I usually watch the BET Awards so that I can enjoy a little coonery with my friends via Twitter and Facebook. But this year was different. When I finally laid my head down around midnight, I had grown as a person, and I had BET to thank! No joke! Before you write me off as a loon, hear me out, and give my Top 10 lessons a chance.
#10: It is Important to Respect the Seasons—The Bible lays it out plain and clear, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). And what the BET Awards pointed out is you will look a CRAZY running around acting out of season. I’m not too sure what Drake’s stylist was thinking when she sent him down the red carpet in leather jacket in June or what Soldier Boy’s stylist was smoking when she had him perform outside in a cardigan, but both Drake and Soldier Boy looked loony in mid-summer dressed in their fall and winter attire.
This made me think about how many times I had tried to act outside of God’s timing or seasons. Like the time I was convinced I was going to marry this guy, but it couldn’t have been God’s season because neither of us were comfortable enough with ourselves to commit forever to someone else. Or the time I kept searching for a huge harvest (financial blessing), but I hadn’t done a significant amount of labor. In both of these situations, I must’ve looked just as crazy as Drake and Soldier Boy. From this point forward, I’m going to make an effort to understand God’s timing and seasons, so that I can work with Him and not against Him. Nothing productive can come from going against God’s grain, but supernatural things can happen when you work with Him!
#9: We Must Grow Past Our Human Complexities—How odd was it to see women waving panties at Tyrese in one set immediately followed by gospel greats performing a tribute to Haiti? It seemed a little out of order. A number of my Twitter friends pointed out that the producers at BET should’ve done better planning to ensure that a smoother, more respectable, segue could’ve been implemented. But how often do we, in our lives, do things that are similarly out of order. How often have you lied before you prayed, cursed someone out before going to church, or been stingy and selfish before telling God how much we loved Him?
We use the phrases that “God knows my heart,” or “No one’s perfect; everyone sins” as our excuses to have sin and out of order behavior in our life. In reality, that’s just not good enough. While sin and mistakes are a natural part of life, as people who are completely in love with we should do everything in our power to live sin free and seek God’s forgiveness when the complexities of life do cause us to fall below the mark of God.
#8: Good Writers Are ALWAYS Needed—Writing is my passion and my craft; however, recently, I have not been doing as much writing as I should. Watching the BET Awards showed me the necessity of having good writers. Some of those skits were utter fails and painful to watch. We all deserve to have good television, and my work deserves to grace bookshelves, televisions sets, and movie screens. I must IMMEDIATELY stop playing around with my God-given gifts, and further develop them so that I can become the great writer God desires me to be, I deserve to be, and the world deserves to read and see.
I encourage all of you to respect your God-given gifts and talents. He didn’t give them to you to for them to sit stagnant. In fact according to the Parable of Talents that Jesus told in Matthew 25: 14-28, if we do not use our gifts to glorify God, He will take them away from us. The world needs what God has placed in you. Make sure you grow and develop your gifts to a level of expertise where you are prepared to share them with the world. Someone needs what you have; make sure you give it to them.
#7: Less is Sometimes More—Monica is a BAD CHICK! Love her, respect her, admire her! But WHAT was she wearing during her performance? I thought she was doing some type of skit that required her to be a demonic angel based on the size of her shoulder pads (or whatever you called those things). I’m sure she thought wearing that outfit was a great idea in her dressing room, but the elaborativeness of the attire somehow got lost.
Lesson learned: sometimes less is more. Drake has hyped you guys up thinking everything has to be fancy, huh? Everything does not have to be big, fancy, and extravagant to get your point across. Sometimes simple is good enough! Follow your gut and don’t draw excess attention or you may end up looking like Nicki Minaj, a complete attention whore. I’m just saying.
#6: Don’t Insult the People that Help You Be Great—Did anyone see Diddy, Filthy Change (sorry, that was sooooo unnecessary! Shouts out to @christopherbw for coining the phrase. Follow him on Twitter. Pure entertainment!), and crew completely suffocate in the fog during their performance? It looked like a performance failure, but if you watched the after show, you have a better understanding of why there was sooooo much fog. During rehearsal Diddy complained about there not being enough fog during their performance. He went as far as to insult the fog tech mocking that BET didn’t have enough money to produce the amount of fog he needed. So once they hit the stage Sunday night, the fog tech decided to really SHOW Diddy how much fog BET could really produce! Diddy wanted to give a great performance, but he forgot that he couldn’t be great by himself. He needed the people working with him to help him be great so that he could reach his goal of greatness. Unfortunately, he forgot to build up those around him.
