
Watch the trailer:
The Rundown will be Thede’s chance to share her charismatic and hilarious style with a wider audience, who may not be familiar with her as a TV personality (although viewers will recognize her humor if they’ve watched any of the daytime, late-night and scripted TV shows where she’s credited as a writer.
“Some people only know me as a comedian, and some people only know me as a writer,” Thede told Variety. “This show blends field and studio comedy and plays to my strengths as a writer and performer. I want to create a (show) that is unlike anything else on the market.”
BET has the same goal. Connie Orlando, BET’s head of programming, told The New York Times that the network was looking to shake up its programming with late-night comedy.
“It was something that made sense for the direction we’re going in,” said Orlando. “We realized our real prime time starts at 10, and our audience loves to laugh. It felt like the perfect moment to add the voice of an African-American female to the conversation.” Orlando also believes the show has potential to go viral and reach viewers outside BET’s demographic.
How? Late-night talk shows are fueled by current events, relying on the daily news cycle for their commentary. Race relations and women’s issues heavily focused on. Thede is in a unique position as a black woman to provide commentary on these topics from her own experience—adding a level of genuine credibility to the late-night set that, until now, hasn’t existed for black female viewers.
In an interview with The New York Times, Thede predicted this credibility would help her show gain traction. “I’m speaking to stories that matter to us,” said Thede, referring to black women. Members of her community will tune in to “to get an authentic opinion about stories they’re not going to hear anywhere else.”
But The Rundown has great potential to engage viewers from every demographic, according to Orlando.
“The show’s going to cover anything from Cardi B to what’s happening in the White House,” Orlando told The New York Times. “I think all kinds of audiences will be interested to know and listen to what Robin has to say.”
Viacom employee Georgiana Bell got the chance to attend BET’s Black Girls Rock! 2017 live special, along with her 12-year old granddaughter Nasir. Her thrilling experience came courtesy of Viacom’s Employee Events & Programs department, which offers an employee sweepstakes for our tentpole award shows.
Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about your role at Viacom?
I’m a Viacom receptionist as well as a freelance talent escort for many productions, award shows and other red carpet events. I’ve worked at Viacom for 24 years.
Were you familiar with Black Girls Rock!?
Yes. In past years I’ve watched the special and worked the event as an usher, but to enjoy it as an audience member is a totally different experience, one that was well-appreciated. The atmosphere was great from where we sat. It seemed as though everyone was engaged, attentive and enjoying what they were seeing!
As host of this year’s BET Awards, comedian Leslie Jones had a vision for what she wanted the night to be.
Leslie Jones at the BET Awards in Los Angeles, June 25, 2017
“BET was the first network and place where I was on TV,” said Jones in a press release. “I am looking to turn this whole experience into a joyful homecoming.”
This year’s ceremony, which took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles, brought recording artists, athletes and actors together for an unabashedly jubilant reunion. Among the top talent in black entertainment present this year were Bruno Mars, Solange Knowles, Chance The Rapper and all six members of New Edition.
It was both a raucous party and tender family reunion, as you can see from these highlights:
Beyoncé shouts out her family, BET and “BeyHive” after winning five awards
Last year, Beyoncé stunned fans with a riveting, elemental BET Awards performance, dancing through fog, fire and water alongside Kendrick Lamar. The superstar did things a bit differently this year, opting to stay home with her newborn twins and enjoy the BET Awards from afar. She nonetheless still won a whopping five BET Awards—more than any other performer.
Her protégés, Atlanta sister-duo Chloe x Halle (Chloe and Halle Bailey) accepted the Viewer’s Choice Award on her behalf, and delivered her acceptance speech.
“Thank you BET for this award and your tremendous support of Lemonade,” wrote Beyonce. “This has been a journey of love, of celebrating our culture, honoring the past, and approaching the present and future with hope and resolve.”
BET’s fall 2017 lineup is brimming with big-name talent both on and off screen – five new shows starring or produced by Chris Rock, 50 Cent, Wanda Sykes, Deon Cole, Tiffany Haddish, Robin Thede, Gucci Mane, Keyshia Ka’oir, George Lopez, DL Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, and the late Charlie Murphy.
This 30-minute game show has one purpose: break down stereotypes and prejudices through humor. Deon Cole will host alongside breakout star Tiffany Haddish, who will conduct woman-on-the-street segments to determine how society values outward appearances.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson stars in BET’s first variety comedy showcase that includes hidden camera pranks, musical performances, and a wealth of celebrity guests. The hip-hop mainstay will take turns as actor, producer and emcee on the show.
From executive producer Chris Rock, this new program diversifies the talk show space with African-American female host Robin Thede. The 30-minute late night show will discuss politics and pop culture through sketches, social commentary and parodies.
George Lopez, DL Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin and the late Charlie Murphy headline The Comedy Get Down tour – and now you have a backstage pass. TheComedy Get Down will be the first scripted comedy series to explore the five comedians’ offstage lives during their mammoth five-man tour.
Didn’t receive an invite to Gucci Mane & Keyshia Ka’oir’s wedding? BET has you covered. As the couple ties the knot on October 17, their 10-episode docuseriesGucci Mane and Keyshia Ka’oir: The Mane Event will also make its debut.
And 2011 Black Girls RocK! honoree and five-time BET Award-winner Taraji P. Henson will be in New Jersey to host the whole thing.
“I’m honored to host the Black Girls Rock! Awards,” said Henson. “I love the message and I love Beverly Bond and her vision. I was lucky to be honored in 2011. It is truly a highlight of my life. Let’s make history together as we come together as women of brains, beauty and in support of each other.”
The 2017 Black Girls Rock honorees are groundbreakers in art, business, entertainment and community service:
Star Power Award – “Insecure” creator, actress, writer and producer Issa Rae
Young Gifted and Black Award – actress and activist Yara Shahidi
Living Legend Award – Grammy Award-winning songstress Roberta Flack
Shot Caller Award – Wall Street powerhouse and pioneer Suzanne Shank
The BET Awards have become a cultural touchstone. Last year’s awards captivated audiences with mesmerizing performances and a tribute to Prince. One of the evening’s most moving moments came when Jesse Williams, Greys Anatomy star and civil rights activist, utilized his Humanitarian Award acceptance speech to address how the challenges of living in a racially prejudiced world impact the black community.
This year’s Humanitarian Award winner is Chance the Rapper, whom BET is honoring for his strides toward improving the lives of young black men, decreasing gun violence, and financially supporting Chicago Public Schools.
Another highlight of the show will be incredible performances by artists Bruno Mars, Future, Migos, Trey Songz, Tamar Braxton and more.
The BET Awards draws top names from across the entertainment landscape, and many of them will ascend the stage to present awards. Among the major names will be Yara Shahidi, Cardi B, Issa Rae, Jamie Foxx, La La Anthony, Trevor Noah, Robin Thede, Cari Champion and Demetrius Shipp Jr.
The nominees include some of the biggest names in entertainment. Queen Bey (Beyoncé) will be continuing her highest total nomination streak with seven new nominations, including Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Best Collaboration with Kendrick Lamar for Freedom, Video of the Year, and Album of the Year for Lemonade. Bruno Mars is nominated in five categories, including Album of the Year, Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, and Video of the Year. Chance the Rapper and Migos each clocked four nominations. Check out the full list of nominees below.