Award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt has become the latest figure to address BET for their airing of Lil Wayne and Drake's "Every Girl" performance at the 2009 Awards ceremony. Directing an open letter to BET President Debra Lee, Hurt focused on Weezy's set and his reaction to the Michael Jackson tribute.
"BET failed to deliver a solid, quality show," he wrote. "Rather than 'raising the bar' and presenting African-Americans as a creative, proud, dignified people, BET lowered the bar for the entire world to see. The BET Awards drew a huge audience to watch a tribute to Michael Jackson, but left millions of viewers feeling disappointed, embarrassed, and reduced to classic stereotypes...Show executives watched, approved, and applauded as artists Lil Wayne, Drake, and Cash Money brought young, under-aged girls onto the stage to dance and serve as window dressing while they performed 'Every Girl,' a song that reduces girls and women to sex objects. In a culture where one out of four girls and women are either raped or sexually assaulted - and where manipulative men routinely traffic vulnerable women into the sex industry - it is not okay that BET allowed this to happen. BET owes its entire audience - particularly girls and women around the world - an apology for its failure to intervene." (The Urban Daily)
Journalists covering the event also expressed their reactions to the set.
Overrall, the show was a big downer because...many things just seemed out of place. For example, Drake's performance had Lil' Wayne and his pre-teen daughter with other young girls on stage rapping along to "Every Girl in the World," which is a song about having escapades with all the girls in the world. (Examiner)
Reports have also spread online which claim the young girls' on-stage appearance was unplanned.
According to my source, what happened was Wayne's daughter Reginae, 9, was upset that she didn't get the chance to accompany her father, Lil Wayne, to the stage to accept his award because she was sitting too far back in the audience. Once backstage, the youngster began to cry. And Wayne, who they say is a great dad, hated to see his little girl cry. So he told Reginae she could come out onstage during his performance with Drake. Reginae, being the team player that she is, asked the other members of her group to go out on stage with her. (Sandra Rose)
Byron Hurt is known for his documentaries including Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes.
Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, a published writer, and an anti-sexist activist. His most recent documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. It was later broadcast nationally on the Emmy award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, drawing an audience of more than 1.3 million viewers. To date, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (BBR) has been selected to appear in more than 50 film festivals worldwide and The Chicago Tribune named it "one of the best documentary films in 2007." (Byron Hurt)