Putting together a huge event like an award show is no easy task. It’s even more complicated when it’s a televised event set to air on a national cable network. Performances have to be rehearsed and perfected. Seating arrangements have to be meticulous. Editing has to be done on the fly. Sound and lighting are completely separate beasts.
The BET Awards might be the truest testament to how susceptible award shows are to human error. During tonight’s broadcast, SZA’s performance was awkwardly delayed due to technical difficulties. Everyone heard and saw it because her mic wasn’t turned off and the Jones wasn’t cued to stall soon enough. New Edition took a little longer than BET expected to change into their all-white garments for their performance. BET cameras just hovered over a darkened screen for a minute too long while the audience intermittently cheered.
But the most blatant mix up of the night was when the announcer, veteran rapper MC Lyte, announced Yara Shahidi and the #BETInstastar as presenters. She did a lovely job and with so many voiceover gigs, could easily be the female Morgan Freeman. But Issa Rae was actually the presenter walking to the mic. She pretty quickly corrected herself as Issa Rae stood at the microphone in her most natural state, awkward.
I highly doubt the mistake was the fault of MC Lyte. It’s likely that she was handed the incorrect prompt for the announcement. But BET is notorious for these kind of on-air trip ups. We have been side-eyeing them for years as a result.
Even long-established award shows are subject to a snafu here and there. Just this year #Oscargate made headlines. But you would think that after 16 years, the BET Awards would at least try. Perhaps this is why big names like Beyoncé, Drake, and Rihanna have decided to indefinitely pass on even showing up.