"Another woman has been arrested and thrown in jail because she refused to get up out of her seat on the bus for a white person to sit down. It is the second time since the Claudette Colvin case that a Negro woman has been arrested for the same thing. This has to be stopped. Negroes have rights too, for if Negroes did not ride the buses, they could not operate. Three-fourths of the riders are Negro, yet we are arrested, or have to stand over empty seats. If we do not do something to stop these arrests, they will continue. The next time it may be you, or your daughter, or mother. This woman's case will come up on Monday. We are, therefore, asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial. Don't ride the buses to work, to town, to school, or anywhere on Monday. You can afford to stay out of school for one day if you have no other way to go except by bus. You can also afford to stay out of town for one day. If you work, take a cab, or walk. But please, children and grown-ups, don't ride the bus at all on Monday. Please stay off all buses Monday."Flyer from the Women's Political Council on the Eve of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
I've been silent on the whole "Read a Book" Brouhaha, but I have been aware of it from the beginning. As you can imagine from my dealings with THAT NETWORK about THAT SHOW. My inbox has now become the repository for every bad act committed by THAT NETWORK. I get instant updates on a never ending basis. Don't stop sending them, just realize you are not the only one.
Quite frankly, after spending the entire month of July living and breathing all things BET I was tired of talking about them and heck I am sure some of you were tired of me talking about them too. So I actually wanted a six month BET break where I basically ignored them until January or so. However, one of my guest editors asked a question in her Monday post here on WAOD and on Why Black Women Are Angry. She asked if we can do anything to protect our children from BET? The answer is YES, but how many of you are willing to go THERE? Before I go into what you would have to do, let me explain WHY you ought to do it.
There is "Satire" and then there is " JUST TIRED"
Folks have been comparing Bill Cosby to BET all summer long. As you know, the theme of BET's new original slate of programming is "We have to Teach Black Folks!" So we've had a slew of shows that BET has purportedly offered up as "social commentary."
I get satire. I love satire. I engage in satire on a regular basis on this blog. (See the Devil's Response to Bishop Thomas Weeks). As much as I love satire, I know that the messenger is just as important as the message and the context is just as important as the content.
Now when evaluating the whole "Read A Book" episode, ignore why the original artist created it ( he by the way did not do the ANIMATION!). The real question is WHY BET decided to distribute it in the manner that they did. You can't ignore BET's track record when analyzing what THAT NETWORK puts out. Throughout history, well meaning men, good men and women with something important to say or who have made great discoveries have had their work hijacked for nefarious purposes.
So to the folks who are buying BET's attempts to hide behind Bill Cosby's coattails, I ask you to consider the source and their body of work. ( Yes, I am aware of Cosby's "issues"- another post folks. Another Post)
Bill Cosby - "I Spy"
BET - "Cita's World"
Bill Cosby - "The Cosby Show"
BET- "BET Uncut"
Bill Cosby - "A Different World"
BET - "College Hill"
Bill Cosby - "Cosby"
BET - "Hot Ghetto Mess"
Bill Cosby- $20 Million to Morehouse
Bob Johnson - Produced "Who's Your Caddy"
Bill Cosby - "Little Bill"
BET- "Read A m$*&^#*ing Book!"
In the words of Sesame Street, "one of these two things does not belong!" BET isn't interested in TEACHING Black America a dayum thing. the same woman-hating, elitist, sociopaths that brought us BET Uncut unappologetically for SIX YEARS are still there. This latest scam of cranking out their same garbage under the guise of "learnin' the ignant Blak folk sum nawlege" is pure subterfuge ( I learned that word and a bunch of others from watching "A Different World!").
I share with many of you a great deal of distress at the behavior of many within the African American community. I too want to address the foolishness and ridiculousness, but please don't assume that because I am not falling for BET's latest scam to try to wipe the dirt from their hands that I don't see that Black folks have some SERIOUS issues.
Let's stop playing games here. Imma make it plain. BET. HATES. BLACK. PEOPLE!
BET's executive leadership HATES BLACK PEOPLE. Harsh, but true. Unlike Bob Johnson who was your garden variety multimedia crack dealer and was merely exploiting Black folks because there was money to be made, this current crew is motivated by a WHOLE OTHER beast all together. They really do think you are stupid. They think your children are stupid too and they have told you so about a dozen times, this summer alone, but for some reason folks aren't hearing them. So excuse me for scoffing when a network that thinks you and your children are stupid and that cranks out soft porn in the afternoon while you are at work claims to be the least bit concerned for the welfare of your family.
Isn't the entire tone of this year's original programming line up that BET has to "TEACH" the "ig'nant" Black folks! Go back and review their comments. I didn't have a problem with THAT SHOW's purported intent, I had a problem with the fact that BET's executive leadership was trying to hide behind "teaching Black America a lesson" in order to indulge in their hatred and contempt for working class Black people. That entire argument was preposterous considering the foolishness they were continuing to air in their afternoon line up. Again, it is like a crack dealer running a rehab center.... out of the back of the crack house.
The intent of the messenger sometimes is MORE important than the message. You see Bob Johnson admitted that he was a multimedia crack dealer and was in it for the paper and nothing but the paper, but this new crew, their M.O. is to try to hide behind giving Black folks "a book learning" while engaging in their fantasies that working class Black folks are stupid and Black women are animals put here for their own entertainment. Am I the only one that has picked up on that?
So let's be clear. Debra Lee... Hates Black people, Black women in particular. Reginald Hudlin... Black people hater, middle and working class Black people in particular. Stephen Hill..Hates Black people. Now all executives at BET might not HATE Black folks, but they are indifferent and that is just as bad. If they were not indifferent, they would not work there in the same way that I am not going to ever do work that violates my core principals and beliefs.
