If you missed the 2nd Annual BET Awards, don’t worry, thankfully, they’ll be repeated more than enough times for you to catch them. (July 9, July 30 and August 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.) We can’t wait.

The absolute highlight was the incredible Earth, Wind & Fire tribute, as well as, when the band itself performed. Brotherman Philip Bailey’s falsetto was in rare form. But to see the group’s founder and leader Maurice White, who’s been battling Parkinson’s disease, actually on stage, performing, for the first time in years, was truly a thrill. It was an awesome performance. The “Elements” also received the well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.

Speaking of special awards, The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, who’s also afflicted with Parkinson’s, received the Humanitarian Award from presenter, Will Smith, who was named best actor for his Oscar-nominated depiction of the boxing legend in “Ali.”

Overall, the show zipped along quite well and seemed fairly balanced in terms of the musical performances. At least that was our perspective from observing the show from the media room. There are too many sound bites from backstage to try and recap in one report. But one of the most memorable was Usher’s snippy response about his self appointed foe, Sisqo, after winning the best male R&B award.

“Last year Sisqo said he was the best R&B artist of all time, I guess not,” he snickered as left the stage.

Also backstage was the winner of the best female R&B prize, India.Arie, who as you know, was snubbed at previous award shows. She was asked how she’s dealt with the rejection.

“I answer all disappointment and negativity and everything with a song,” Arie said. “That’s my way of releasing things. And a smile,” she added with a laugh.

The downside of the awards, which you won’t see, was the drama the audience in the Kodak Theater witnessed. Seems Suge Knight and Knight and his crew got into a brief stand-off with Snoop Dogg and his crew. Fortunately, for all concerned the tension was defused and show went on.

Worth noting is that Big Boi from Outkast confirmed that Andre from the group wasn’t in the house to help accept their best group award, because he was back in Atlanta lending support to fellow rapper, the Goodie Mob’s Khujo, who lost his lower leg in a car crash the night before. (Big Boi confirmed that Khujo lost only one leg, not both, as has been previously reported.)

Finally, we must give BET props for a well executed and highly entertaining show. The combination of Steve Harvey and Cedric The Entertainer as hosts is simply unbeatable.

Oh yeah, the after party was too-all that. It was smokin! Too bad that can’t be repeated.

Reprinted with permission: www.eurweb.com

Printed in Volume 1 Issue 11