Hey, Soul Train Awards, what’s up with the pandering, blue-eyed soul segment?

David Goodson | 12/5/2013, 1:57 p.m.

It appears that quite a stir was caused by the broadcast of Centric’s/BET 2013 Soul Train Awards. Without giving credence to the volumes of hate directed at appearance and/or gear, I heard some opinions that were valid in regards to the current state and future of Black music in general and the show in particular. Here are few sample queries I heard asked, along with some sentiments.

A.) What constitutes a “new” artist?

Like everything else, definitions of words evolve, I guess. But do we really need to disregard earlier material if it went under the radar—Tamar did have a previous album—or if artists combine for a joint project? (I might be mistaken, but Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank have solid bases on their own.)

B.) Does music matter?

As much as I hate to admit it, music is about over. Fame is the ultimate goal, and that objective can be met without harmonies and melodies. Making music itself, however, is but a skill set on your resume. Go reality TV!

C.) If there was a Mount Rushmore of female soul singers, who would be the four figures represented? For the most part, the names Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle roll off the tongue. Who vies for the fourth? It doesn’t matter. The point in regards to the Soul Train Awards is, why not name the Female R&B Award after one of them? Yikes!

I gotta admit, I love the body of work Chaka Khan has forged, and she has earned her Hall of Fame accolades, but for this particular award, given the history of the show, how can that distinction go to anybody other than Knight? As the story is told, it was on the merits of Knight and the Pips that the national syndication of “Soul Train” was made possible. But Khan winning Female Artist of the Year is something you can’t be mad at.

D.) Were there any other awards given? If so, who were the winners?

Got that:

  • Best New Artist : K. Michelle
  • Centric Certified Award : Luke James
  • Best Gospel/Inspirational Performance : “If He Did It Before ... Same God”: Tye Tribbett
  • Best Hip Hop Song of the Year : “Bad” : Wale feat. Tiara Thomas Best R&B/Soul Female Artist: Tamar Braxton
  • Best R&B/Soul Male Artist: Miguel
  • Album of the Year : “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” - Kendrick Lamar
  • Song of the Year : “Blurred Lines” - Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell and T.I.
  • The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award : “Love and War” - Tamar Braxton (Tamar Braxton, Darhyl Camper Jr., LaShawn Daniels and Makeba Riddick)
  • Best Dance Performance : “Body Party” - Ciara
  • Best Collaboration : “Blurred Lines” - Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell and T.I.
  • Best International Performance : Bunji Garlin - “Differentology”
  • Best Traditional Jazz Performance : Nicole Henry - “Waiting in Vain”
  • Best Contemporary Jazz Performance : George Duke - “Missing You”
  • Best Independent R&B/Soul Performance : Ashanti - “Never Should Have”

Rumor has it, however, that the big winner of the night took home trophies in the following categories: the “Call a Medic, He’s Having a Seizure, Wait … He’s Dancing” Award, the “After 20 Years, I Realize Now That Song Wasn’t as Bad as I Remember ... It’s WORSE” Award and finally, the “Hello Timberlake (click) Hello Robin Thicke (click) Hello Hall and Oats (click), Ooh My God We Need Another Act” Award. The landslide winner: Vanilla Ice. And since we’re there …