‘BET Awards don’t respect Africans’

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Wizkid didn’t attend this year’s ceremony, seen here performing on day 1 of the Yahoo! Wireless Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 12, 2013. PHOTO: Joseph Okpako/Getty Images
Wizkid didn’t attend this year’s ceremony, seen here performing on day 1 of the Yahoo! Wireless Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 12, 2013. PHOTO: Joseph Okpako/Getty Images

Ahead of the Black Entertainment (BET) Awards held in Los Angeles last Sunday, some international artists made known their displeasure about how the International Act Awards were presented at the annual ceremony.

This year, as in previous years, the Best International Act: Africa was presented at 10am at a closed ceremony that was not broadcast on the Sunday. This was hours ahead of the main show, which took place on the same day at the Staples Center.

Nominee Fuse ODG was one of the first to take to social media, writing: “Dear @BET, the reason why I didn’t come is because you give our awards backstage! You have no respect for our hard work and achievements.”

His sentiments were echoed by the 2012 award winner and 2015 nominee for the same award, Nigerian artist Wizkid, who was in LA reportedly recording music with Chris Brown, but didn’t attend the ceremony.

On social media, he wrote: “Lol So I’m hearing BET is mad cos I didn’t come for the pre shows and interviews! Lol... I love u all for what u do for black entertainment worldwide. I respect the fact u guys do this every year.i know it’s not easy.I understand...But I won’t be attending ur preshows and nominee parties if I’m getting the award at 10am before the main show. Same reason I didn’t come backstage to pick up the award when I won the first time.”

Yemi Alade, the only woman to be nominated in the Best International Act: Africa category this year, also took to social media: “Why on Earth is the Africa category held hours before the main event? If African artists are not worthy in your sight. Pls by all means delete, cancel, omit the best international act africa category from this glorified award.”

In reply to City Press’ request for a response, the written statement from BET International on the matter reads: “We are proud of our track record of recognising international artists at the BET Awards.

“Like any televised award ceremony, the BET Awards uses prerecorded segments to ensure that as many honourees as possible are included in the show. In some instances this means that segments of the show are prerecorded.”

The winner of the 2015 Best International Act: Africa was Ghana’s Stonebwoy, who was in LA and attended the ceremony.

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