What It's Really Like At The BET Awards
Power 99's radio personality Cappuchino gives SheKnows a behind-the-scenes look at covering the 2013 BET Awards, from interviewing the nominees, including Tamar Braxton and Charlie Wilson, to attending the big show, scheduled to air tonight at 8/7c on BET.
Receiving the news
This year, when I got word from my program director I'd be attending this year's BET Awards, I lit up! I hadn't attended the show in about three years, and because I was in a bigger radio market, I was definitely thrilled. We had about two days to interview artists in the radio room prior to the show. We had everyone from new artists to hit makers to the artists who were nominated for awards, including those who were performing during the weekend of what was called the BET Experience. This was the first time BET decided to do this, and it consisted of three days of different events, including stages and performances set up around the venue, L.A. Live, which houses the Staples Center and the Nokia Theater (where the awards show would take place).
Arriving at the venue
After we had a chance to get checked in, my intern and I walked around the venue a bit with another jock from a different station, and all you saw was BET Awards signage. One area even had a "mosh pit" sign-in. And I asked a gentleman what was going on and he pretty much gave us a picture of what would be going on in the different areas. And when he mentioned the mosh pit, I asked, "So, uh, is there an age limit?" — because I had seen some women who could definitely be my mom in there! We laughed it off. And even with it being a very hot day, the fans were lined up to sign up!
On the first day of the radio remote room, where we would broadcast live, the morning started a tad bit slow. Then all of a sudden, people poured in — from volunteers asking if we'd like so-and-so to come over to record reps checking in with us and then the celebs! I will admit, that huge tent was warm after everyone came in. And when my adrenaline was going as I rushed to get in and out of interviews so I could nab the next person, it was hot! At times, the volunteers would approach my table with signs of certain celebs, and some I had to turn down because I was waiting for another artist to come by.
Oh, and by the second day, it was even more of a rush! Some artists would come in with their entourage or were being pulled left and right, so I would have to hurry and jump in for pictures. With all of these constant interviews, there was barely time for us to eat, especially on Day 1! We never saw the food that was provided. But we kept pushing on. We even had artists whom I didn't have a chance to read up on, and I felt like it was a trap because I knew nothing about them. But you know what? That actually helped because I would talk to them as if I were a potential fan, asking who they were, what's their song and if they had any collaborations on their albums. And one thing I definitely asked the majority of people was "Looking in the radio room, do you see particular people in here you'd love to work with?"
But during my calm moments, I was in my zone. I even received compliments from the celebs: One new artist told me I had a great radio voice; some celebs said I had a great smile; and when I complimented the women's beauty, they'd even do the same. Yeah, that made my head get a little bigger!
I had the pleasure to sit and speak with female rap icon, and BET Awards announcer, MC Lyte! I was excited about that because I grew up listening to her, and she is definitely a positive woman. She mentioned all of the projects she was working on, and one is a docu-series for BET, where cameras will follow her and other female MCs in their daily lives, showing family, business and music.
Other artists who were on my list of favorites included Tamar Braxton — love her! She was nominated for Best Female and Centric awards. This particular interview was great for me because she is a busy woman. Not only did she have a baby about three weeks ago, but the second season of her show Vince and Tamar will be airing shortly, plus she is gearing up for a talk show, The Real, which will be airing soon. And did I mention how nice Tamar and her husband, Vince, are? Vince, alone, greeted me with a hug as if I were a cousin!
I was even thrilled to sit down with Cover Girl Janelle Monae, Robin Thicke and rap artist Trinidad James, who was nominated as Best New Artist. And being that I am in Philadelphia, we had to get an interview with Marsha Ambrosius, who has been living in Philly since her career took off with the now-defunct group Floetry. But she was great, reminiscing about all the times she had been to the awards and even speaking of Michael Jackson, with whom she wrote the song "Butterflies."
Uncle Charlie — that's what we like to call him — had a chance to sit with me as well. He is being honored as BET's Lifetime Achievement Award. And one thing I didn't realize until he told me is that he is pretty much the only artist who is being given this honor who is also still making No. 1 records. Now that's not shade being thrown at all to the past recipients, but it's a fact. Most of the other artists who have gotten this award aren't making music when they receive it or are only touring with their past music.
With a weekend like this, we cannot forget about the fashion — and yes, these celebs were quite fashionable. Looks ranged from Tamar's bright yellow, sleeveless peplum top to rap artist Trinidad James' eclectic look of jean jacket with an apron underneath it! Yes, the room was filled with several looks, but everyone came across comfortable, and the ladies made me want to get on my "operation: body right" game. These women were tiny!
It's almost time!
As I look out the window of my hotel, I can see some setup going on, including the red carpet and the area where they will do the preshow. And I know the fashion on that carpet will be everything from amazing to eclectic. The show kicks off at 7/8c, and I look forward to seeing what it has to bring, especially since they are calling it "BET Awards... where anything can happen." The show will be hosted by comedian and actor Chris Tucker, so I'm ready to see what will happen!
Born and raised in Miami, Cappuchino decided that radio would be her joy when she toured Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. By her second semester at FAMU, the half-Thai, half-Black beauty was given the moniker Cappuchino (because of the hue of her skin). She also began training other students and served as a college record representative for Atlantic Records. Cappuchino received her B.S. degree in newspaper journalism and decided to stick with radio. She started commercial radio as a part-timer and was one of the chosen few to manage her college radio station and work in commercial radio at WHBX in Tallahassee. After a little over a year with the commercial station, she was offered a full-time spot in Louisiana. She spent seven years at KMJJ in Shreveport as the assistant program director and midday host. In January of 2012, she got an even bigger calling, being offered a position in a top 10 market, doing middays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Power 99. Cappuchino is a learner, a speaker, a mom, a wife and a social butterfly and will tell you what's on her mind — and she enjoys music!
Images: Latifah Waddy