The 2018 Billboard Music Awards took over the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and celebrated the top selling artists in music on Sunday night.
Although it’s not necessarily the show that black folks crowd around their televisions to see, this year’s installment had some very noteworthy moments including Janet Jackson’s first television performance in nine years, Salt-N-Pepa rocking a medley of classics with En Vogue and John Legend (with a jacket that deserved it’s own social media page) giving the crowd “A Good Night” before the first images of his newborn son, Miles Theodore Stephens, graced the screens in the arena. But there were a few things that you didn’t see that took place at the Billboard Music Awards.
Here are 5 of our favorite moments the cameras didn’t capture:
BTS meltdowns. To understand the pandemonium surrounding K-Pop band BTS, you had to experience it in person. Surely, you had a difficult time hearing their performance of “Fake Love” as their rabid fanbase hijacked the sound with high pitched squeals of joy throughout the performance. But what you didn’t see was how this hysteria wasn’t limited to the times that you saw them on screen. Earlier in the day, a mob of BTS fans gathered just outside the red carpet area and made their presence felt with chants, signs and an overall support of Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, V, Jimin and Jungkook. The BTS takeover didn’t stop there because during every single commercial break during the show, BTS Army chants filled up the arena. So much so, in fact, that those who were unfamiliar with the popularity of the Bangtan Boys had to plug their ears from the bedlam caused. If you didn’t know who BTS were before the BBMAs, you damn sure do now.
Tears for Santa Fe. Aside from BTS mania taking over the Billboard Music Awards, a much more somber theme also loomed large over the awards show. And that was of the recent mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas. From host Kelly Clarkson fighting tears during her opening speech to Khalid and Shawn Mendes’ stirring rendition of “Youth” with 12 members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student choir, the audience found it quite difficult to keep their emotions in check. Several members in the audience openly wept whenever the topic was brought up. Although the awards show brought it’s fair share of joy, the rash of mass shootings is something that couldn’t be ignored as the dark cloud cast a harrowing shadow over the night.
DJ Khaled’s dance moves. During Jennifer Lopez’ performance of the Cardi B and DJ Khaled assisted “Dinero,” all eyes were on the Latina giving it her all onstage. But what you probably didn’t see was DJ Khaled shimmying about on the separate stage in the middle of the arena. After watching the 2010 remake of Wall Street, Khaled did the usual Khaled ad libs during J-Lo’s performance. But when he wasn’t ad libbing, the father of Asahd was tossing cash into the crowd and bopping back and forth in a way that only DJ Khaled can do. If you saw it, you couldn’t unsee it and it was probably the only thing that you watched during the performance. We’re sure the bilingual banger will be a smash this summer, but DJ Khaled doing DJ Khaled things is always the icing on the cake.
Sibling rivalry. Did you know that Ariana Grande had a brother? The older half-brother of the singer goes by the name of Frankie J. Grande and has had his fair share of runs on reality television. He was a contestant on Big Brother 16, was a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew and has dropped in on everything from Netflix’s Haters Back Off to Gay for Play Game Show starring RuPaul. At any rate, the elder Grande was Ariana’s biggest cheerleader during her performance of “No Tears Left To Cry.” Frankie was seated in the front row at the BBMAs and went wild throughout the duration of his baby sister’s performance. He never sat down and danced like a maniac. Like the aforementioned DJ Khaled, if you saw him, you couldn’t take your eyes off of him.
Normani and Khalid’s chemistry. The BBMAs aren’t known for their focus on melanin but there was certainly a Black Girl Magic moment that had fans in the crowd fanning themselves and gasping. It was during Khalid and Normani’s performance of “Love Lies” that we got a much needed injection of slay. After Kahlid delivered his first verse, the former Fifth Harmony member —and some shapely dancers — proceeded to shake what her mama gave her in the best way possible. Steamy would be an understatement as fans in the audience might not have been ready for the 21-year-old to give that stage the business.