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Michael Eric Dyson, Robert Glasper discuss Black History at BET Honors

RO BET Honors 2014 Joi Pearson Photography33photo by joi pearson photography

February 8, 2014, marked the taping of the annual BET Honors Awards held in our nation’s capital at The Warner Theater. It was one of the most star-studded events thus far in 2014 with notables on hand like Aretha Franklin, Berry Gordy, Ice Cube, Ken Chenault, Carrie Mae Williams and many more. In light of Black History Month, some of the honorees and presenters discussed what it means to be honored by your own community.

Author, Georgetown University professor and social commentator Michael Eric Dyson said, “I’m honored to be here to celebrate Black History. The great Berry Gordy–I’m from Detroit, Michigan, so I’m partial to Mr. Gordy and Miss Franklin, the greatest voice perhaps of all time. But also, Carrie Mae Williams is an incredible artist and Ice Cube is…Ice Cube! From the Jheri curl to the number-one movie three weeks in a row–just extraordinary! And of course Ken Chenault, who made the ‘black card’ the top card in finance. What a subliminal message that is, in a beautiful and powerful way.”

Dyson also said “It’s not only about what you perform on the field or on stage, but it’s also about preserving the integrity of Black culture. The ideas, the identities, the aspirations… The motivations, the visions and imagination that make us the people we are.”

His wife Marcia L. Dyson chimed in. “Culturally speaking, I’m just glad for BET because we don’t have too many platforms in which we can celebrate ourselves.”

When speaking about Ice Cube she said, “I appreciate him not only for his tenure in the business but also the integrity of his private life. I want to celebrate O’Shea Jackson for that but also how he represents young people and the possibility of success”.

Mrs. Dyson also likened him to legendary actor/comedian and philanthropist Bill Cosby, referencing Cosby’s most famous character.

“I think he’s a real kind of Bill Cosby…the Dr. Huxtable character,” she said. “I think Ice Cube has been able to finesse that in various ways without demeaning a part of our own community. And that’s a plus for him as well as far as I’m concerned”.

“It’s an honor to be here, I love BET,” said saxophonist Ski Johnson. “I love what they’re doing. When you go to other award shows, the love just isn’t quite there. They [BET] support us.”

Honoree Michael Bivins of New Edition shared his appreciation for the previous night’s reception dinner. “The dinner was awesome last night…just bringing everybody together the night before [and celebrating] the body of work that everybody has done and being an honoree–it’s good to sit in someone’s audience and see other people,” he said.

Acclaimed recording artist Robert Glasper expressed, “I’m most honored to be a part of a legacy of Black creativity, and to be in that line of amazing artists that left us great music, and that are still here making great music, and that gave me the tools to make great music as well. It keeps on passing through, and it’s running through my blood. I think that’s what I’m most honored about. To be a part of that family.”

BET Honors is set to air on BET February 24, 2014 at 9pm ET.

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