In order for the people working with you to put 100% into helping you reach greatness, they must be completely invested in your greatness. They must believe in your vision, and they must want to see it happen as much as you do. This does not occur when you are overly critical or harsh towards those working with you. And it doesn’t happen because you write someone a big check. However, if you pray for divine connections and focus on building up those working with you and helping them become great, they will bust their tail to make sure that you reach your standard of greatness as well.
#5: When You Make a Comeback, Come Back Strong—From the opening of the show, Sunday night was undoubtedly the night of comebacks. Kanye made his first appearance since Deboing the mic from Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Awards. T.I. did his first post-prison performance. Usher is STILL trying to come back from the bad publicity he received doing his marriage…and divorce. Keyshia Cole did her first post-baby performance. Chris Brown finally got his name changed from Mr. Slap-a-Chick, and El Debarge climbed out of his hole to promote his new album. It was an awesome night to watch. Everyone sat on the edge of their seats anxiously waiting to be blown away by these comeback kids; however most of them could be described as mediocre at best!
When you make a comeback, you should absolutely, no questions asked, blow your audience out of the water. You should leave no room for naysayers to speak. Your comeback should be so fresh, on-point, and above everything you have ever done that you leave your audience speechless, gasping for air, and wanting more. While most of the comebacks were decent, only Chris Brown left his audience speechless. If I ever have to make a comeback, I want to do like you, Chris!
#4: Classics Never Die—The music industry has been struggling over the last decade not because of its lack of talent, but due the large number of artists who a chasing the quick buck associated with fades instead putting in the work to produce a classic. Sunday night was a night of classics: Deniece Williams, El Debarge, Michael Jackson, and Prince. Decades latter their music still moves crowds like they are on the top of the Billboard 100. I can’t say Gucci’s “Lemonade” will be doing the same.
As someone who has recommitted herself to her writing, I am going to focus on creating classic materials. Whether it’s my blogs, books, short stories, plays, or scripts, I’m not going to thinking about what is popular and what is going to make me a quick dollar. I’m going to focus on creating timeless, master pieces that will be relevant for years on end. I want to be associated with the Maya Angelous and the Zora Neale Hurstons, not the Zanes.
#3: Everyone Respects a Master—If you’re going to be a craftsman, you might as well master that bad boy. Prince and Michael Jackson are two musicians who worked hard and mastered their crafts, and whether you like or even respect them as people, you have no choice but to respect their mastery. I can only imagine what it’s like to walk in a room and have the respect of everyone: fans, peers, enemies, and haters. AMAZING! Good enough should no longer be acceptable. Everything associated with your name should be stamped with excellence…nothing less!
#2: Always Give 100% Effort—BET SUCKS as a network. They put in minimum effort and expect great results. That’s not logical—and it has turned a large number of people off from the network altogether. This is unfortunate…and similar to the boy who cried wolf, because when we you actually put in 100% effort and produce a quality product everyone assumes that your product still sucks and no one wants to give it the time of day.
This year, BET produced a quality award show. It was by far the best awards show in the network’s history. However, a large number of people who would’ve enjoyed this show missed out because they assumed it would suck like the shows of the past. You only have one time to show your audience your best work. Make sure you do that each and every time.
#1: God Redeems You in His Own Time—To say the last year and a half have been rough for Chris Brown would be an understatement. After pleading guilty to assaulting his girlfriend, Rihanna, Chris has watched his life and career crumble in front of him. Even after making numerous attempts to amend his wrong doing, it appeared that Chris had been blackballed from the industry with no chance of regaining his place in the music business. However, God sees all and redeems us of our pain and suffering.
While onstage Sunday night, God redeem Chris Brown of all he has suffered through over the past year and a half. God didn’t even care that the pain and suffering was due to Chris’ own bad actions. When you truly seek His face and forgiveness, He will publicly redeem you in a way that no man can stop. While many may debate what occurred on that stage, I’m confident in what I saw. I saw an individual who was genuinely remorseful for the mistakes he’d made and sincerely grateful to be given a second chance by God and to be accepted by his industry again. No matter what you’ve done, no matter who won’t forgive you, no matter who is keeping you out, stay faithful and prayerful. The God of redemption will redeem you in His own time, and when you, and your haters, least expect it.