In what is usually a celebratory weekend of music and fun during the annual BET Awards, two separate random acts of violence, a shooting and a stabbing broke out during festivities leaving one dead and several others injured. The dark cloud of two isolated events happened during pre-show parties leading up to the big televised BET Awards on the BET network.
According to reports, one incident occurred at the Lure Nightclub in the heart of Hollywood at around 8:45 pm. According to the LAPD, a partygoer, a man in his 30s was stabbed and transported to Cedars-Sinai Hospital where he was listed in stable condition. At this time, no suspect has been identified. A second matter took place in the early hours of Sunday morning when local police responded to a call of a shooting at the Monalizza Restaurant and Banquet Hall in East Hollywood. Authorities say in this case, five victims were injured and one victim died at local hospital. Just like the earlier incident at Lure Nightclub, no suspect has been identified.
An official spokesperson with The BET Awards confirmed to the press that the two events where the incidents occurred were unauthorized events and not affiliated with The BET Awards nor the three day music festival The BET Experience nor sponsors associated with BET. It is common in Los Angeles to see club promoters capitalizing on major Hollywood events like award shows with unsanctioned parties. The last reported incident of violence surrounding BET awards events occurred back in 2012 during their BET Hip-Hop Awards and involved celebrities and not civilians. Back in 2012 rappers Rick Ross and Young Jeezy were involved in an altercation and a separate fighting incident occurred between rapper Gunplay and members from the entourage of rapper 50 cent.
The Sunday night telecast of The BET Awards from the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles was hosted by comedian Chris Rock, and did not make mention of the two unfortunate cases and the show went on without a hitch. The BET Awards is a program that shines a spotlight on the achievements of black artists in television, film and music. Highlights from this year’s award show included “The Lifetime Achievement Award” handed down to musical veteran Lionel Richie. BET recognized the 65-year-old Richie with a look at the famed singer-songwriter’s career from his work as front-man in the Motown group The Commodores to his very successful solo career. Also taking home trophies on Sunday night were R&B musician and producer Pharrell, rapper Nicki Minaj, and Beyonce walked off as best R&B/pop singer. In the acting category newcomer and best supporting actress Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o now can add a BET award to her trophy case.
Known for having an array of outstanding performances live on stage, this year’s award show had musical appearances by the very popular Australian hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea, John Legend, Beyonce, and in his first public appearances since his recent stint in prison, entertainer Chris Brown. Many in the Hollywood community recognize that the violence that preceded one of Hollywood’s biggest nights is not in the spirit of The BET Awards and while the two separate cases are indeed an unfortunate blemish on the weekend’s festivities, the night continued to uplift and entertain those in the auditorium and the millions of others watching at home.
By Hal Banfield