Censor Gets a Workout at BET Awards

Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2012

The BET Awards became the Bleep Awards on Sunday, as entire segments of performances were muted out due to foul language. Still, censors failed to catch many vulgarities that were uttered onstage, from performances by Nicki Minaj to even a parody by Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee.

It started during the opening number by Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D. music group, which included Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz. There were extended moments of censored silence when the rappers performed “Mercy,” though not all the offending words were bleeped out. Moments later, Jackson, the show’s host, was joined by Lee as they did a comedic version of Jay-Z and West’s hit song “… In Paris,” to laughs.


The censor police also worked overtime when Rick Ross performed with his Maybach Music Group and during Minaj’s performance and acceptance speech for best female hip-hop artist. Minaj’s win was her third consecutive time taking the prize.

“I really, really appreciate BET for keeping this category alive, and I appreciate all the female rappers doing their thing, past, present and future,” she said, before uttering an obscenity.


{snip} Even West offered tributes: after his performance, he name-dropped Rodney King and Whitney Houston in a verse that got cheers from the crowd, including his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian.

Presenters included Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx, who wore a T-shirt that had a picture of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.


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