The BET Awards became the Bleep Awards on Sunday, as entire segments of performances were muted out due to foul language. Still, censors failed to catch many vulgarities that were uttered onstage, from performances by Nicki Minaj to even a parody by Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee.
It started during the opening number by Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. music group, which included Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz. There were extended moments of censored silence when the rappers performed “Mercy,” though not all the offending words were bleeped out. Moments later, Jackson, the show’s host, was joined by Lee as they did a comedic version of Jay-Z and West’s hit song “… In Paris,” to laughs.
“Two distinguished Morehouse men,” Lee joked after the performance, referencing the alma mater of the two.
The censor police also worked overtime when Rick Ross performed with his Maybach Music Group and during Minaj’s performance and acceptance speech for best female hip-hop artist. Minaj’s win was her third consecutive time taking the prize.
“I really, really appreciate BET for keeping this category alive, and I appreciate all the female rappers doing their thing, past, present and future,” she said, before uttering an obscenity.
Gospel star Yolanda Adams, who also performed, gently took some of her peers to task as she won best gospel artist, urging them to act mature and use their fame wisely.
“We need all of ya’ll,” she said. “I’m saying the world needs everyone in this room. Please make sure that you use your gift responsibly, `cause we’re watching. Our babies are watching, and they want to be like us.”
“I wish Jay-Z was here to say something politically correct for me,” he said, before his mentor came to the stage.
Other early winners included Chris Brown for best male R&B artist, his second consecutive win in the category.
Kevin Hart _ who hosted the awards last year _ also won for best actor, Big Sean was named best new artist and Wale and Miguel’s smooth hit “Lotus Flower Bomb” won best collaboration.
West, who was up for seven awards, was the top nominee. Beyonce was the second most nominated act with six. She won best female R&B artist and thanked the genre and her female influences.
“I fell in love with music by listening to R&B. It’s the core of who I am,” she said, giving special thanks to Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and “Whitney Houston, my angel.”
Later, she lost the night’s top award, video of the year, to Jay-Z and West’s “Otis.” When her husband won, she playfully hit him, as she laughed. The joking continued: Moments later, as West was giving his acceptance speech, Jay-Z interrupted him and said: “Excuse me Kanye, I’m gonna let you continue, but …,” and the audience erupted with laughter, recalling West’s infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s MTV Video Music Awards speech a few years back.
The tone of night fluctuated frequently, as the show shifted from hotly anticipated performances to solemn moments to irreverence. Usher performed his groove “Climax,” and Nicki Minaj sported a blonde wig with pink tips as she performed the songs “Champion” and “Beez In the Trap,” which featured 2 Chainz.