(AllHipHop News Special) After the BET Awards, there was a tremendous uproar in the Hip-Hop Community over the lack of dedication to the life of Guru of Gangstarr. Most notably, J-Smooth said via Twitter, “what i learned watching the BET Awards: apparently Chris Brown is completely redeemed, and Guru is completely forgotten.” But, the popular cultural commentator, along with millions of others, were unaware what was truly going on behind the scenes of the heavily watched program.
In this AllHipHop News special, Stephen Hill, BET’s Executive Vice President of Entertainment and Music Programming, explains exactly what happened with Guru, as well as Chris Brown, Jay-Z and Beyonce and more.
AllHipHop.com: There’s quite a bit of buzz going on in particular with the Hip-Hop Community with regards to Guru. He didn’t get a shoutout at the BET Awards over the weekend. Stephen Hill: In a show that had every few technical glitches, it was nothing more than a technical glitch. It was the same reason you didn’t see anything about Naomi Sims (the first African American supermodel) a Black model who passed, and Marvin Isley of the Isley Brothers. So, Guru, Naomi Sims and Marvin Isley were all tied to this one [ video ] package that didn’t fire off the way it was supposed to. What was supposed to happen is you see this package and Naomi and Guru and and Marvin end up on Gary Coleman. For some reason, we couldn’t get it to fire and it kept Gary Coleman up there a freeze [frame]. That’s why we kept Gary up there as a freeze.
AllHipHop.com: Right, I saw that.
Stephen Hill: That’s why it looks a little awkward when Todd [Bridges] started, because he was supposed to have a bit of a ramp up. So, Todd did his thing and we continued on with Lena and Teddy Pendergrass [dedication]. You can best believe there will be something significant for Guru during the Hip-Hop Awards. We realized there was nothing we could do [during the BET Awards]. We had to keep it moving after that technical glitch. Guru, Naomi Sims and Marvin Isley were all victims of that technical glitch. All extremely influential in different ways.
AllHipHop.com: Do you want to give your thoughts overall on the awards? I know Prince is your guy so…
Stephen Hill: The best thing about the awards was the audience, which we try so hard to please and entertain seemed to really enjoy the show. It had something for everyone. It had great surprises with El DeBarge and Chris Brown. Besides that being a great surprise, that really… I think the pressure of the year and the lyrics of that song really just resonated. And, as someone who was backstage, there was nothing fake about that. I think there is a US Weekly story today about like his bodyguard gave him something to induce tears. Its just not true. I’ve been around actors who cry and when you fake cry, you don’t get…your throat doesn’t get swollen like it does [when you cry for real]. When he was trying to sing, he couldn’t get anything out. That’s a hard thing to fake. I appreciate people wanting to create controversy, but this guy has gone though a lot this past year, let this emotion be what it is. Everybody comes to the moment where you gotta make that change.
AllHipHop.com: I don’t want to jump to far off script, but people are naturally saying that Jay-Z, Beyonce and Rihanna skipped the awards because of Chris Brown.
Stephen Hill: They missed the awards, because…we have this conversation almost every year. And, some years we are really fortunate when Jay-Z and Beyonce are in the house and other times, they go on vacation. But I can absolutely say without reservation that there was no conversation at all around, “If Chris Brown’s coming, I’m not coming.” That’s just false.The missing dedication can be seen below.