Celeb basketball games and rooftop parties - My weekend at the BET Awards in LA
BET Experience LA (Photo: Channel24)
Cape Town - Channel24 bagged an invite to the ultimate BET Experience in Los Angeles from 21-24 July, where we attended fantastic headliner concerts, celebrity rooftop parties, basketball games and of course, the 2018 BET Awards.
The BET Experience Concerts, featuring performances by Ne-Yo, LL Cool J, Teyana Taylor, SZA and Ludacris, was a massive highlight, but the massive 4-day event was filled to the brim with star-studded parties and plenty of sight-seeing opportunities.
We landed in Los Angeles on 21 June, and it was all systems go from that moment on. Here's a breakdown of everything that happened on our trip to the BET Experience:
Three connecting flights and 27 hours later, we arrived at Los Angeles International airport on Thursday afternoon.
We got our first taste of Los Angeles while driving down the freeway to our hotel in Downtown LA. It felt like we were in a movie, driving past Chipotle, Walgreens and Target.
There was very little time to settle in as we only had about 30 minutes to freshen up and get ready for our very first event, a BET Concert at Staples Center.
We arrived just at the stadium just in time to catch Ne-Yo opening the concert with his hit, So Sick. The energy in the arena was electrifying as the crowed sang along to old favourites and tracks from his new album, Good Man.
Kicking off the weekend with a throwback Thursday was rapper Ludacris, who hyped up the crowned with hits like Move Bitch, My Chick Bad, How Low and Oh.
Completing the line-up was Nas and LL Cool J.
Starting at 19:00, the concert ended around 23:55 and by that time the jet-lag started to take full effect and I could feel the lethargicness and overall crankiness starting to set in.
We were treated to brunch by the Viacom team at Glance Restaurant in the ultra-luxurious the JW Marriott Hotel, where we enjoyed a taste of true LA cuisine.
Diving right in, we enjoyed sautéed shrimp, Margarita pizza, avocado toast and fish tacos.
Next stop on our jam-packed schedule was another BET experience concert, featuring Chris Brown, SZA, Ella Mai and Teyana Taylor.
We were seated in a VIP suite and enjoyed the concert from the highest level. A definite highlight was seeing SZA perform one of my favourites, Love Galore.
It was a quick trip back to the hotel, where we had a couple of minutes to change into our party-getup for the BET Talent Welcome Party at OUE SkySpace.
Local stars Pearl Thusi, Nandi Madida, Cassper Nyovest and Sjava, were joined by Kwame Boateng, Ajak Deng and Leomie Anderson on the red carpet.
OUE SkySpace is an absolute spectacular venue, where we enjoyed stunning views of the city. Celebs partied the night away until 2:30, with some taking a slide down the 13- metre glass chute, Skyslide, nearly 305 metres above the city streets.
I woke up early on Saturday morning, and went for breakfast at American diner, Denny's before heading out to Hollywood Boulevard.
Hollywood Boulevard was truly a one-in-a-lifetime experience, visiting the Hollywood Wax Museum and strolling down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The streets were packed with tourist, celebrity lookalikes and souvenir shops.
It was and amazing experience seeing my favourite celebs' stars along the Walk of Fame, and I couldn't resist taking photos with "Jennifer Lawrence," "Hugh Hefner" and "Cameron Diaz."
At 12:00 if was off to the Microsoft Centre for the BET X Celebrity Basketball match, hosted by Christian Crosby and Gia Peppers.
This was my first-ever time attending a basketball match, and now I am hooked.
Players included Nick Cannon and Black-ish star, Miles Brown.
A definite highlight was Desiigners' half-time performance. Desiigner delivers an energetic performance on the court, inviting audience members to join him, spraying the audience with water and taking his performance into the crowd.
The rest of the day was a jam-packed with cocktail and club events as well as two BET Experience Concert featuring Rae Tremmurd, Lil Pump and Cassper Nyovest at the Staples Center.
The day had finally arrived - The 2018 BET Awards, hosted by Jamie Foxx.
Channel24 had its very own designated spot on the red carpet and spotted, DJ Khaled, Amber Rose, Bryshere Gray and Janelle Monae.
Local celebs, Nandi Madida, Cassper Nyovest and Sjava flew the South African flag high, in their finest African-inspired looks. Take a look at all the red carpet looks here.
ALSO READ: We were at the BET Awards last night and can give you a special peek behind the scenes
Sjava, from South Africa, won the award for Best New International Act. He expressed his gratitude with a shout out: "To all my team for the incredible support you have provided me, to my fans who listen to my music and all the DJs who play my music, I really appreciate it. Siyabonga."
Host Jamie Foxx opened the show with a witty Wakanda-themed banter focused on the film's star Michael B. Jordan who was seated front-row. Jamie then lured Jordan on stage to recite a profound passage about honor and sacrifice from the record-breaking blockbuster.
Presenters included the entertainment industry's top black actors, artists, and entrepreneurs including Michael B. Jordan, Kevin Hart, T.I., L.L. Cool J, Bobby Brown, Tyra Banks, Tyler Perry and Questlove.
ALSO READ: All the winners from the BET Awards
Check-out was at 11:00 and we only had a couple minutes to soak up the last of our Los Angeles experience, which included a quick trip to Target, Zara, H&M and Bath and Body Works.
A 16-hour flight to Dubai followed, with a long layover in Dubai. 10 hours later, I arrived back in Cape Town on Wednesday afternoon.
Visiting Los Angeles and being part of the BET Experience was an amazing opportunity, that I will never ever forget.