The BET Awards is the biggest celebration of black entertainment — with a viewership of 4.5 million this year (2016) , it has proven to be the most popular awards ceremony on television. In 2010, the network decided to include the “Best International Act” category, however up until now, this segment has not been broadcasted during the main show.
Last year, stars were upset about this and went on social media to express their feelings.
As reported by Okayafrica, instead of being aired on TV (2015), the “Best International Act: Africa” award was presented hours before the main show at a closed ceremony. The award went to Ghanaian artist Stonebwoy — international artists like Fuse ODG didn’t attend the event because they felt unappreciated by the network.
“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.” – FUSE ODG, Twitter
“By the way…@bet_intl AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY.!!! ..IT IS WRONG TO NOMINATE HUGE AFRICAN STARS AND PUBLICLY TRY TO HUMILIATE AFRICA. 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.” Yemi Alade, Instagram
Wizkid (Surulere, Nigeria) tweeted
“So i’m hearing BET is mad cos I didn’t come for the pre shows and interviews! Lol. I won’t be attending ur pre shows and nominee parties if i’m getting the award at 10am before the main show. Same reason i didn’t come back stage to pick up the award when I won the first time.”
This year, the award went to Black Coffee (Durban, South Africa) and Okayafrica wrote that he received his award at a smaller event on the Saturday before the main show.
BET International submitted a statement to City Press on the matter: “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.”
It’s also worth pointing out that its not fair to pack established artists that represent different regions and genres under a general category. Ignorance about the content — thinking that it’s a country, is disrespectful to the artists that are put under this category and to everyone else.
Understandably, everything can’t be squeezed into a three hour show but BET should use its platform to give international artists the recognition and airtime that they deserve, especially if it hopes to build and maintain relationships with people abroad. Moving forward, hopefully they will implement new strategies to make this happen.
Best International Act Africa
Aka (South Africa)
Black Coffee (South Africa) — WINNER
Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)
Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)
Serge Beynaud (Cote D’ivoire)
Yemi Alade (Nigeria)