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:
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.
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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.”
A 29-year-old drag queen from Brooklyn, New York known as Sasha Velour is lip syncing to Whitney Houston’s So Emotional. She’s gliding across the stage; a graceful avant-garde, bald ballerina.
Arms clad in opera-length bronze gloves, Velour vogues alongside fellow queen Shea Couleé, sauntering her hips and moving her lips soundlessly. Then, she craned her neck and began tugging at her wig. Pantomiming a seizure, she grabbed each scarlet lock to unleash a cascade of rose petals—just as Houston’s ballad reached its dénouement.
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It was the season 9 finale of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. Nearly 9 million people watched as Velour won the coveted title of America’s Next Drag Superstar, making Drag Race history for the most-watched finale. It was, in the eternal words of Whitney Houston, “So emotional.”
I became familiar with Australian comedian Jim Jefferies after a college roommate showed me his now infamous 15-minute-long diatribe on gun control. It was a sarcastic, evidence-laden lecture teasing Americans for our wanton adoration of firearms.
“I am all for your Second Amendment rights,” said Jefferies. “I think you should be able to have guns – it’s in your Constitution. What I am not for is bullshit arguments and lies. There is one argument and one argument alone for having guns: F&%k off – I like guns! It’s not the best argument, but it’s all you’ve got.”
The New Yorkerpraised his “brilliant, hilarious, and astonishingly complete discussion” of the gun control debacle. Even pro-gun commentator Dan Zimmerman admitted, “This is best summary of the gun control lobby’s arguments that I have ever heard.”
GIF courtesy of Tumblr user Alan Macraffen.
GIF courtesy of Tumblr user Alan Macraffen.
Material like that propelled Jeffries career forward, and he is now part of Comedy Central’s stellar late-night roster, sitting behind the desk of The Jim Jefferies Show. Jefferies quips about politics, creates outlandish stunts and uses a mashup of news clips to highlight the ridiculous, repetitive buzzwords in mainstream news reports. One hilarious montage showed multiple news sources calling the GOP health bill “secretive,” leading to Jefferies’ astute conclusion that the bill is akin to the self-help pseudo-scientific book, The Secret.
Lines stretched for blocks in Midtown Manhattan near Trump Tower last weekend, but not for a protest. Instead, tourists and locals converged just down the road to see The Daily Show’s homage to the self-proclaimed “Ernest Hemingway of a hundred and forty characters,” the man known as @RealDonaldTrump.
NCAA’s March Madness basketball extravaganza wasn’t the only bracket tournament captivating Americans last month. Third Month Mania, orchestrated by Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, waded through the nearly 35,000 Donald Trump tweets to identify his greatest Twitter post of all time.
Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Third Month Mania was a truly “unpresidented” contest, yet its turnout was “yuge.” More than 6 million viewers delved into Trump’s Twitter archives to find the most outlandish tweet, and Noah announced the winner on Wednesday night’s episode.
“If you can’t love yourself,” RuPaul declares at the end of each episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, “then how in hell are you gonna love somebody else. Can I get an amen?”
No reality television show seems to have resonated with the LGBT community quite like RuPaul’s Drag Race. It encourages viewers—no matter their sexuality—to love themselves, to cherish what makes them singularly precious, and not to let anybody make them feel otherwise.
The 2016 presidential race has consumed the country for over a year—and our nominees have only just been selected. Last month we reported what several Viacom brands were doing to spread our universal goal of social justice and voter engagement through the pre-convention hype. Now, here’s a look at what a few of our brands did to represent these principles during the Democratic National Convention.
The Democratic National Convention. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The U.S. is scheduled to elect a new commander in chief in less than four months. The next president will likely impact legislation regarding, among other issues, LGBT rights, gun control, and climate change. There’s a lot at stake—not just for Americans, but for the entire world.
Viacom’s immense footprint gives us a special responsibility to encourage people to participate in the electoral process. Voting is one of the best means citizens have for achieving goals of social justice and equality.
With this goal in mind, three Viacom brands—Comedy Central, MTV, and BET—are prolifically covering the presidential campaign. Each network has its own political concerns, but the predominant message is simple: just vote.