BET presents...an award show without women

Waynekanyejaybet_lWith Lil’ Wayne leading the pack with 12 nods (followed by Kanye West and Jay-Z with 7 and 6 respectively), this year’s all-male roster of BET Hip-Hop Awards nominees is truly a sad testament to the current (and glaring) lack of women in hip-hop. Even so, would it have killed the network to at least nominate British soul/rap siren Estelle for Best U.K. Hip-Hop Act? After all, she raps, she’s from the U.K., and her outstanding 2008 U.S. debut CD, Shine, is the finest offering from a female rapper since Lauryn Hill’s 1998 classic, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And what about M.I.A.? Hello, "Paper Planes" is the jam! (It’s also No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs chart, with sales in excess of 1.3 million.)

To be fair, the only female rappers who dropped albums that caught our attention this year were Lil Mama and Estelle (whose Kanye West collaboration, "American Boy," has notched more than 1 million digital sales). But that’s no excuse for a network that deemed female rappers relevant enough to honor (or placate) them with a Best Female Hip-Hop Artist category at last summer’s BET Awards (Missy Elliott won, though she hadn’t released an CD since 2005′s The Cookbook). Heck, even the featured singers who make cameos on nominated songs are all men (Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Avery Storm…). But with four weeks to go until the show tapes on October 18 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, all hope is not lost. Take our advice, BET: Bestow the coveted I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award to Queen Latifah. Not because she’s a woman, but because she deserves it. Who’s with me on this one?

You Might Also Like:
Simon Vozick-Levinson’s PopWatch piece on how Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation is holding up on its 10th Anniversary.
Chris Willman’s review of Kanye West’s summer tour.

addCredit(“Lil Wayne: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage; Kanye West and Jay-Z: L. Cohen/WireImage”)

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  • confidential

    To be totally honest and being female, I don’t think there are women whom truly deserve nominations this year. Estelle’s album was R&B, not rap and she isn’t the crossover wonder that Lauren Hill is. MIA and Santagold music isn’t really the rap that BET and more specifically Rap City is playing. Rap in general is in a crossroads where labels aren’t throwing out artist after artist hoping that something will stick. Eve had a single that faltered and her album was shelved. If there were to give nominations to the female rappers it would be the Britney Spearing of the BET Awards. Urban music in general is in tuff position as of late. Where are the Brandy, Monica, Monifa, Mia, Faith and Mary J’s? There are only a small oversaturated group of Rap and Urban artists out right now.

  • dave-o

    i loved tamborine from eve, but i guess the rest of the album sucked out loud. *shrug*

  • Wes

    The best hip hop song of the year is Paper Planes by MIA. Not to include her is ridiculous.

  • Queen

    Yes… Queen Latifah should get an ICON award, she definately deserves it, AND truth be told, most female rappers want to get to the point that she has already surpassed!!… ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!!!

  • junior

    dave-o, the rest of Eve’s album hasn’t come out yet (or may never come out).

  • Constintina

    Two words: Jean Grae .

  • Scott K

    I think there are 5 worthy contenders. The aformentioned Estelle, Jean Grae and M.I.A. (somebody recognize her already! I’m looking at you Grammys!). Also, Santogold had one of the best albums of the year! Where’s the love? I would also like to nominate the very dirty minded girls of Yo Majesty! Boo BET, shame on you.

  • Smooth

    Trina dropped a good album this year… how can she be ignored?

  • ElectAPromQueen? (maybe not)

    Yes, ready for M.I.A. to go mainstream and get the red carpet treatment. Perhaps all of this buzz with the Paper Planes sample used for “Swagger Like Us” (T.I., Jay-Z, Kanye and now Puff, Usher, Chris Brown Neyo with their versions…) will push her to the limelight next year. Perhaps Jay or T.I. will do the kind gesture by inviting her on stage to do her classic line from Paper Planes when performing “Swagger Like Us” at the BET Hip Hop or American Music Awards.

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