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Posted at 3:22 PM ET, 01/18/2009

At BET Honors, Stars are Big But Not Very Chatty

By Jen Chaney

Jen Chaney was on the red carpet at Saturday's BET Honors, where Mary J. Blige, Tyler Perry and Magic Johnson were among the honorees. Here's her recap of the celeb-heavy event, which preceded a ceremony and series of performances at the Warner Theatre.

The red carpets are being rolled out all over Washington this weekend. And already things are getting intense.

At the BET Honors, an event that pays homage to African-American achievers in entertainment, education and public service, the pre-ceremony show often got hectic. High-wattage stars were ushered swiftly down the carpet, well before many of us got to ask important questions like, "Who are you wearing?" Members of the press occasionally got snippy with each other. Even Gabrielle Union's publicist seemed perturbed. But maybe she's just like that.

A few observations from the evening:

Joss Stone flashed some hot, glimmery blue eye shadow. Which made me like her. The fact that she used the word "knackered" during an interview with me (see video below, in which she discusses her response to Obama's win), made me like her more.

Queen Latifah didn't talk to any members of the press. She posed for pictures, gabbed with a couple of broadcast media types, then swooshed by the rest of us in her characteristically regal style. When someone shouted, "What do you have to say to the outgoing President?" the Queen yelled over her shoulder: "Happy retirement!"

Mary J. Blige -- who looked rockin' in a red gown -- is known for the song "No Drama." Last night, she also was known for bringing no time to talk to the press. She answered a couple of quick questions, then off the BET Honoree went.

Tyler Perry paused for a couple of quick minutes to talk about his desire to see more social responsibility in America once Obama is in office. It's unclear exactly how his next movie, "Madea Goes to Jail," fits into that plan. But I'm sure Perry will figure it out.

Gabrielle Union looked pretty stunning, as you can see from this video of her primping for photos.

(Sadly, her anal-retentive ultra-efficient publicist shut her down from talking to several of us media folk.) But my favorite dress belonged to Angela Bassett, who wore a gorgeous, flowing, emerald green gown. She looked great, even when an "Entertainment Tonight" reporter practically tackled her on the red carpet.

Ne-Yo is super-smooth. And, like seemingly everyone at the event, an Obama supporter who rejoiced when he heard about his win...

... as did Lance Gross, star of "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" and a Howard University graduate:

One final note: Barack Obama may be bridging some political divides. But there was still a bit of divisiveness amongst the media, especially when an ABC News cameraman got a little too aggressive with his boom mike, prompting a shouting match between him and a print journalist.

Yes, Hollywood has come to Washington. That means if you cover entertainment, it's going to be more competitive than ever. So put up your dukes, "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood." We D.C. journalists are ready to go a few rounds.

P.S. Here is Going Out Guru Fritz Hahn's report from the BET Honors after-party.

By Jen Chaney  | January 18, 2009; 3:22 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Inauguration  
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Tyler Perry wants more social responsibility? Well, he should start with the man in the mirror. Try paying your writers according to their contract BEFORE they picket.

Posted by: epjd | January 18, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Someone please explain to me why Tyler Perry is famous. I sat through "Madea's Family Reunion" and was thoroughly confused. The movie was one big, messy ball of ideas thrown together on film in random order.

Was it a comedy? A drama? Who knows? And then, as if it wasn't annoying enough watching Perry in drag, suddenly a very old Cicely Tyson grinds the entire movie to a halt with this impassioned, jumbled monologue.

The whole movie was a hot, terrible mess. Other than being the "Murder She Wrote" for the once-famous black actor (Lynn Whitfield!), what's the point of Perry's movies? Yet he is lauded as this big talent. I don't get it.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | January 18, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

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