We Watched the BET Awards so You Didn’t Have To

The 2014 BET Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, happened Sunday, and we watched almost four hours of award-show goodness to save you the time.

Pharrell Williams and Missy Elliott perform at the 2014 BET Awards.
Pharrell Williams and Missy Elliott perform at the 2014 BET Awards. Twitter

The BET Awards show has been marred in recent years with violent encounters. In 2012 rappers Rick Ross and Young Jeezy had entourages of long T-shirts and heavy necklaces that came to blows, and at the same show, rapper Gunplay got mollywhopped by 50 Cent’s crew.

This year, at the many “unauthorized and unaffiliated with the BET Awards” parties that capitalize on the celebrity cache that comes with the BET Awards coming to Los Angeles, “one person was killed and five were injured in separate incidents ahead of the show,” Los Angeles police told the Associated Press.  

A man was stabbed in the stomach Saturday night, gunfire erupted at a restaurant early Sunday morning, and in the end, one person was dead and four people were injured.

Chris Rock was killing time (something that happened so often, even he seemed to run out of things to say) as the host of the 2014 BET Awards, aka the “Black World Cup,” which honors black excellence in music and film, and he casually dropped a joke: “The BET Awards show is the only awards show when your family hears that you’re going and says, ‘Be careful.’ “

As with most of the jokes that Rock would make during Sunday evening’s display of gaudy (think Nicki Minaj’s mushroom-infused stage set) to goofy (think Busta Rhymes’ jacket), the humor would be both eerily biting and funny.

And while the show ran longer than a stretch Hummer (try close to four hours!) and had few highs (a Lionel Richie tribute and the unearthing of Missy Elliott for a cameo alongside Pharrell during his performance of “Come Get It Bae”) and a tidal wave of lows (Busta Rhymes’ jacket—yes, it deserved a second mention; a plethora of washed-up R&B singers like Troop and Color Me Bad; and the sudden emergence of plaid as the unauthorized dress code).

It still managed to pass out a few awards trophies (which, Rock noted, don’t have a name). Pharrell won Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, and his annoyingly infectious “Happy” won top nod for Video of the Year. Beyoncé was named Best Female R&B/Pop Artist. New Orleans singer August Alsina was named Best New Artist, and Lil Wayne’s rap collective Young Money scored Best Group.

Drake, who was a late scratch from the award-show performance list, would win Best Male Hip-Hop Artist. Minaj was named Best Female Hip-Hop Artist and in her acceptance rant threw shade on all rappers who don’t write their own verses: “When you hear Nicki Minaj spit, Nicki Minaj wrote it.”

12 Years a Slave swept the film categories, with Lupita Nyong’o named Best Actress and Chiwetel Ejiofor named Best Actor.

Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams was given the Humanitarian Award to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act being signed into law.