CLUTCH was on hand yesterday afternoon as BET President of Music Programming and Specials Stephen Hill, Diddy-Dirty Money and Queen Latifah announced the nominations and performances for the 10th Annual BET Awards. Among the special surprises, Stephen Hill announced Queen Latifah as this year’s host. It was also revealed teen pop sensation Justin Bieber will be nominated in the show’s “Best New Artist” category. Let just say eyebrows raised. Bieber joins Nicki Minaj, Melanie Fiona, Wale and Young Money for this year’s pack of celebrated newcomers.

This clearly isn’t a question about race. BET has showed love to non-Black artist for years. Including R&B crooners like Jon B, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and hip hop artist Eminem. Oh, can’t forget about Teena Marie (R.I.P Rick James). But does Justin Bieber even appeal to the BET audience?

On the other hand the 16-year-old artist has appeared on the network’s music variety show 106 and Park who along with the BET Awards celebrates its 10th year. Bieber performed hit song “Baby” to a considerably composed crowd–definitely not his usual audience of hysterical teen girls.

Is this a ploy for Bieber fever? Or more plainly, ratings?

The BET Awards is cable’s largest award show. But do typical Bieber fans even watch BET?

While Bieber inks a nod, Monica whose single “Everything To Me” has been dominating R&B charts for the past 16 weeks was snubbed in the “Best Female R&B Artist” category. Nominations went to Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Melanie Fiona, Alicia Keys and Rihanna. Monica resorts to duking it out with Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna, Trey Songz and Young Money for the “Viewer’s Choice” award. Erykah Badu was also categorically dissed. No nods whatsoever for the “Window Seat” big sister in our head. Not even for “Video of the Year.” Hey, why not?

We can enjoy performances this year by Diddy-Dirty Money, Trey Songz, Nicki Minaj and Drake. More performers will be announced closer to the show date. The BET Awards airs live Sunday, June 27 at 8pm with a live stream on BET.com.

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