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Bry’s BET Awards ’17 Experience

On Saturday night, my best friend called me and asked me if I wanted to work the BET Awards the next morning. They needed an extra Set Costumer for the New Edition Tribute and she thought I’d be the perfect person for the job.

I was caught off guard by the request, but of course, accepted. I finished my dinner where I was and worked to wrap my night realizing the hours of sleep I would get was diminishing slowly in front of me.

I woke up Sunday morning and I don’t think it had hit me yet. I got dressed and did my hair and makeup, and headed out to meet Rashante so that we could show up to call time together. We made a quick stop at Target to pick up a few last-minute items and then pulled into the parking lot nearest the Microsoft Theater. We gathered our things, picked up credentials, and made our way to the dressing rooms. This is really happening!

It’s not my turn, it’s my time. Turns are earned and can be taken away, but TIME is ordained by God and created specifically for it’s intended, recipient.

Bryana Holcomb

Walking into the fitting rooms I was greeted by more of the wardrobe team and the various costume choices for the “New Edition Cast,” members. The tribute hosted the Littles (the younger actors the played New Edition as children), the Bigs ( the older actors that played New Edition in their older years), and the reals (New Edition in the flesh). I was standing in the middle of the LA Sparks locker room thinking to myself, “Is this really real?” *Enter Bryshere Gray* Yep, this is real! Soon after, all of the Littles and Bigs were in the room and it was time for us to prep them for the dress rehearsal.

We made sure the clothing was put on properly and checked and double-checked all of the guys before going out on stage. From there, we watched, intently, every movement and angle making sure the clothing and accessories translated on stage. The show looked GREAT, but there were still a few minor tweaks to be made. After watching the rehearsal the wardrobe team had a meeting to go over all of the notes we took while watching the show. There weren’t many, but the ones that came up were important and needed to be addressed. We split ways sending some people to make last-minute run while others steamed and re-prepped the clothing for Showtime (OMG there’s going to be a Showtime!).

I remember we had 3 – 4 hours to get everything together, and then we didn’t. I don’t know WHERE time went… Well, that’s not completely true. I steamed all of the clothing for the Bigs and reset their room. I looked at my phone to see the time and noticed there was some time to spare for the Dora the Explorer inside of me to go on an adventure. I took a long walk down the hall, through the tunnels, and made my way into the Microsoft Theater. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself walking through the halls. In my mind, I was wandering about being nosey, but to everyone else, I belonged. Perception is reality–I belong here.

I made my way backstage and watched some of the show from the monitors. Once friends got wind of what I was doing from watching my Snapchat, they sent me “To-Do Lists.”

  • Find Chance the Rapper and give him my phone number; show him the best picture of me you have
  • If you see Vic Mensa and/or Chris Brown tell him I love him
  • Send me a picture of DJ Khaled
  • Meanwhile, if you recall from last year’s show, in my mind, Maxwell and I had unfinished business (yes, this fantasy of us becoming best friends still lives on in my mind)

I made my way backstage and saw a million people and it was at that moment I decided I wanted to be in the moment and enjoy myself. My now was a crazy reality of a picture that I assure you I had never painted before, but it was EVERYTHING. Time to go.

I ran back to the dressing rooms in the Staples Center and made sure there weren’t any other touches needed before the guys came back into change. We prepped the quick change racks and moved them into the hallway just in time for everyone to come into the room and get ready. The energy was LIVE!!

Luke and Elijah were two of the first to come through the door and they were pumped. There was yelling and fist bumps and clapping and…Let’s just say the room went from a Boney James Concert to a Khaled Concert– It was lit! I don’t remember walking from the Staples Center to the Microsoft Theater, but I do remember walking the guys to the stage. Their energy was on fire and they were ready!

The crowd was anxious to see what we’d already seen to be R&B perfection and we became anxious with them anticipating that final go-round performance. Game Time!

The prayer circle broke and the light caught the sequins of the Littles’ jackets as they made their way onto the stage. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was like my kids were on stage performing in a recital; I was proud. They were KILLING IT. They ran backstage for their quick change and the Bigs took the stage. We ran behind the Littles and got them dressed. Someone on Social Media said, “dang how did they change so fast,” *blushes” #WardrobeOnPoint lol. Once the littles were dressed we rushed back to the monitors to see the Bigs tear it up. They jumped from full ensemble to Bell Biv Devoe and Johnny Gill solos (My, My, My is STILL on repeat in my head).

Once the solos ended the Bigs ran back for their quick change and we got them suited up for the grand finale. The Littles, the Bigs, and the Reals filled the stage up with New Edition Awesomeness and tore what was left of the house all the way DOWN. Their performance was hands down the best of the night and the most talked about for the nights to come. They must’ve felt it because when they came back from that stage…honeeyyyy LIT.

After we wrapped our set we had some time to, “play.” Rashante and I walked around backstage and tried to scratch off as much from the “To-Do List” as possible. Enter Maxwell Stage Left For the second year in a row Maxwell was standing next to me only further confirming that he’s one step closer to leaving being the BFF in my head to being my BFF in real life! Ok, maybe not, but we did take a dope pic and he told me he loved me. Yep, I’m taking that one and counting it as a WIN!

I think the other highlight of my night was standing behind Chance watching the monitor as they announced the best female rapper award. When Remy won he went crazy! I love watching Chance do everything he does. He’s so animated, wide-eyed, and real. He’s one of those people that you encounter and right off the back understand that they are in LOVE with life and living their best one possible.

My night ended hours after the show wrapped once we’d accounted for and bagged all of the clothing and accessories, It was a long tiring day, but one that I woke up from the next morning and wondered how I could make it happen again, and again. It didn’t hit me until Monday what I’ve done, what I’ve experienced, and what our work meant to all involved.

What happened to me was CRAZY and I’m so thankful to have been a part of it. The reality is I flew into LA from Chicago to attend the awards and didn’t even want to do that. I was a definite “no” for a very long time and moved to be on the fence even after landing. When I received the call to work I moved from being on the fence to being a definite “yes”.

No, I don’t want to attend this year, YES, let me work. I knew that was God. No one can tell me anything different. My name was brought up in a room where I wasn’t physically present. I was given a job I didn’t apply for. I was presented to a room full of strangers as a highly-skilled, self-motivated woman with a work ethic that would get her through anything. I was that woman and more–and I was her with style and grace.

I don’t know what happens next, but I do know what happens now. Now, I remind myself that what’s meant for me will always be for me and that my name and work ethic precede my steps into any room, building, or otherwise. It’s not my turn, it’s my time. Turns are earned and can be taken away, but TIME is ordained by God and created specifically for it’s intended, recipient. I received a HUGE blessing on Sunday and I’m thankful to God for calling my name and saying so sweetly, “Bry, it’s your time.”


…but, you already knew that.

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