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Thursday, July 12, 2007

When Did You Give Up On BET? -- Reggie Hudlin is Still Unrepentant (I'm Shocked!)

"There's this presumption that BET has ill intent…. Nothing could be further from the truth." Reginald Hudlin, BET President.
Why on EARTH would we not trust BET to do the right thing? I mean we must have all been making the past 10 to 12 years up in our heads. Why on earth would we think that BET has ill intent when its producers have been running all over the internet encouraging people to go looking for the most embarrassing African Americans that they could find:

I’m a producer for a new comedy television show airing on the BET network, “Hot Ghetto Mess.” The show is all about wild, sensational, and outrageous clips and culture in the black community with an angle on humor. We are currently licensing original footage and I am seeking footage of black lowriders and their vehicles. The more bling and crazy the better. I am also looking for the super ghetto stuff, like a dude with $10,000 spinners on a Yugo, & funny stuff: cars getting thrashed, super ghetto car girls, crashes, mishaps, etc all about black culture…( SOURCE)

Why on EARTH would we not trust you when your own site says you'll be exploring "shaking booties, thug life, baby-mama drama and pimped-out high schoolers. Your own site says "'Hot Ghetto Mess' is like the traffic accident you can’t look away from. Viewers will laugh." Why should we distrust you when you have licensed a clip like this abomination to air on your show?

Yeah, we're being irrational to believe that you have ill intent.

A better question is why on earth MR. Hudlin thinks that BET is worthy of Black America's trust? WE didn't leave BET. BET LEFT US!

I used to love Donnie Simpson( I did. I did ). I even got used to Sherry Carter. I miss Video Soul something awful. BET was our space. The BET Christmas specials were must-see TV. I remember Our Voices ( Bev Smith?) and Teen Summit. Occasionally I used to catch Tavis Smiley and Ed Gordon. DO Y'all remember Cheryl Martin? Ananda? I remember being excited to see the latest African American artist be interviewed , back when you couldn't see these people ANYWHERE. Or if you did see them on a mainstream show, they would get a segment, but on BET, they would get an entire show. I remember the shows where Luther and Whitney (the old version) and Boyz II Men ( the old version) used to stop by and hang out for the WHOLE SHOW. Take a stroll down memory lane courtesy of YouTube.

We were family! Then BET chucked them all and ushered in an era dominated by violent, pro-drug, pro-pimp, pro-crime, anti-woman, anti-education music videos. Now some would say that BET was just following popular culture. I say BET chose sides and decided to drive one vs. the other. Instead of celebrating the very best we had to offer, they placed laser-like focus on the most ridiculous.

BET could have drawn a line in the sand. How many of you remember back in the day when all the music videos had big blurs in them everywhere covering the logos that the artist would wear? MTV and BET would blur out logos, drugs, and guns. At first the blurs were EVERYWHERE. Now you rarely see them because artists have figured out that if they don't want a blur all over their video, then they need to leave that stuff out. BET wasn't powerless as its programming lineup became full of foolishness ( or in the words of BET executives unintelligent).

But the unpardonable sin as far as I am concerned, the final act that made me walk away from BET for all eternity was BET's Uncut. "Uncut" was a cosmic wound. I can still remember the first time I saw Uncut. Only someone who truly HATED and despised Black women would put that on the air ( FOR SIX YEARS) and then DEFEND it repeatedly. ( Looking at YOU! Debbie Lee). Wow, was that "Black Star Power?"

So yes, Mr. Hudlin, we DONT TRUST BET! BET is not worthy of our trust. The fact that you seemed upset that many African Americans wouldn't trust you to do the right thing just demonstrates that the culture of arrogance that brought us "Uncut" still reigns at Black Entertainment Television.

If you truly believe that Hot Ghetto Mess is such a public service and you aren't just launching a publicity stunt to try to lure viewers from VH1's terrible trio, then air Hot Ghetto Mess without commercial interruption as a public service. Then host a public forum after the show airs to allow people to discuss what they just viewed. I DARE YOU! Better yet, relinquish the name BET and rename the network something that doesn't associate it with a particular group of people. We don't want to claim or be claimed by you.

If you want to rebut the presumption of ill intent, make a goodwill gesture FIRST. Stop acting bewildered as to why we MIGHT have a problem with something called Hot Ghetto Mess. You graduated from Harvard, you aren't THAT clueless.

For those of you who gave up on BET long ago, what was the final straw that made you start zooming past BET with your cable remote?

We haven't done a Featured Activism of the Day post in a minute. Check out "AIDS is a Global Independence Struggle for Black Women: Gender Matters" from the Black Agenda Report.