Aug 27

The History of BET

Black Entertainment Television (BET), headquartered in Washington, D.C. and currently operates under the VIACOM umbrella.   With more than 90 million homes watching worldwide, it is the well-known station targeting African-American viewers.  It is also a leading provider of black American cultural and entertainment based programming, both of original creations, acquired properties and musical presentations.

After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry, Freeport, Illinois native Robert L. Johnson decided to launch his own cable television network. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000, and earned a $500,000 investment from media executive John Malone to start the network.[3] The network, which was named Black Entertainment Television, launched on January 25, 1980.[4] Initially broadcasting for two hours a week as a block of programming on Nickelodeon (it would not be until 1983 that BET became a full-fledged channel), the network’s lineup consisted of music videos and reruns of popular black sitcoms.  (from Wikipedia)

BET has gained popularity with its’ vast black audience, but has faced a number of major African Americans critics such as syndicated columnist George Curry, cartoonist and television producer Aaron McGruder, movie director  and producer Spike Lee, and former Syracuse University professor Boyce Watkins. These critics and others denounced BET’s programming, claiming it promoted sexism and anti-intellectualism.

They also argued that showing rap and hip hop-oriented programming along with comedy programs either intentionally or inadvertently promoted anti-black stereotypes. BET founder Richard Johnson and Viacom executives claimed they were providing the programming the market demanded. In 2008 a number of prominent black ministers (“Enough is Enough”) publicly protested BET programming choices outside the network’s headquarters.

Enough is Enough supported a 2008 report “The Rap on Rap” by the Parents Television Council that argued that BET’s rap programming, which they believed contained gratuitous sexual, violent and profane content, was targeting children and teens.

The controversy continued in 2010, when BET co-founder Sheila Johnson said she is “ashamed” of what the network has become. “I don’t watch it. I suggest to my kids that they don’t watch it,” she said. “When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news.

The criticism has not impacted the growth and acceptance of BET and the various shows and programs they have created.  In 2013, it is reported that 79.82% of households with television receive the BET network.  However, there is no information available as to what percentage of those households chose to get the network, or receive the network as part of a larger cable package.

According to the sales material, “BET provides contemporary entertainment that speaks to young Black adults from an authentic, unapologetic viewpoint of the Black experience. BET connects with its target audience in a way no other media outlet can providing hit music, entertainment and news programming that is reflective of their experiences.  Our outstanding mega-specials keep viewers regularly tuned in for the latest and greatest in Black entertainment.”

Oct 21

Late Jay And Kanye: Did All of us See This Coming?

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Oct 20

Dark Mirror season 3 on Netflix: How to watch the six new sinister episodes – The Impartial

The Independent

Black Reflection season 3 on Netflix: Learn how to watch the six new menacing episodes
The Independent
Black Mirror makes the jump from Channel 4 in order to Netflix today (21 October) with six new episodes from Steve Brooker and, this time, a host of Hollywood acting and directing talent. We' ve seen all six and may safely say you' re in for a treat, with each
TV' s “Great Indoors, ” “ Black Mirror' lampoon online pressures mySanAntonio. com
Black Mirror' s ' Playtest' Brings Fear to Life The Atlantic
The Best Way to Watch Black Mirror Is to Understand As Little About It as Possible Daily Register
Esquire. com   – UPI. possuindo   – Mashable
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Oct 18

AMC Networks could claim controlling stake in Robert L. Johnson’s movie firm – Washington Post

Robert L. Johnson, the pioneering founder of Black Entertainment Television, faces the prospect of giving up control of RLJ Entertainment, a new-media company he started four years ago in Silver Spring, Md.

A loan deal announced Monday with AMC Networks, struck in part to help pay down RLJ Entertainment’s debts, gives the movie network an option to take a 50.1 percent stake in RLJ Entertainment.

AMC chief executive Josh Sapan said his company is working with RLJ out of a desire to bring creative content to the online space.

“Bob [Johnson] has been able to marry technology with content and a sort of media vision, and with something that touches on the social fabric in a very meaningful way,” he said.

