Los Angeles, California: BET Awards Weekend 2018
Traveling to Los Angeles, California for the 2018 BET Awards was probably my favorite trip thus far in the United States. As I documented the events on my Instagram throughout the weekend, I got so many questions about how I ended up particpating in the BET Award festivities, so here I am to provide the details on an epic weekend. Let me start by saying that the BET Awards is an event that just about anyone can attend regardless of your budget. Here's some background information on award shows. When you look into the audience of award shows you are seeing a mixture of invited guests, guests who bought tickets to attend, and then persons who were chosen as seatfillers to fill any holes and empty seats in the crowd. Therefore, depending on your budget and status, just get in where you fit in. The most affordable option is attending the awards as a seatfiller of some sort. I wish I could just post a link to a seatfiller website and it'd be that easy, but it's not quite that simple. There are a plethora of companies in Los Angeles that are hired simply for the purpose of audience casting. You will not know which agency will be casting the audience of a particular award show until closer to the date of the event. Therefore, the only option is to continue to check in with the different agencies closer to the time of the awards to see which one you need to pursue. You can do this by 1) googling "seat fillers for ______ (add your desired award show to the blank)" or 2) going to the actual website of the network broadcasting the award show and there should be seatfiller options listed somewhere on the website. Now the next option is retrieving tickets to the show. This usually happens through some sort of connection; either you know someone who works for the BET network or you know someone who can guide you to a helpful resource. This was how we ended up at the awards. It's truly all about who you know. We received a package including tickets to not only the awards, but the events leading up to such as well. Next, I'll take you through my itinerary throughout my time in L.A.
D A Y 1
We arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday June 20th bright eyed and ready to take the city by storm. We had gotten tickets for the taping of the show "The Four" starring DJ Khaled, Diddy, Meghan Trainor, and Fergie. I am a huge fan of "The Four" so making it to the taping of this show was imperative for me. We got tickets through an audience casting company by the name of 1iota. The process is fairly simple. Log onto their website, create an account, and request tickets for the show you want to be apart of. Closer to the date of the show they will either deny or accept your request and just like that you're done. The tickets to be an audience member of these type of shows are absolutely free, which makes it an even better experience. We were on set for 7 hours, this included checking-in, being seated, taping and then departure. After this we headed to In and Out Burger, because even though that little burger and fry is highly overrated, I can't come all the way to the west coast and not go.
D A Y 2
A little shopping trip was needed to pick up a few pieces, so we went to The Grove. The Grove is the perfect mix of retail, restaurants, and entertainment. You never know what to expect out at The Grove, so always be ready. My friend and I ended up hosting a segment on Entertainment Tonight with Mario Lopez after completing a quick shopping trip a few years earlier. This go round we just wanted to satisfy a craving we had for Cheesecake Factory and pick up a few pieces. After dining at the Cheesecake Factory, we headed to a cute bar called Mixology. I would definitely recommend this spot because as a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, the bartender was able to create the perfect drink for someone like myself. If only I could take him everywhere with me. We headed back to the apartment after this to get ready for the evening.
That evening was the first night of concerts at the STAPLES Center for the BET Experience. The lineup for this concert was Ne-yo, Ludacris (who brought out Monica), Nas, and LL Cool J (who brought out Slick Rick and Snoop Dogg). This concert gave me throwback hip hop vibes, as we screamed to the top of our lungs all night long. Now after leaving the concert we headed to an event that easily became one of my favorite parts of the trip. We headed to So So Def's 25th Anniversary party at Academy Nightclub. It was a star-studded event in which we got performances from some of the music businesses greatest artist. It was a party that just happened to turn into a concert, so imagine our surprise. The lineup included, Waka Flocka Flame, Nelly, J-Kwon, Youngbloodz, Bone Crusher, XSCAPE, Bow Wow, Webbie, Da Brat, and more. So many people were in the building just to celebrate So So Def and it was hands down my favorite party of the weekend.
