Judging from reactions across social media, this year’s installment of the BET Awards came right on time. Not only was it the 20th year that the cable network has been putting on its own awards ceremony, but it was also televised right smack dab in the middle of a pandemic.
Taken together, BET‘s virtual awards show Sunday night — hosted by actress and comedienne Amanda Seales — provided viewers with a brief respite from the world’s nonstop madness while actually managing to add to it at the same time.; at least, according to some viewers, who sounded off over Seales’ hosting duties.
By the same token, however, Seales was still praised for her performance: the not-so-enviable task of delivering everything from an opening monologue to announcing award-winners without being able to see the audience she was addressing.
When Seales introduced herself as “who better to host the BET Awards?” but viewers tweeted in what seemed like unison that another logical choice would be BET’s infamous former virtual hostess, Cita, a cartoon personality the network used to showcase back in the early aughts. Some folks lamented about how much more appropriate it would have been for Cita to handle the hosting duties seeing that it was a virtual awards ceremony.
That’s not to mention some of the negative social media feedback about Seales’ jokes.
But for all the negativity, there was plenty of positivity, especially displayed by Seales, who seemingly dropped science every chance she got. She had some poignant moments addressing the kind of anti-Black violence that the country has seen ramped up in recent months.
“Now, folks always say, ‘All Amanda ever does is talk about race.’ Well, listen, I would love to talk about regular, everyday things, but racism always beats me to it, Seales said in her opening monologue. “For instance, candy: Who don’t like candy? But whenever I talk about Skittles, I remember Trayvon Martin. I would love to talk about ice cream, it’s a delicious treat. But each time I do, I’m reminded of Botham Jean.”
She continued: “Who doesn’t appreciate some shut-eye? I had a nap in 2015 that was so good, it felt like Black Jesus tucked me in. I still talk about it to this day, but that’s a wrap because I can’t dream about sleeping knowing Breonna Taylor‘s killers have not been arrested.”
However, as she weren’t on, some of Seales’ one-liners fell flat, according to viewers who shared their reactions on social media. Like when Seales said we should all brace for white people to misappropriate Juneteenth.
“Don’t let them Cinco de Mayo our day. If we ain’t watchful, every June 19th, folks will be wearing Frederick Douglas wig hats, ordering Harrietini’s off the drink special,” Seales said. “Then we have the protest we’ve been out marching and this new eruption of consciousness has been beautiful. But keep it real though; Some of you were on the protest because the club is closed.”
With that said, there seemed to be more winning moments for Seales than not, including a skit about being on a Zoom call with “Karens” — the name that’s been associated with rude and many times racist white women who have been exposed during the pandemic.
The mixed reactions had social media split. But in the end, Seales showed that her star isn’t nearly close to fading anytime soon, regardless of what some folks thought about her performance hosting the BET Awards Sunday night. Scroll down to see a sample of how some viewers really felt about the hosting job Seales did.