Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who will "save" BET?

So here is my question of the day: what do you think is the cultural responsibility of black people towards BET? I know we always say that BET should be doing better to represent black people, but how many black people do you know who watch BET anyway? There seems to be a sense of pride amongst “educated” black people to shun BET, but then how are we supposed to improve the network if we ourselves won’t watch it?

Allow me to back track – so I follow the CW TV show The Game on twitter, and recently they tweeted the following:

The CW is a Network like NBC, CBS, & ABC. We want it to stay on The CW. BET is not a viable option at this point as it would be a step back.

Now I couldn’t do the ratings math, but from what I understand, outside of their reality programming CW isn’t that successful. I mean, Gossip Girl is a pop culture phenomenon, but not necessarily a ratings boon for CW as they would hope.

I know I've come down on BET before, but would moving to BET be the worse stigma in the world for The Game? I’m willing to bet people like Diddy and Rev Run DID NOT want their shows on BET, not only given the network’s poor reputation amongst the black upper class, but also because it wouldn’t help them “cross over” which is every famous black person’s dream.

But what about helping BET cross over? If we don’t provide programming for our black network, who will? Couldn’t Diddy have “taken one for the team” and put a show on BET in the hopes that it would attract some of his non-black fans and eventually help BET “cross over” into a network that happens to feature black people more so than others, but anyone could watch? Wouldn’t that be more of a racialWIN than all black people trying to fight tooth and nail to get their two cents accepted by the majority networks/institutions/establishments?

It kind of reminds me how the Civil Rights movement helped end segregation (yay!) but consequently also helped shutter a lot of black owned businesses (boo!). Isn’t this just another case of “white is right"? Or is BET just a network for the black "lower class", in which case upper class snobs should butt out and let the people enjoy their tv?


  1. This a deep well to dip into. I know we all miss the planet groove/teen summit days but I believe the best route is incorporating more Blacks and Latinos into regular scheduled programming on all network shows. We got a responsibility to make more of a stink in this regard. You made valid points and I don't think BET wants to cross over due to its ownership. The creator didn't see it's value and potential, why should we?

  2. But BET's owned by Viacom. Any more money they can get the better.

    I feel you on fighting for minorities on mainstream shows, but it's kind of an uphill battle. I rather we develop our own construct, show the viability, and then hopefully others realize just because a show has black people on it doesn't make it exclusively for blacks.



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