D A Y 3
After several late nights we decided that we should take it easy in the mornings and save all our energy for the afternoons. Day 3 we headed to one of my favorite places...the beauty supply store over in Inglewood, which offered a nice little change of scenery from Los Angeles. That night we headed back to the STAPLES center for the R&B concerts of the BET experience. This included Ella Mai (who brought out Ty Dolla Sign), SZA, Chris Brown, and Teyana Taylor. Afterwards we went to one of my new favorite Mexican restaurants, Rosa Mexicano. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate Mexican food, but this one dish here changed my entire life. If you ever go you must try the Nachos de Tres Quesos. It was so good that it actually put me into a food coma right at the table, and that's how that night ended.
D A Y 4
With the BET Awards just a day away at this point, the city was filling up with more and more tourist, celebrities, and excitement. We actually woke up pretty early this morning and headed to downtown LA to get a first look at the "grey" carpet that everyone would grace tomorrow on their way into the awards. Next we headed to a little restaurant that I would not recommend to a soul, Riordan's Tavern. After being served a burnt waffle and receiving poor customer service, I decided that would be the last time I would ever be in that establishment. However, there is a restaurant right next door The Original Pantry Cafe that had a line literally down the block that ended up peaking my interest. I told myself the next time I was in town I would have to stop by to see what the hype was about. After breakfast we headed to the LA Convention Center to attend the BET Experience Fan Fest, which consisted of celebrity meet and greets, mini concerts, fashion shows and more, all for free. This is why I say the BET Experience is an event that just about anyone can afford to attend depending on what you choose to partake in. Next we went to the Celebrity Basketball Game sponsored by Sprite, and this feautured celebrities such as, The Game, Rich Homie Quan, Travis Greene, Kamiayah, Erica Ash and more...There seemed to be more celebrities in the crowd than on the court, but it was a great event with an eventful performance from Designer. We headed to BETX Live shortly after the Celebrity Basketball Game. Tickets for this event once again came through the audience casting company 1iota. BETX Live is a televised event that takes place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday that is free and allows fans who don't want to break the bank to enjoy their favorite performers. Lil Baby, YG, Serayah, and more graced the stage on the paritcular day we went. That night at the STAPLES center current Hip Hop artists were featured, including Playboi Carti, Nipsey Hussle, ASAP Ferg, Meek Mill (who brought out 2 Chainz, YG, and Yo Gotti), Rae Sremmurd (who brought out Jhene Aiko and BlocboyJB) put on one hell of a show. Surprisingly, ASAP Ferg and Rae Sremmurd were my favorite of the night. They both have crazy energy, crowd participation, and are true performers, which can be hard for a rapper.
D A Y 5
Finally the 2018 BET Awards had arrived! It had felt like we were in LA for months at this point, but we were having the time of our lives. We got to the award show around 4:45pm PST. We got seated right before the show started and it was so interesting to see how this event was filmed. The performances were pretty good with my favorite of the night being Meek Mill. The funniest moment of the night was watching the Migos jam to Boo'd Up, haha! It will always be a night to remember! Can you believe that after the awards we went back to Rosa Mexicano? I told you that restaurant changed my life. We had tickets to an afterparty hosted by BET, but only one of the three of us made it, as Rosa Mexicano put me into another food coma. I since then have learned my lesson and will not be eating from Rosa Mexicano if I have plans afterwards.
D A Y 6
At this point we were worn out. We had been on the go since stepping foot in LA, and there was one last TV taping to attend before finally winding down. Today we were headed to The Voice, a TV show on NBC starring Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson. The audience casting once again was done through 1iota. After the Voice we headed to Roscoes Chicken and Waffles before I headed to catch my flight home. Roscoes Chicken and Waffles is a Los-Angeles Based soul-food restaurant and there's really no way you can come all the way to LA and not stop by. This wrapped up a week long of activities that I will never forget with some of my favorite people. LA is always good to me and brings good energy, and I am already manifesting bigger and better memories the next time I make it out to the City of Angels.