BET Awards 2013 Take Over LA With ‘Super Bowl of Black Entertainment’

BET Awards 2013: Last year, BET tagged its annual awards spectacle as “Too big to miss” — a phrase the network should have held for this year.

Sure, the historically unpredictable ceremony will feature dazzling performances – Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are among the acts on the bill – and dole out trophies to musicians, actors, athletes and philanthropists.

But the awards are just a footnote of what BET has in store. This year the Black Entertainment Television network has transformed the show into a three-day destination festival in Los Angeles that kicks off Friday.

The BET Experience will take over the L.A. Live complex downtown with an impressive lineup that will attract more than 100,000 people to the city, according to the network.

BET’s inaugural festival will feature concerts by headliners Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, J. Cole, Miguel and R. Kelly, as well as wellness seminars, celebrity panels, a film festival and, yes, an awards show telecast on Sunday.

More than two years in the making, the festival is a way for the network to expand its highly rated awards show and make LA a destination for urban music fans in search of a big-ticket event. And it will be difficult to find a bigger ticket in Southern California this year.

“The BET Awards are like the Super Bowl of black entertainment,” said Debra Lee, the network’s chairman and chief executive. “It’s the biggest thing out there, so we always asked ourselves how we make it bigger and better. [Creating the festival] allowed us to touch many more people than are able to come to the awards.”

On Friday, Beyoncé will launch her “Mrs. Carter Show World Tour” at Staples Center, which will also host Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, J. Cole, Miguel and Schoolboy Q on Saturday, and R. Kelly, New Edition and the Jacksons immediately after the BET Awards on Sunday.

The smaller Club Nokia will host comedians Mike Epps, Cedric the Entertainer and a Kirk Franklin-led gospel showcase during the day, and Erykah Badu, the Roots featuring MC Lyte and Too Short will have late-night sets.

Those wanting to experience the festival without shelling out any cash – the big shows at Staples Center were bundled for $199 to $399, and VIP packages (that include entry to the awards show and tons of other goodies) went upward of $3,995 – are in luck as the network has curated a breadth of free music across three stages…

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