The Klan believes you and your children are inferior. Debra Lee and her executive team believe you and your children are inferior and stupid. Did I mention they think Black folks are stupid? While Debra Lee would not dirty her hands to drag you out of your home and hang you from a tree( I HOPE), Debbie would drive by the tree you and your kids are hanging from and keep going on her way to the country club. Then she would let Regional Hudlin turn the story of your tragic death into a cartoon with a catchy beat, after all, that's the only way "weeze ig'nant BAMAs can get a book learnin.'"
Don't misunderstand me when I say this because I am definitely pro education. However, trust that there are Black people who believe that other Black people are inferior to them in every way. They think we're stupid "Bamas." They think we are a poor reflection on them and in the same way that White racists want us gone, they would be more than happy if we "undesirable" Black folk dropped dead, yesterday so they "wouldn't look bad" to the majority population. That is why they don't have any problem throwing you and your children overboard so they can get a good laugh and a few more pieces of silver in their pockets. So what if your children die, drop out of school, get knocked up or locked up. BET has been planting tiny burning crosses on our front lawns. Right in front of our children and WE LET THEM DO IT!
Let's review the record shall we:
- BET Execs reject video as "too intelligent for our audience."
- BET Airs BET Uncut; promoting violence against Black women and taking the degradation and objectification of Black women to new cable television lows.
- Reginald Hudlin says that the only way the BET audience can absorb a socially relevant message is through laughter, rhythm, and humiliation.
- BET offers up "Read a Book" again, under the guise that the BAMAS can only absorb information encapsulated within rhythm, laughter, and humiliation and it is a bonus if they can laugh at the exaggerated anatomy of Black women in the process. THAT is just GRAVY to the folks that brought us BET Uncut.
Protestation is Relatively Futile
BET doesn't care about our protests and boycott threats. The only reason they changed the name of THAT SHOW was sheer embarrassment and the fact that white executives had to intervene on behalf of Black people. If Black people complain, we are just being ignorant incorrigible BAMAS. But if a white executive picks up the phone and tears their "multimedia ad agency" a new one, then people at BET start to move. Thank God for executives with common sense at these consumer goods companies. Currently, they are our only defense against Viacom and its gutter bucket stepchild, BET.
So in your quest to undo the damage BET is inflicting, you will find no comfort from within the BET organization or its overseer Viacom. They hate you and your kids so appealing to any "moral conscience " is futile. The only way to reign them in is the almighty dollar. Unfortunately due to the current business structure of the cable television industry, targeting advertisers can only do so much
Viacom Cable networks, BET in particular, only derive a small portion of their revenue from advertisers. So while losing advertisers is embarrassing and costs money, if BET lost all of its advertisers, it could still function with ease.
Your Only Real Choice -381 DAYS Without Cable
Did you know that the first group to call for a boycott of the Montgomery bus system in 1955 was a group of women? They didn't have the internet. They had a mimeograph machine and handed out fliers. This was back in the day before the NAACP was more interested in banquets and conventions than it is in social justice. For 381 days, the folks in Montgomery hoofed it, car pooled and cabbed it. Have you had enough form Viacom and BET?
Those of you who are tired of BET and tired of VH1, you have a really simple choice; GIVE UP CABLE and SATELLITE completely! For 381 days Every month when you send in the money for the cable bill, a portion of your money goes to fund BET and VH1... WHETHER YOU WATCH THEM OR NOT!
GASP! But. But. Whatever will we do without cable? Read a book! hahaha No, for real, they are called "rabbit ears". You plug them into a jack in the back of your TV and viola, you have TV. But. But. But I live in a building with brick walls, I don't get good reception... hmmm that is a tough one, NOT! That would mean that you might have to make the grand sacrifice of not watching TV. Trust me, you will survive, Black American may not survive, however, if we don't draw a line somewhere in the sand.
When you call your cable company, let them know why you canceled. Tell them you are tired of BET pumping hate messages into your home. Tell them you are tired of VH1 burning a cross on your front lawn. Tell them that without the ability to choose which cable stations enter your home, you have made the choice not to let any enter your home.
Trust me. As someone who has NEVER paid for cable television a day in her life, you can survive without it. Anything noteworthy is on YouTube. Any show that is worth watching comes out on DVD or again, is on YouTube. Most networks offer their shows online. You can get most of the cable news stations on a broadband stream. So you don't miss anything and if something becomes watercooler fodder, chances are, they offer the episode or relevant portion online OR you can go over to a friend's house to watch it. Or better yet, just read the detailed recaps on a site like Television Without Pity. The recaps are often more entertaining than the actual show. Join the gym, take a class, meditate. Discover what life might be like if you threw a brick through your TV.
They don't call me "her royal cheapness" for nothing. With that $70 a month that you are not spending on cable, open up a ShareBuilder, MyStockFund, or high interest internet savings account like ING. In 382 days You'll have over a grand under any of those scenarios assuming the stock market does not crash into oblivion.
It isn't enough that you do this as an individual. We have to do this as a community. This means bringing it up to your pastor. Point out the role of the church in the Montgomery bus boycott. This means letting your friends know and your coworkers and involving your local community groups. This means picking a Saturday to go chill outside of the local cable company headquarters with a few friends and invite the local news to observe. Connect with your local organizations. Organizations that can't be bought off by Viacom for 14 Million dollars or paid off by the Universal Music Group with a $15,000 table at a banquet.
I'm just throwing it out there. I am crazy enough to believe after all the stuff we've done this year that we might actually be able to pull this off.
Read "Why I Canceled My Cable" from Mes Deaux Cents. Speak on it!