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Memphis in the house at the BET Awards

  • Written by Milton Howery III

As the BET Top Marketing Rep intern of the last year, and a contributor to the Tri State Defender, I was allowed special access to the 2011 BET Awards and related events in Los Angeles. And it was amazing. by Milton Howery III
Special to the Tri-State Defender

As the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Top Marketing Rep intern of the last year, and a contributor to the Tri State Defender, I was allowed special access to the 2011 BET Awards and related events in Los Angeles. And in a word, it was amazing.

Milton Howery III (left) and Deitrick Haddon at the BET radio remote (Courtesy photo)

 Elise Neal
Actress and Memphis native Elise Neal (Photos by Milton Howery III)

BET television personality Rosci

 Master P
Master P and family members

 Drumma Boy
Rapper/producer Drumma Boy of Memphis was at home on the celebrity carpet outside the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles during the BET Awards last Sunday (June 26).

The extraordinary weekend began with me working in the BET radio remote room as an assistant to the BET Off Channel Marketing Department on Friday and Saturday. The radio remote consists of radio stations from around the country and is usually the first stop for many stars attending the awards.

Devin Steel of K97-FM radio station represented for Memphis, interviewing several celebrities. In attendance were stars such as Master P, Laila Ali, Kevin Hart, Big Sean, Laurieann Gibson, Travis Porter, Ray J, Mario, and BET CEO Debra L. Lee – all in the BET radio remote room making their way through a maze of interviews.

Of course, the highlight of the weekend was Sunday. That afternoon, the BET Awards pre-show kicked off with amazing performances. On the red carpet, or should I say green carpet because the carpet was actually green, I spotted two Memphians, actress Elise Neal and rapper/producer Drumma Boy.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Patti LaBelle,” said Drumma Boy. “I heard she’s going to be in the building, she reminds me of mom. She’s going to feel my soul with her singing tonight.”

Neal posed for photos for the Tri-State Defender before she rushed into the Shrine Auditorium.

VH1’s “Basketball Wives” star Tami Roman, who made an appearance in Memphis a few months ago, gave a shout out to Memphis.

“Hello to everyone in Memphis, you know I have family in Memphis,” she said. “I’ve got to come visit soon.”

After leaving the red carpet area, I made my way to my seat in the rear orchestra section of the Shrine Auditorium. My view of the show was priceless. In every direction I could spot some of the biggest stars in the entertainment world, including Will Smith.

BET production crews gave a countdown to the start of the show, and once the show went live the doors to the building where closed shut and no one was allowed to enter until the first commercial break. It’s really fascinating watching the show in person, and watching the seat fillers fill empty spaces in the audience.

There’s so much that goes on that you don’t see on television. BET should put cameras backstage. That’s where I had most of my fun, watching the stars as they mingled, posed for photos and did interviews. I even saw Steve Harvey and his wife, Memphis native Marjorie Harvey.

The excitement in the Shrine Auditorium was incredible. Yet, the excitement turned into confusion when fan Tiffany Green announced the wrong Viewer’s Choice Award winner.  The audience looked horrified at that moment. I could only imagine what the viewers around the world were thinking, because the Shrine audience didn’t look so happy.

Stephen Hill, President of BET programming, took the blame for the mix-up on Twitter that night. “That BET Awards Viewer’ss Choice mix-up was due to human error. And I was the human that made that error. I apologize to ALL affected,” tweeted Hill.

Acknowledging a few errors here, I’d say the 2011 BET Awards weekend was amazing. I had an excellent time at all the events. According to the BET public relations department, the awards show had 7.7 million viewers.

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