The BET Awards have noticeably declined. The once beloved award ceremony targeted to black audiences, poorly reached all age groups. With the exception of Anita Baker’s tribute and Snoop Dogg, there was a lack of music veterans to help meet the engagement of all age groups. Being that BET is a white-owned company, it correlates why the award ceremony centered around the Marvel superhero film, Black Panther. Promo had circulated where host, Jamie Foxx poorly imitates an African accent to announce that this year’s BET Awards theme was Blackanda, inspired by the fictional African nation, Wakanda. Carrying on the corny concept, Foxx entered the arena accompanied with a stuffed black panther toy. It didn’t stop there as Foxx celebrated the blockbuster film during his monologue; even inviting actor Michael B. Jordan, who played Erik Killmonger, on stage to recite a line. The focusing of Black Panther was an annoyance, but Foxx remained a step up from last year’s host, Leslie Jones. Foxx’s comedy appeared effortless or natural whereas Jones was very forceful. In his monologue, he began emphasizing that he wasn’t there to host, but celebrate black excellence. Foxx did just that, as he even participated in the tribute to Anita Baker, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award. In spite of his musicality, Foxx’s inclusion cheapened her tribute as he was the host regardless.
Although Nicki Minaj was held in a regard to the likes of the latter, her performance was lousy. Supported by a backing track, Minaj would often stop rapping and not even mime. Minaj behaved very raunchy, opening her legs and crawling on stage. However, H.E.R., J. Cole, and Meek Mill were highlights at this year’s ceremony. Both J. Cole and Meek Mill intensified the aura with heavy performances that tackled social issues. Including a distant cameo from Wale, the spotlight was placed upon a conveying Cole, who rapped about the many factors of drug abuse on “Friends.” Meditating children then appeared behind Cole as Daniel Caesar assisted him in the performance. Donning a hoodie with XXXTentacion featured on it,Meek Mill debuted a new song titled “Stay Woke.” Mill’s showing painted a vivid picture of police brutality, including the emotional killing of a little black girl. H.E.R.’s performance was powerful in another sense as her heavenly voice did all the captivating. Overall, the 2018 BET Awards were unfulfilling and lacked star power.