Jun 27, 2019
By Kelby Clark
Hopefuls showed up to the Los Angeles Convention Center as early at 3 a.m. for the chance to perform for BET executives.
It’s a familiar scene for anyone that’s watched a talent competition on television. The hope, excitement, nerves, and (sometimes) desperation that pours from performers as they ready themselves to prove their star quality to strangers.
It’s also a familiar scene for anyone who’s attended the BET Experience in the last three years, as the BETX Open Casting Call has become an attraction for talent and fans. During the event, entertainers of all stripes—actors, singers, dancers, comedians—can perform in front of Emmy award-winning casting director, Robi Reed and her team of talent experts for up to one minute. The potential opportunity: a role in an upcoming BET show.
“When I was first asked to do something like this at the BET Experience, my one condition was that it was never a gimmick. It had to be real,” says Robi Reed, original programming’s VP of talent and casting at BET. “Being able to meet new talent and actually be able to book and hire them keeps me going.”
Reed said that she recognized some of this year’s talent pool of more than 500 performers from previous years. “It’s always great to have that kind of drive, enthusiasm, and determination,” she says. “It was a great turnout.”
Viacom spoke with a few of this year’s hopefuls as they waited for their turn to take the stage.