Bruce and I rocked the awards scene last week. I introduced Li’l Jon and the East Side Boyz at the VIBE awards. It was the experience of a lifetime.
I love hip hop, and these stars are bigger to me than anyone. I was a VIP so I got a good table really close to the front. To me, this is better than the Academy Awards. These are my idols. I screamed like a 12 year old girl at her first N’Sync in store. My hero, LL Cool J actually stood up and waved to me, then came over to my table!!! LL!!!! He hugged me and asked how I was doing and I whispered in his ear, “Oooh Daddy I’ve grown,” in reference to that hot song. He giggled and gave an apologetic handshake to my date – as if to say – “Sorry, your bitch out of pocket.” There were these girls at our table who I assume were nominees for the video vixen, an actual award given to the hot girl in a video, who hated me, and this made me hate them more. I think because I was really friendly at first and when presented with the script, the stage managers told me to be ‘crunky,’ which I couldn’t really picture. I know how it is to feel crunk, be crunked, get my crunk on, but how do you display crunk? Anyhow, I asked and they bitchily replied, “It is from a song. Duh,” acting like I had no business there because I was not black and not wearing a glorified bathing suit as a gown, and then readjusted the double stick tape keeping their breasts from falling out of their dresses. Then one said, “There is something wrong with your hair.” I looked at my date, and he said, “There is nothing wrong with your hair.”
Soon a lot of celebs started to fill the room, some I knew from magazines, P. Diddy, with his ever present valet, multicolored umbrella in hand, filling his water glasses and taking care of his every need, Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee, Beyonce who sat on the very far left, and not even that near Hova ( aka Jay Z. – rappers have a million nicknames) and seemed distracted, yet still the most beautiful woman on earth. There was Tischa Campbell and Duane Martin, who I met right before they got married, when we were filming “Fakin’ da Funk,” some of the finest work I have ever done on celluloid. It was the dumbest movie. I will write you all about it one day, but I suggest you rent it or get it off Amazon for 23 cents.
The award show began with an announcement from the VIBE editors, who expressed gratitude to all the participants, celebrities, and everyone who helped them put it together, to show that the hip hop community is a community, not a bunch of fighting thugs waiting to kill each other. I watched when Jimmy Kimmel interviewed 50 Cent and actually asked this fine playa – “Why aren’t you dead yet?” Rapper beefs are all hype from the music industry trying to use violence and death and racist attitudes about the toughness of these ‘gangstas’ to sell records to the kids who have been brainwashed into thinking that all that is the real good shit. I love 50 because he comes from the streets, he cleaned himself up and became a hot fucking dope MC, and he wore a G-Unit medallion, not only made of diamonds, it was hanging from a chain of diamonds!!!!! I have expressed my dismay at the diamond industry and how it is the most exploitive, especially in parts of South Africa, and the irony of the bling thing juxtaposed with the reality of the way that diamonds are actually bought and sold, especially in the rap game, but I lay that argument aside for a moment. 50 was beautiful, sparkling like a rare jewel, and if that inspires a kid to say, “Hey, they are there, I could be too someday.” That is enough for me.
The opening performance was from Outkast, Andre 3000 first with his cheerleaders and then Big Boi, who never really gets his props, following with a number echoing the military garb of Public Enemy. I stood up in my chair as all the cool rappers and executives sat and didn’t respond, just nodded beat by beat, but I was waving my hands screaming “Hey YA!!!!” and fucking crying like it was the Beatles in 1964. I love Andre, he is like a combination of Prince and Beck, sexy, funny, cool, ironic, ridiculous, lovely. He is a work of art, made by God on a really good day. I tripped David LaChappelle in the aisle, who was all tracksuited and blinged out, on purpose to say hi. I went backstage and looked high and low for Andre, but he was gone. Eddie Griffin asked me if I was part of Cirque de Soleil. I said, “No baby, I am old school, this is Barnum & Bailey! OK?! See this?” I asked, pointing to a chain going across my crotch. “That is a guard rail so playas don’t fall in.”
It was a hectic scene party backstage, but there was so much going on. Performances by Ludacris and Mary J. Blige were stellar, as well as an amazing Cotton Club style epic number by R. Kelly. I was hollering and screaming the entire time. The only real downer was Ashton Kutcher came out to present some award to somebody, and he talked about how he was scared because he thought he would get sucker punched backstage, or at the very least shot at. I thought that was really rude and racist. He was the biggest white star there, besides Robert Evans, and he is perpetuating the black stereotype, that we are violent, and left to our own devices, we will kill each other. I introduced Li’l Jon, pushing poor Franky G. out of the way so I could take up all the mike, and then introduced the Kings of Krunk. I figured out what krunk was by then. After the performance, Li’l Jon embraced me and boldly wouldn’t let go. He kept screaming “Notorious!!!Notorious!!!” It made me feel sweet and happy to be there. As we left, Snoop turned to kiss me on both cheeks. He is like God, with his way laid backness, everlasting Blackness, he is divine. He was so good at reeling Robert Evans in, when Evans said “There is more poon here than I have EVER seen outside of Miami.” Snoop gently brought him back to the teleprompter. I wondered where all the Black comics were. I saw Cedric the Entertainer for a split second, but he was gone in a flash. We got invited to the Outkast party, but I declined. There was too much to go around. The excitement made me weary.
Rap is a young man’s game. You usually see rock stars like Mick Jagger rocking his ass off, but there is not really any equivalent in rap. Where was Run DMC? Where was Grandmaster Flash? Gil Scot Heron? UTFO? I heard that Salt & Pepa run a beauty salon. I want an appointment, but I am sorry that they aren’t rapping these days, because they were the start of the female perspective in hip hop. Their power was undeniable. As well as JJ Fad. You heard right. JJ Fad were Supasonic. Icons perhaps will be numerous someday, as we continue to pay homage to Tupac and Biggie, but there is history in rap that I did not see? What about Jam Master Jay?
I loved the VIBE awards. They did a wonderful job. I hope it becomes a wildly successful event that I get invited to every year. There was just so little time to say what we need to say, that is the only criticism I have. We are still talking though, rapping though, keepin’ it real though. I yelled at the audience who had not expected me to be there at all and said “Hip hop is not just music. Hip hop is life. Hip hop is a gift from God. Hip hop is the be all end all of all y’all!!!!!!!!!!!”
And they agreed.