The "Beef" with BET

I have my own gripes with BET:
  • The excess of weak and pointless reality shows.
  • The lack of support for less mainstream artists.
  • The discontinuation of consistent BET News.
  • Rocsi.
However, I've continued to watch the programming that I can stand in an effort to support the network, mainly because there are still a lack of shows on other channels that represent the African American community. Black shows come and go. With the exception of "The Game," I honestly can't name a show with a majority African American cast (and I'm still not clear on the rumors that it's been canceled).

BET has boasted some pretty good series. The problem is the lack of consistency. BET sticks to a simple formula. BET = Mainstream Urban Radio + Visuals. Like radio, BET strives to appeal to its non-diverse audience. It's up to the audience to demand better programming, more shine for worthy artists and to actually tune in when they play it. The fact remains, when BET does play shows and specials that aren't based on absolute Stepit Fetchitism and Mantanery, I have a hunch that the regular viewers tune out.

Just like we demand of Hip Hop for instance, BET owes us balance. Fussing, fighting, fucking, and being excessively materialistic are all pieces of American culture. No one is asking for BET to shy away from reality. However, when all of these vices become the ultimate and only portrayal, BET's reality becomes BET's minstrel show. Where are the intelligent business women and men, the fine artists, the writers, the activists, teachers, etc. in the big scheme of things?

I started this post to touch on the BET Awards and the complaints about their Michael Jackson tributes throughout the show. I'm gonna keep that issue short. I actually think that BET did a pretty decent job of pulling things together in a matter of three days: The Ciara and Neyo solos. The Jamie Foxx routine. The Janet appearance. I won't complain.

I will, however, urge BET to raise the bar. The network is [unfortunately] our representation for the outside world. In spite of our beautiful black president and the multitude of talented artists, politicians and regular working folks who defy negative stereotypes on a daily basis, people continue to watch BET with hopes of understanding our culture. Be accountable and responsible.

Thank you.

3 Engage in Discourse:

4 Da People said...

nice commentary I see you too the high road... im just frustrated overall and BET is at the hight of that displeasure and last night was the "cherry on top"

Anonymous said...

No one says it better.

Doc Tate said...

I agree totally. It takes a big person to take the "high road" like you did. I personally would've used more curse words in my color commentary for not just "the culmination of what's wrong with the network" (aka the awards) but for the network as a whole. But considering the fact that I distinctly remember sitting in Seidman & watching the station all day & getting nothing but video shows & comic view, I will say they've upgraded since then.

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