Sunday, September 30, 2007

BET

This post has been a long time coming. In fact i find it very difficult to say because I have very mixed emotions about the topic. On the one hand the concept of a black owned and operated TV station featuring shows produced and staring black people is a good thing. On the other hand that is not what BET is. BET is owned by MTV. And as such BET is very slowly but surely turning into an all music station. And the music they play is almost all Hip Hop, Rap and R'nB. And this is where my inner conflict arises. Those are the genres of music that i like but they are also responsible for the most negative images of black people seen in the public. Once upon a time BET had some good uplifting shows like Teen Summit, Tavis Smiley, Bet News, etc... Now there original programing is 100% about making black people look like fools. I present the following examples of shows currently airing on BET.

Hot Ghetto Mess (We got to do better).

I figured I might as well start with the worst show on the network and the worst show on television period.

BET Description

WE GOT TO DO BETTER is an entertaining, tongue-in-cheek examination of the good, the bad and the ugly of Black popular culture.

Utilizing comedy, man-on-the-street interviews, video clips, pictures and music, WE GOT TO DO BETTER aims to shine a spotlight on prevalent images in pop culture and examine what role they play in American lifestyle. WE GOT TO DO BETTER goes where most shows fear to tread.


My Description

Lets go out and find the dumbest black people we can and put them on television so that every other race thinks we are idiots.

This show is based on this website HotGhettoMess After spending 10 seconds on this site you will know why i hate it. Especially if you go to the Mess of the month Section. DISGUSTING!!!


AMERICAN GANGSTER

Bet Description
AMERICAN GANGSTER chronicles the life and times of some of Black America’s most notorious crime figures. The show will explore without glorifying, and investigate without celebrating these criminal-minded men and women.

During each episode, the crimes of infamous Black figures, such as Chaz Williams, Larry Hoover and the D.C. Snipers, will be put in the context of Black history as we see how their actions both reflected and corrupted the values of their community. While exploring the lives of drug dealers, murderers and thieves, each AMERICAN GANGSTER episode will have a strong moral dimension. The Black victims of these criminals will be heard. Judgment will be passed, and amoral behavior censured. Each episode will blend news footage, photographs and interviews in a compelling, magazine-style format.


My Description

I'm tired of glorifying pretend gangsters (rappers ex. Ja Rule) so lets glorify real criminals. The people highlighted in these shows have help to destroy black communities and are all criminals and murders. I mean why would you do a show an the DC snipers. They killed multiple people.

BEEF

This is a show entirely about highlighting on going feuds between rap stars. Never mind that people have lost their lives to these feuds (Biggie, Tupac). It gets good rating and makes black people look bad so its a two for one for BET.


Honestly the only positive show on the network is Meet the Faith.
It is basically a round table discussion show talking about current events that may or may not have an effect on the black community. Usually the guest speak eloquently and can defend their positions.


All this is not to say that BET used to be great. It never was. The guy who used to own the network is responsible for producing movies like Who's Your Caddy?
So I will never give him any credit. Some will say this is the only way for black actors to get work. I say no. Take a smaller role in a more mainstream enterprise. Currently there are black actors on many of the most popular shows. All the CSI's, Law and Order, Criminal Minds, Heroes, Lost, etc... The shows i mentioned don't have all black casts and they don't need to be. The world isn't all black so i don't expect my TV shows to be. What i do want is that when a black person is in a public format that he does his best not to make a complete ASS of himself. Because more so than any other race what one of us does affects us all.

Well that's it. I will once again step off my soap box. This was a tough post to write but it needed to be said.


Next Week... Ford Canada

2 comments:

Nadeene said...

Ahh Duane...you speak so calmly about such a controversial topic. It surely is a gift to be able to do that.

I'll get right to it. Basically BET is a disgrace to the race. BET is a platform for coons to put on minstrel shows.

BET affects black people's interactions with other races in everyday life. For people who have never met a black person, BET, by broadcasting the videos and images that it broadcasts, puts stereotypes about black people into the minds of non-black people. And it's not positive stereotypes that BET broadcasts. It's negative stereotypes about black women and their sexuality (bitch/ho/big butt) and about black men and their criminality (gangster/thug/drug dealer/pimp).

Examples:

I remember a caucasian ex-coworker telling me how much she loved BET and how her favourite song was "Soul Survivor" by Young Jeezy and Akon - this was in 2006. She's like, "It's so inspirational." I'm like, "It's about drug dealing." She apparently, was drawn in by the beat and chorus where Akon sings, "Cause I'm a ridah, I'm a soul survivor." She thought this meant he could overcome life's obstacles to achieve his goals. I told her he is talking about surviving in the drug game. That was so damn funny. And Russell Simmons talks about how hip hop has done so much for race relations lol - WTF is he talking about.

