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Lira nominated in BET awards

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Samuel L Jackson must owe someone at Black Entertainment Television a huge favour. Why else would he agree to be the host of this year’s BET Awards?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Any time Mr Jackson is on my screen is a good time. Previous hosts have included comedians Kevin Hart and Mo’Nique, but now the actor whom we last saw in Avengers will play host to the BET Awards which will take place in Los Angeles on July 1.

The annual awards ceremony, which will feature Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown as performing acts, will be screened live in America but will only air on South African television on Top TV’s BET on July 3.

This year, the awards’ tagline is Too Big To Miss and in various ways they are right. There’s a big Hollywood star with hosting honours, a big fat rapper who pretty much owned the mainstream rap scene in the past year (we’re looking at you Rick Ross, uh) and surprisingly, a Big Sean who is nominated three times.

The tiny Detroit rapper (yes, he calls himself Big Sean) was beyond stoked when the televised nominees announcement took place on BET’s flagship show, 106 & Park, last month. He even air-punched when he announced the Best Male Hip Hop Artist Award and realised his name was on the list. He will go up against Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Drake and J. Cole.

If you’ve been in a club on any given night in South Africa, the winner of that category should be pretty obvious.

It seems – if some of the US artists who have recently visited South Africa and spoken about it at press conferences are to be believed – that either Maybach Music (Rick Ross’s record company) or Young Money (the imprint owned by Lil Wayne which is also home to Drake) will be walking away victorious. Sorry, Big Sean.

Still on hip hop, Nicki Minaj has some competition this year. To take home the Best Female Hip Hop Artist award, the Barbie will have to beat Trina, Diamond and newcomer, Brianna Perry. That category doesn’t have as many nominees in it but at least BET haven’t dropped the category altogether like the Grammy Awards did a few years ago.

The channel actually has several awards shows a year. One of them is the BET Hip Hop Awards so the focus on these BET Awards is not solely on rappers. Instead, they are about cele- brating black excellence whether in film, music or elsewhere.

They even go as far as celebrating black entertainers all over the world. For instance, this year South Africa’s very own song- stress Lira has been nominated in the Best International Act: Africa category.

The Feel Good singer is up against Camp Mulla from Kenya, Sarkodie from Ghana, Mokobe of Mali and Nigeria’s own Wizkid as well as Ice Prince.

There is also the Best International Act: UK award which sees Estelle, Wretch 32, Sway, Labrinth and wunderkind Emeli Sande go up against each other. Back in the States, the members of Maze as well as Frankie Beverly will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

On his way to legendary status is hip-hopreneur Jay-Z who has been nominated a whopping five times in these awards. Jay is nominated as part of The Throne (what he and Kanye West call themselves when they collaborate) while his wife Beyoncé is nominated six times in categories that include Best Female Artist and Video Of The Year.

Mrs Carter has two videos in the latter category and so does The Throne. Want to know who will win? Tune in next month.

• The 2012 BET Awards will air on BET (Top TV Channel 190) on July 3 at 8pm.

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