The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television (BET) network and have become a huge event in the entertainment world. To better reach a younger and ‘edgier’ audience, the network launched the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2006. Both events have become very important for African American artists but they’ve also become known for a more ignominious reason–both events have been plagued by fights between artists in attendance. It’s reached the point that fights at the BET Awards are as expected as fights at a hockey game.
The most recent brawl came at the taping of the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta. The primary combatants were portly rapper Rick Ross and Atlanta based Young Jeezy, who was at one point the ‘flavor of the month’ in hip hop but more recently has been struggling to revive his career. Other eyewitness reports suggest that 50 Cent got into a tiff with a performer named Gunplay who is surprisingly not a Rhodes Scholar candidate but a protegee of Ross.
Apparently Ross and Jeezy were once on good terms and actually worked together, but have been in a ‘feud’ for several years. Of course it’s important to keep in mind that many hip hop beefs are ‘worked’ much like pro wrestling feuds–it’s good business for artists from a number of standpoints. It allows them to maintain that they are still serious ‘thugs’ and not just products of a record company. Plus it gets them a ton of PR in all types of media. The run in at the BET Awards between Ross and Jeezy is somewhat curious because most hip hop feud observers had concluded that the two men were now on reasonably good terms. In early 2011 Jeezy said in an interview that the beef with Ross was “all about selling records”. As late as August there was speculation that the two men could work together again soon.
In addition, there may have been considerable embellishment of the severity of the fight. The brawl apparently started when Jeezy’s entourage got into a shoving match with Ross’s entourage. BET security and bodyguards for both rappers initially broke things up but the melee moved to the parking lot where–according to initial reports–shots were fired. Eventually the Atlanta Police showed up to restore order with pepper spray. According to an Atlanta Police spokesman the reports of shots fired were not accurate and no arrests were made.