Then at another job, this guy kept asking me if I know various songs by black artists. I was wondering if he thought I was some sort of DJ. Apparently, because I am black, I'm supposed to know every song by every black artist on the earth? What a jackass!

And then there are those who have never interacted with a black person before and think somehow that if you're black, you're an african american as portrayed on BET, so they try to talk to you with the african american slang and body motions. Like one time this coworker, predicated a sentence to me with nigga. I reported him and he got written up. If this idiot hadn't heard "nigga this nigga that" in songs you think he would have tried to use that word when talking to me? Hell to the naw.

Even when BET attempts to be journalistic they still come off loooking amateurish. They had a special called 'hip hop vs america' which was a panel discussion with rappers TI and Nelly, al sharpton, master p, stanley crouch , dr eric dyson etc.
The broadcast consisted mainly of TI and Nelly defending rap content and videos and saying it falls under free speech and it's not their responsibility to raise people's children, and they are just reporting the reality about inner city life and blah blah blah. The same tired arguments but I know that TI and Nelly don't still live in the ghetto but that's a separate issue. The point is they gave more air time to the proponents of hip hop than to the opponents of some hip hop. It wasn't a balanced broadcast of both sides of the issues. The station is just pathetic - they can't even have a panel discussion like a normal TV station. As for TI and Nelly, they are both very ignorant negroes. Basically, you can take the negro out of the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto, you know the rest... :) Their points of view and those of all rappers who originate from negative environments will never ever change so hip hop will always be as grimy as it is now. They've had some hits which were good for their beats and choruses but they are both lacking on content. I personally like Common's Finding Forever album - outstanding beats and lyrics.

About the programming on BET:
I don't watch videos anymore - waste of time - too busy with life - poor content.

I do watch meet the faith - I LOVE this show - I love the doctor moderator guy because he started the 50 million pound challenge to get people in shape and he is also the doctor on celeb fit club. The topics are interesting and the points of view are balanced. The problem with the show is that it is way too short - 30 minutes on a sunday. And the commercial breaks are way too long - so you know the net length is like 20 minutes. This show should be an hour with no breaks. I mean 1 hour out of 168 is not too much to ask. 1 hour of good stuff and 167 hours of dubious stuff - that's BET's schedule.

I'm torn when it comes to American Gangster - I know I shouldn't like it or watch it but I do. I grew up sheltered and it's intriguing to hear about these criminals and their exploits. I tell Duane that I watch it so I can be street smart. :) I do find though that they GLORIFY THE CRIMINALS. That's the problem. Since most of the shows are about drug dealing, the conclusion at the end of the show should explicity state that "drug dealing is wrong. It kills people and it destroys families. It is indirect murder. Money from this enterprise is ill-gotten gains and you will lose it all paying your lawyers when you catch cases. You can also lose your life." But they never do that. They never explicity condemn the criminal acts and that's the problem. I'm grown so I know right from wrong but some 13 year old watching this with no parental guidance might think maybe I can get lucky and make a mill dealing like this criminal.

Beef - for some reason I like this one - feuds are fun to watch. I have none in my life so maybe it's fun to watch others feud. As long as no one dies then it can't be that bad right? I know I shouldn't like this show but it's a guilty pleasure. I also like diss records - I just think they're hilarious.

The Black Carpet - This is like the TV version of the contents of my fave celeb gossip blog i.e. concrete loop. I like the 2 hosts - they seem educated and well spoken. What I don't like is ghetto Toccara who hosts segments of the show - she is so damn ghetto it's sickening - she can't speak properly and is just terrible. Ugh. But overall I like hearing and seeing the black celeb gossip and happenings.

I regularly watch Meet The Faith and Black Carpet. I did watch American Gangster and Beef when they were on. I don't watch anything else on this station.

Even when BET broadcasts a movie, it always has to be about some criminal who got caught up and went to jail. Does every movie have to be Boyz in the Hood or Menace to Society? According to BET yes. I guess they think that these movies accurately reflect the African American experience but I argue that this is not the case. This may be the experience of a segment of the population but not everyone. If only they could find a balance. Give people who are in dire straits something to dream of. What if they created shows like The Cosby Show or Fresh Prince - at least those were positive.

BET overall is bad and will be under parental control (password needed) on my cable when I have kids in the future.

--Todd said...

That was a lot calmer and level headed then you lead us to believe it would be. It's unfortunate that BET thinks this is good programming but then again it probably doesn't, it just knows that it gets ratings and that's pretty much all it cares about. Reminds me of a south park episode.