From Lionel Riche’s tribute to Nicki Minaj’s onstage bunny co-star, Billboard runs down what you didn’t see on TV.
The BET Awards red carpet was hot—literally—at about 80 degrees, but that didn’t stop the entertainment industry from sashaying in style and looking mighty fab -- from Pharrell Williams in a new hat to Ashanti glowing in a fresh white dress. Fans cheered, screamed and got close up to their favorite stars while in the mosh pit. Backstage the action, too, was swift. Here’s run down of what you didn’t see on TV.
1. Lionel Riche was elated that so many of his peers came together to pay tribute to his career from John Legend to Yolanda Adams. “I’m proud and I survived it.” As for the Commodores reunion, it’s still in the works, he said, adding that after the success his country duets album—"Tuskegee"—he’s about to return to the recording studio with new music and, of course, go back on tour.
2. Yolanda Adams’s reaction after just having stepped off the stage during the Lionel Riche tribute: “It was amazing,” says the gospel singer. “He’s an icon. I have followed his career from the Commodores to what he’s doing now. It’s always a blessing to be invited. The energy on stage was phenomenal.”
3. The woman in the bunny costume who performed during Nicki Minaj’s “Pills N Potions” fairy-tale set was backstage heading to her dressing room in the same direction as Common and T.I. Holding the bunny’s head in her hands, the performer said it was a “great” experience while looking relieved since it was probably hot inside her costume.
4. Singer/songwriter Elle Varner said that the Lionel Richie’s tribute speech made her think about her journey as an artist who has sometimes been placed in a box. “There’s soul in all of his music,” the songstress said. “As a young black female, I’m expected to sound and look a certain, but I play guitar, piano and listen to [everything from] country to hip-hop and why should I not be allowed to explore every part of my artistry.”
5. Color Me Badd, the R&B vocal group, declared in the pressroom, “We are back” The new music will keep the fans in mind, says group member Kevin “K.T.” Thornton. “We want to give the fans the old sound they fell in love with -- the lyrical content and romance, the feel good music.” Stay tuned.
6. Bravo’s “Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore took time to twirl backstage and reminded us that her first single was “Gone with the Wind Fabulous.” She also said she was hoping to meet and hang with Nicki Minaj since they follow each other on Twitter.
7. Best new artist August Alsina said that he was on Cloud 9 after being named best new artist and crowned the viewers choice. “I feel good and nothing can ruin this moment,” the rapper said. As he left the media room, a blogger asked for a hug and he obliged. “I’d ask you to marry me,” said the young female fan, “but not in front of everybody.”
8. Best gospel artist Tamela Mann became emotional as she accepted her award on live TV. Backstage the singer said that the emotion was triggered her hopes and aspirations as a child. “I’m grateful to be in this place,” she said. “As a kid you dream of these things and I’m really grateful to my family and the whole team. It’s exciting.”
9. Chris Brown’s appearance elicited chatter among some of his fans eagerly waiting to see his first post-jail performance. Wearing what looked like an extended plaid shirt that was cropped at his knees, the consensus was that Brown gained weight and was hiding those extra pounds. But in the end, his suave moves in the live version of “Loyal” showed us that he’s still got it.
10. August Alsina needed a quick restroom break and was joined by security. Lets just say the small gent’s room was super crowded.