For those of you keeping up with Debra Lee's House Party, we have a report from the folks at enough is enough. I can't wait for the video. Next Saturday, the 29th of September, they are busing folks in from New York. Poor Pastor Coates wasted his good time meeting with Debra Lee this week. As I predicted, she blew him off and was unapologetic. THAT is why I don't even bother talking with entertainment companies. Take it straight to the folks subsidizing it. Pastor Coates, try SC Johnson or Yum Brands. I betcha she'll maybe listen to them.
What About Our Daughters,
Today's rally was another success! Once again, 500 people gathered outside the home of Debra Lee to protest the offensive programming on BET. We will try to get video footage up as soon as possible. We were joined this week by Activist Dick Gregory who spoke to the crowd. At the rally, Rev. Coates announced that the Enough Is Enough Campaign is having a rally outside of the House sub-committee hearing on Hip Hop on Tuesday, September 25 beginning at 9AM outside of the Rayburn building on Capitol Hill. Rev. Coates also mentioned that he was invited to speak at the FCC hearing on Media Ownership in Chicago on Thursday, September 20. At the FCC hearing, Rev. Coates shared his view that there are millions of African-Americans who are deeply disturbed by the language, lyrics, and images of African-Americans that are aired on networks like Black Entertainment Television, MTV, and on many urban hip-hop radio stations around the country. He urged the commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission to do more to regulate offensive content on urban radio by fining urban radio stations that air offensive lyrical content. Additionally, Rev. Coates stated that consumers should not be forced to pay for cable channels they do not want and that they find offensive. He urged the FCC commissioners to give consumers the ability to choose they networks they desire. This is the only way broadcasters like BET will be more accountable to their consumers.
Rev. Coates concluded today's rally by stating that he met with Debra Lee and two members of her staff on Friday, September 21 at the office of BET. During the one hour meeting, Ms. Lee referred to the network's "new original programming" as an sign of the network's growth and evolution, and her view that the network is working with artists, record companies, and its audience to address concerns about the images in some of the videos. Rev. Coates shared with Ms. Lee that "new programming is not the same as new content," and that the Enough Is Enough Campaign is opposed to content that degrades black women, promotes violence against women, and negatively caricatures black men as gangsters, pimps, and thugs. While the meeting was cordial, there was no agreement or commitment to eliminate the content that degrades women and stereotypes black men. Ms. Lee also defended the airing of the word "s@#t" on Black Entertainment Television during broadcasts of The Wire. According to Ms. Lee, offensive content is a subjective matter, and that what one person finds offensive, another person may regard as entertainment. Ms. Lee and her staff stated that they conduct research and focus groups to determine the interests of their audience (which she reiterated is 18-34 year olds), and that BET merely plays the videos for music that sells. Despite Rev. Coates' assertion to the contrary, Ms. Lee stood by the statement in her September 12th letter to Rev. Coates that BET "does not air programming that endorses or condones illegal drugs or gratuitous violence," and that BET does "not air music videos that contain graphic or excessive sexual activity or violence." The meeting concluded with Rev. Coates telling Ms. Lee that he would be meeting with the FCC chairman to express his concerns about the content on television networks like BET and radio stations that air content offensive to African-Americans. Rev. Coates stated that he would be continuing his campaign and his weekly rallies outside Ms. Lee's residence until there is change.
The failure of media outlets like BET to be responsive to their audience makes a stronger case for the need for cable choice. As long as BET gets paids whether African-Americans watch or not, they have no incentive for being accountable to their audience. It is not until millions of African-Americans can opt out of including BET in their cable packages that things will change.
We want people to join us next Saturday, September 29 at 1PM, outside the home of Debra. We have at least one bus coming down from New York City to join in next Saturday's rally. Go to our website: www.enoughisenoughcampaign.com to stay informed.
Enough Is Enough
see NPR interview of Rev. Coates from Friday, September 21, 2007.
Oh this OUGHT to be interesting next week. Don't forget moi will be live blogging from The Hill on Tuesday.