‘Genius Talks’ and international acts offer fans ranging perspectives

2014 BET Experience
TV personality Big Tigger speaks onstage at the Acoustically Speaking event during the 2014 BET Experience At L.A. Live.
(Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images for BET)

Sunday afternoon of the 2014 BET Experience offered stimulating opportunities for fans to encounter normally inaccessible perspectives.

“Genius Talks” was forefront of this. Held in the Concourse Hall of the L.A. Convention Center, popular public figures had one-on-one discussions about the personal elements surrounding their lives in the limelight.

The headlining slot featured an interview between Common and convoluted boxer Mike Tyson. The actor and hip-hop artist led the comfortable conversation with Tyson about the early stages of the boxer’s life, including his isolated childhood, to his unsmooth introduction to boxing, and through the lessons he’s learned from his reckless financial decisions.

“I believed that if you were famous and had a lot of money you wouldn’t have any problems,” Tyson told Common, after mentioning his careless spending and abandonment.


The conversation had a clearly redemptive tone, as Common catered questions around Tyson’s improvements. “I enjoy the lighter side of Mike Tyson,” Common said while the conversation encircled Tyson’s role in the 2009 comedy “The Hangover”.

Tyson visibly conceded his change as well. He believed that 10 years ago, nobody would have envisioned him being included in the “Genius Talk.” Tyson didn’t only believe that others’ outlooks on him had changed but that he had a stronger sense of self-acknowledgment.

“That was just the guy I wanted to be,” Tyson said about his “Iron Mike” nickname during his booming boxing career. “I don’t want to be him now.”   

Before the discussion, entertainer Doug E. Fresh held a rushed interview with undefeated professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. “The Genius Talks” were running behind schedule, prompting the two to sort through the conversation a bit quickly.


The 37-year-old athlete detailed his current struggles with realizing that family members are aging and experiencing deteriorating health. After Doug E. Fresh listed one of Mayweather’s unfathomable workout routines, the world champion confidently offered advice to fans.

“It’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter,” said Mayweather.

While rapping up the conversation, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was brought onto the small stage to honor Mayweather with the 2014 BET Experience Community Impact Award. The acknowledgement referred to his humble service to the youth from his Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation.

Fans had been confused after the time slot for Floyd Mayweather’s interview was switched to follow the Jordan Brand Discussion. Although the shift was unexpected, fans seemed to enjoy the discussion, as rapper Bun B bridged music and Jordan shoes with Jordan Brand Director of Entertainment Marketing Reggie Saunders.

The two sorted through a number of original Jordan shoes, aligning them with specific musical artists who have sported them throughout their career. Bun B, the former member of the rap duo UGK, pointed out how artists like LL Cool J were received like Michael Jordan at the time by wearing the Air Jordan I shoes.

Although the “Genius Talks” more directly allowed fans access to different perspectives, the Main Stage showcased a number of international acts.

English rapper Ghetts kicked off the “Music Around The Globe” segment a little after noon to an intrigued audience. The crowd, which featured a mix of older and younger attendees, didn’t seem entirely familiar with the artist. Despite some unfamiliarity, many recorded the short set on their phones and tablets.

South London hip-hop duo Krept & Koman followed with another abbreviated set. The two tried to engage the crowd by volleying verses before the start of their song “Waste My Time.” The enlarging crowd started to become more active as the instrumentals kicked in.


Nigerian hip-hop artist Ice Prince was able to capitalize on the crowd’s progression during his following set. Backed by two energetic dancers, the crowd was fun loving as it attempted to replicate the dancers’ moves.

Fans will be reacquainted with widely familiar artists this evening as Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, Jennifer Hudson and more wrap up the experience at the Staples Center.


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