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Elise Neal, Mario, Durand Bernarr & More Weigh In On Usher's BET Awards Tribute

After Usher's BET awards tribute, many people and celebrities (including Eric Bellinger, Elise Neal, and Mario, to name a few) took to social media to ask the following: Does the lack of male R&B representation for Usher’s BET Awards tribute say something about the state of the genre for men or are people overreacting?

On Sunday, June 30, Usher received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 BET Awards and aside from Childish Gambino, the lineup of tribute performances were done by women (Keke Palmer, Chloe Bailey, Summer Walker, Teyana Taylor, Victoria Monét, Marsha Ambrosious and Tinashe.

In fact, we saw tweets from the likes of Durand Bernarr and Avery Wilson expressing disappointment over not being called while Kenyon Dixson clapped back at the notion that talented male R&B artists don’t exist. Josh Levi thanked his supporters for championing him in light of him not being called for the opportunity to pay tribute to Usher.

Also after the tribute, actress Elise Neal (The Hughleys, Scream 2) took to social media to weigh in on the performances.

“I just feel like it could’ve been something better,” she said before later relaying, “I just feel like I was disappointed and I think it’s because he’s [Usher] has given us so much good stuff; so much greatness [and] so many hits. “I wanted some roller skates; I wanted to see somebody hit them notes…a MAN hit them notes,” she stated.

GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger also weighed in on the performaces with the following:

“They [the ladies] were killing it…but I was like ‘where the kings at?,'” he questioned while chatting with interviewer Buzy Baker. “Tank was in the building, Tyrese was in the building, Vedo was in the building, I was in the building…”

While there were many who wanted some testosterone repping Usher's musical legacy, when asked by TMZ, singer Mario was team estrogen with his thoughts.

“I thought it was great; I think the whole point was to have all women do it. It was a concept and they killed it,” he started. “If it was dudes it would’ve been good, but the women killed it.”

I'm wondering if the reason there were no male singers invited to the Usher tribute because maybe the industry feels that singers such as Jacquees, Tyrese, Omarion, Mario, Chris Brown, Luke James, Trey Songz, and Tank haven't lived up to the legacy that Usher has built as a R&B/pop superstar?

Or maybe per usual the industry gets in this Highlander mentality where there can be only one black male R&B/pop act to represent the entire genre, when those of us who love and appreciate music don't look at music monolithically.

Or maybe this was another moment concocted by production to purposely have women pay tribute to Usher because like having OJ Simpson as part of the BET In Memoriam segment they wanted this moment to trend on social media.

I get that Usher's music is geared towards women, and maybe they chose women as a way to capture the essence of what Usher's music does to his female fans. However, me personally I would have loved to see some male singers turn it out with Usher's catalogue.

In case you missed it, check out the tribute as well as Usher's speech below...

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