The 2011 BET Awards were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on Sunday night, crowning Black Entertainment's most high-profile performers with accolades and awards. The event also doubled as a display of the incredible power of publicity firms and cultural rot, as a hardcore girlfriend-abuser (Chris Brown) and a maniacally cruel animal killer (Michael Vick) were praised as champions and heroes.
Chris Brown, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj were just a few of the winners during the show, which featured soaring performances from Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Rick Ross, Bruno Mars, Big Sean, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Queen Latifah, Jill Scott and more.
Top awards of the night went to Nicki Minaj (Best Female Hip-Hop Artist), Kanye West (Best Male Hip-Hop Artist), Rihanna (Best Female R&B Artist) and Chris Brown (Best Male R&B Artist, Best Collaboration). Brown took home four awards, including the Viewers' Choice trophy, after leading the contenders with six nominations. In an awkward turn (but certainly no more awkward than everyone in attendance pretending this didn't happen) spawned by a faulty teleprompter, Brown's name was called as the winner before a correction was made and Rihanna was announced as the winner. Canadian rapper Drake awkwardly appeared on stage at the Shrine Auditorium to accept on her behalf, but at the end of the show, it was revealed that Brown was the actual winner and there had been a technical mixup.
Brown's music career stalled after he pleaded guilty to
beating the almighty hell out of assaulting Rihanna in February 2009, setting off a national debate on young, abusive relationships. Court-ordered domestic violence counseling, a little community service and a few well-placed puppy-dog faces later, the man's back on top.
"I know it's been a long road, so I just appreciate every blessing that's been in front of me," said Brown while accepting the awards.
Other winners included professional football player Michael Vick, on the comeback trail after serving 19 months in federal prison for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring. He was named best sportsman, but was not on hand to accept the award.
Is this what pop culture has become? The two most heavily praised men at an award show celebrating black culture have very recent histories of incredibly violent, abusive and cruel treatment of women and animals. Sadly, you'll likely be able to count on one hand the amount of publications stepping off the hype bandwagon to cast an honest light on the fact that two of the most sickening, undeserved comeback stories in showbiz history were centerpieces of the night at the BET Awards.
Check out the full list of 2011 BET Award winners below:
Photo Credit – WENN.com