Dr. Jemison and Regina King: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Dr. Jemison and Regina King: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

*Los Angeles -Thousands of Urban music fans were in town this past weekend for the 2014 BET Awards, BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola, June 27-29, 2014.

Visitors to Los Angeles enjoyed our Southern California hospitality, beautiful weather and proximity to Hollywood and other tourist attractions.

The BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola featured an array of world class entertainers and the popular BETX Fan Fest. The BETZ Fan Fest was an interactive free expo featuring the BET/Centric Pavilion, Coca-Cola World of AHH, [email protected] Experience, AT&T Tech Lounge, Pantene #Shinestrong Studio, Nissan “Surprise Inside Booth, Poetic Justice Jeans, Geico, Nickeleon Kids Zone, United States Tennis Association, XBOX, and the Health Pavilion.

The highlight of 2014 BET Experience were Genius Talks presented by Rushcard, part of the BET Experience Fan Fest. Genius Talks was a series of compelling and interesting talk backs which happened live throughout the BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola.

Taste makers including actors, actresses, musicians and professional athletes opened up about what drives them to be the best in their fields. This series of celebrity talk backs featured real discussions about culture, entertainment, family, celebrity and more.

The first Genius Talks featured American physician and NASA Astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison interviewed by actress Regina King. Dr. Jemison left the crowd with three pearls of wisdom to inspire them to be excellent in area of endeavor that they pursuit. The three “E’s” are Exposal to all range of possibilities in a given field of study. Expectation-believe in oneself enough to rise to any occasion. The final “E” is Experience-many of life experiences offer positive inspirational, uplifting lessons to guide one in life.

The stage was already set for the next discussion/conversation featuring Bill Withers interviewed by actor Hill Harper. Mr. Withers was very reflective and provided open and honest answers about his musical career.

Bill Withers and Hill Harper: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Bill Withers and Hill Harper: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The next panel/talks were entitled “My Brothers Keepers: Dissolving The Prison Pipeline presented by H.I.S. BET and Ebony magazine. This was a timely topic with professional offering a different path to train youth and prisoners a way to create their own businesses and other entrepreneur opportunities. The panel consisted of Van Jones, Founder of #YesWECODE, James Shelton, III, Acting Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Education, MC Hammer, Toure Roberts, Pastor of One Church International, and Dr. Robert Ross, President & CEO of the California Endowment, moderated by “The Insider” Kevin Frazier. Visit www.BET.com to hear a recap of this powerful panel.

Filmmaker and producer Will Packer held court for aspiring filmmakers in the audience, while being interviewed by actor Boris Kodjoe. The audience heard an overview of the nuts and bolts of the inner workings of the movie industry.

Snoop Dogg and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) concluded Day 1 of Genius Talks with interesting insights about their upbringings, family and career. The two were interviewed by Jemele Hill.

Chris Paul, Jemele Hill and Snoop Dogg: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Chris Paul, Jemele Hill and Snoop Dogg: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The final day of Genius Talks featured more compelling conversations. The opening talk featured poet Nikki Giovanni interviewed by Omari Hardwick, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., interviewed by Doug E. Fresh, and Mike Tyson interviewed by Common. I’m sure that you can imagine how interesting these Genius Talks were. Visit www.BET.com for a recap.

Mike Tyson and Common: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Mike Tyson and Common: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Rapper Bun B and Reggie Sanders, Jordon Brand Director of Entertainment Marketing  took the crowd and me on a journey into the history of hip-hop alongside the concept, design and distribution of “Air Jordon’s line of tennis shoes from Air Jordon 1 through 11.

The “BET Awards” took place along with the BET Experience in Los Angeles from June 27th-29th and elsewhere around the world on BET’s International Network, July 1st, 8:00PM, GMT. BET.com/Awards are the official site for the “BET Awards” and contain the latest news and updates about this year’s show. Fans can view the 2014 BET Awards on BET, Saturday, July 5th.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]