Hardbeatnews, LOS ANGELES, CA, Weds. June 29, 2005: Apart from a surprise but fab reunion of the all-star Fugees, featuring Lauryn Hill and Haitian-born hip-hop star, Wyclef Jean, Caribbean acts were again noticeably absent from last night’s 2005 BET Awards.
This as the network spreads its tentacles into the Caribbean and seals financial deals to promote carnival and jazz in some of the islands. And, despite, the crossover appeal of top acts like Sean Paul, Kevin Lyttle, Elephant Man and Shaggy, all of whom have secured significant airplay on the station.
Further, there was no category for Caribbean music; neither were any of the artists making waves and top dollars for mainstream record companies even nominated; a clear slap in the face for a region struggling to gain mainstream recognition for its culture and music and paying BET big bucks to do that.
But in spite of the absence of these artists, the Fugees represented the region’s culture remarkably, drawing the crowd to their feet with an infectious mix of reggae meet hip-hop/soul; a fusion of sounds that was unmistakably Caribbean.
And Hill, who dropped off the scene recently, returned with a vengeance, as she thrilled with ‘Killing Me Softly.’
The awards also brought out top star power, from Will and Jada Smith, the hosts for the evening, to Halle Berry and Tom Cruise. Mr. & Mrs. Smith arrived on stage in a carriage, with huge rims and laid out the rules of the evening. Among them, as laid out by Jada, were, “Three home boys up here only and no bright suites or gold goblets.”
This they said was to keep the evening classy and prove that the award was on par with “the White ones” – the Emmys, Oscars, et al.
Berry, looking stunning in a red dress, presented the award for best group to the soon-to-be-disbanded Destiny’s Child. The trio later went on to perform a sizzling number, using Magic Johnson, Nelly and Terrence Howard as props half-way through the song. All three men were all smiles as the women of Destiny’s Child, including the ‘bootylicious’ Beyonce, bucked, gyrated and hoisted a leg for them, while singing, “I want to cater to my man. I just want to serve you baby!”
Cruise named the Best Actor awardee – Jaimee Fox – who was not at the award but made an acceptance speech via a recorded phone message.
Other star presenters were Howard, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and America’s Next Top Model 2004, Eva.
Meanwhile, Kanye West’s protégée, John Legend, copped the best new artist award while soul diva Alicia Keys beat out newcomer Fantasia among other acts for the female R&B artist award. Denzel Washington and wife Pauletta were honored with a humanitarian award and Gladys Knight copped the lifetime achievement honor. – Hardbeatnews.com