BET Awards turn up star power at tribute to Michael JacksonBy Sandy Cohen, AP
Monday, June 29, 2009
BET Awards turn up star power for Jackson
LOS ANGELES — The BET Awards turned up the star power Sunday as the annual event was transformed into a musical farewell to Michael Jackson.
Here’s an inside look at the backstage action:
— Keri Hilson was backstage wearing shades, sparkly socks and cropped pants a la Michael Jackson. A team of handlers perfected her look.
Hilson and her dancers rehearsed in the wings before taking the stage. The crew had modified their routine last-minute to honor Jackson.
— Show host Jamie Foxx had a makeshift dressing room made of black curtains and metal supports in the wings stage left.
A team of advisers rushed him to change clothes before the show began. One person with a clipboard and headset said, “We’ve got three minutes.”
About 30 seconds later, Foxx emerged after trading his blue T-shirt for a button-down white shirt and waited for his cue.
During a commercial break, he went on stage to have fun with the audience, giving a shout-out to Timbaland.
— Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson arrived without tickets about 30 minutes before show time, sending workers and media into a frenzy.
He appeared briefly on the red carpet then disappeared into the Shrine Auditorium.
— The Rev. Al Sharpton spent time backstage looking for Joe Jackson after Sharpton arrived in Los Angeles to discuss ways to memorialize the late pop star.
Sharpton was later seated next to Joe Jackson front-row center.
— Ne-Yo, who performed a tribute to Michael Jackson, introduced himself to Joe Jackson. The two shared a few words and posed for a photo.
Later, Ne-Yo wiped away tears as he came off stage after performing the show’s closing number.
— Estelle, wearing one glove, shared a quick hello with Beyonce as she approached the stage. Jay Z followed a beat later and stood in the wings to watch his wife perform.
Stage workers clapped as Beyonce returned backstage. She was quickly greeted by Jay Z then disappeared into a makeshift dressing room.
Jay waited in the wings, sharing small talk with show producer Stephen Hill but ended up going back to his seat without his wife.
Later, Beyonce boogied through the backstage area while the O’Jays performed.
— Queen Latifah, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, sat nonchalantly backstage watching the show on a tiny monitor.
— Lil Wayne was surrounded by a trio of girls in tutus as he waited in the wings, ready to take the stage.
As Lil Wayne said farewell to his trio of dancers, they yelled, “we love you!” He replied, “I love you shorties.”
— Snoop Dogg, dressed all in black save for blue Converse sneakers, posed for photos with fans backstage and with BET humanitarian award winner Wyclef Jean.
— Travis Barker made a special trip to Foxx’s dressing room to shake his hand then hung around in the wings watching a monitor of Soulja Boy’s performance.
— Best actress winner Taraji P. Henson stepped offstage after her win without a handler in sight. A photographer pointed her in the direction of her publicist.
Later, Henson playfully flirted with Tyrese backstage, first ignoring him then saying, “come here and get in the picture, crazy.”
She gave him a smooch as the pair posed for photographers.
Tags: Al sharpton, Award Shows, Bet awards, Beyonce, California, Celebrity, Jackson family, Jamie Foxx, Keri hilson, Los Angeles, Michael Jackson, Ne-yo, North America, Queen latifah, Shrine auditorium, Taraji p. henson, Tiny, United States, Us-michael-jackson-bet-awards-insider