Best Musical Television Performances Of 2016
The Roots On The Tonight Show The Roots showed everyone again why they are the hardest working hip-hop band with their consistent sweat as Jimmy Fallon’s house band. Whether it was Black Thought improving a rap about the Games Of Thrones or their recent appearance with Shigeru Miyamoto to perform the Super Mario theme, they keep delivering the musical goods night after night.
Beyonce and Bruno Mars’ Superbowl Halftime Performances Beyonce stirred-up a lot of people with her double entendre performance dedicated to the Carolina Panthers and The Black Panthers. Her performance was strategic as usual because she debuted her “Formation” video the night before. Bruno Mars’ show at Superbowl XLVIII that he was invited back for Super Bowl 50 and he was just as exciting as the first time.
A Tribe Called Quest On Saturday Night Live A Tribe Called Quest’s appearance on Saturday Night Live was bittersweet and epic. The passing of Phife Dawg in March was one of the year’s great losses but ATCQ’s SNL performances were passionate and intensified by the presence of Busta Rhymes, Consequence and the painting of Phife that dropped from the ceiling.
Sheila E’s Prince Tribute At The BET Awards Prince fans are still trying to digest the fact of his death and the Sheila E-lead tribute helped with closure. After the weak Billboard tribute dominated by Madonna it was critical for BET to do a better job and thanks to Sheila E and a host of others, the Purple One got a proper TV send-off.
Solange On Saturday Night Live Solange surprised everyone by unexpectedley releasing one of the year’s best R&B albums with A Seat At The Table. She brought her picturesque videos to life onstage with performances of “Cranes In The Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” which seemed to divide white and Black viewers on Twitter.
Brandy At The Soul Train Awards Brandy received the Lady Of Soul Award at the Soul Train Awards and she showed everyone why she epitomizes the spirit of the honor. A 10-minute show of hits included an appearance from Mase on “Top Of The World” and had the whole audience on their feet.
Teddy Riley At The Soul Train Awards Teddy Riley’s genius as the architect of New Jack Swing was recognized after 30 years of work with the Soul Train Legend Award. Riley’s performance with Doug E. Fresh, Bobby Brown, Tito Jackson, Wreckx-n-Effect, Guy and V. Bozeman was a historical moment of timeless hits.
Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar At The BET Awards Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar’s performance of “Freedom” at the BET Awards had fire, water, smoke and an urgency that made it one of the reasons to watch the show again.
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings Luke Cage Jones and the Dap-Kings performed “100 Days, 100 Nights” on the Netflix show and thrilled a new audience while helping to make Luke Cage one of the coolest shows of the year.
Jidenna Luke Cage Jidenna’s album is not out yet but strategic appearances like this one performing “Long Live The Chief” is keeping fans eager for its release. Jidenna’s regal and bold style was perfect for Cottonmouth’s intense demeanor and upscale Harlem nightclub.
Raphael Saadiq Luke Cage Raphael Saadiq sang “Good Man” and raised the question about his next project while adding a vintage musical addition to the show.
Charles Bradley Luke Cage Bradley’s time in front of the camera singing “Ain’t It A Sin” gave lead character Cage one of the most soulful takedown moments in season one.
Teyana Taylor, Dej Loaf, French Montana, The Lox and Lil Mama VH1 Tribute To Lil’ Kim Teyana Taylor and Lil Mama captured the essence of the Queen Bee with a ferocious energy that rocked the stage and reminded everyone why the Brooklyn legend became an icon of the ’90’s.
Fantasia, Monica and Tweet Tribute To Missy VH1 Hip Hop Honors Fantasia, Tweet and Monica’s tribute to Missy had so much soul and reflected Missy’s as one of the rare artists to have created successful songs in R&B as well as hip-hop.
Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Rah Digga, Lady Of Rage and Yo-Yo Queen Latifah Tribute VH1 Hip Hop Honors Queen Latifah’s all-star performance of “U.N.I.T.Y.” became the anthem of the night and introduced and reintroduced some of the best women rappers of the past two decades.