Johnson became the country’s first African American billionaire after BET was sold to Viacom in 2001. In the years since his cable TV heyday, Johnson has invested in a variety of businesses, including a real estate firm focused on hotels, a car dealership and the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Bobcats, which he bought for $300 million and sold seven years later for $275 million.

In 2012, he founded RLJ Entertainment by merging two media companies and taking them ­public.

The company scooped up a majority stake in Agatha Christie’s literary estate, and it used the murder mystery classics to form the bedrock of a $4.99-a-month paid content YouTube channel aimed at British audiences.

In 2013, the company launched a paid-content YouTube channel called OnCue, which it hoped would capture African American audiences the way BET had built a following on cable TV. OnCue moved to its own website, called Urban Movie Channel, within two years of its debut.

Johnson compared AMC’s involvement with that of John Malone’s, a media magnate whose early investment enabled the growth of BET in 1979.

“Never in the history of content has there ever been an urban-oriented streaming content service where the consumers decide what they want to see by making a subscription payment; it’s not up to the network or the advertisers,” he said.

Johnson said the early performance of the streaming service is similar to what he saw in BET’s early days. But that doesn’t mean the business has been easy.

The company ran a net loss of $13.6 million on $33.5 million of revenue in the six-month period ending June 30, and reported that it owed creditors $61 million.

Some debts apparently included royalty payments due to Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, who produced “Dark Girls,” a documentary examining “color-ism within our own community,” referring to the bias against darker skin within black communities.

Their attorney, Rachel Stilwell, provided a legal document claiming that RLJ Entertainment defaulted on $7,286 worth of royalty ­payments.

In an interview, Johnson said much of the company’s debt was carried over from its acquisition of Image Entertainment four years ago, and suggested that the $63 million loan from AMC would be used to settle those obligations.

“Will they get paid? Absolutely so,” Johnson said of the royalties, “but more importantly I expect many of these companies will be working with us as we move ­forward.”

Oct 18

Omarion and Apryl’s Adorable Kids Will Make Your Day

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Oct 17

AMC Networks Invests $65 Million in Firm Backed by BET Founder … – Bloomberg

AMC Networks Inc. is investing $65 million in RLJ Entertainment, a company backed by the founder of Black Entertainment Television, creating a partnership aimed at reaching two niche audiences — African-American viewers and fans of British programming — with online video services.

AMC, best known for the U.S. cable channel that airs “The Walking Dead,” also operates BBC America through a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, and owns WE tv, a network popular with black viewers. RLJ Entertainment owns two streaming video services: Acorn TV, which broadcasts British mysteries and dramas, and Urban Movie Channel, which is geared to African-Americans. AMC will provide money and resources to RLJ Entertainment and look for ways the two companies can work together.

“The asset base is quite complementary,” AMC Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan said in an interview.

RLJ surged as much as 40 percent at the open Monday in New York. It was up 15 percent to $2.30 at 12:15 p.m. The shares had gained 15 percent this year through Friday. AMC shares, down 34 percent this year, rose 1.5 percent to $49.30 Monday.

Sapan added that AMC is looking to expand its business of providing shows and movies to viewers over the internet, an area of growth as the U.S. pay-TV industry declines.

‘Attractive Technology’

Dozens of online subscription video services have cropped up in the past few years, mostly seeking to find paying monthly subscribers by streaming shows and movies for niche audiences. AMC, for instance, offers paid streaming services like Doc Club, which is focused on documentaries, and Shudder, which is for horror-movie fans.

“Streaming is an attractive technology,” Sapan said. “We would like to be in it further.” He added that RLJ Entertainment has become a “leader in dedicated niche streaming services.” Acorn TV, launched in 2011, has more than 370,000 subscribers.

AMC wants to diversify its business as the U.S. pay-TV industry faces threats from cord-cutters dropping cable subscriptions for cheaper online options like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. AMC is producing more original series so it can own the rights and profit from selling those shows overseas. It also expanded its presence to about 140 countries by buying Liberty Global Plc’s Chellomedia for about $1 billion in 2013.

AMC’s investment comes in the form of loans. It will have the option to buy 50.1 percent of RLJ Entertainment at a later date at a price of $3 per share.

Premium Channels

RLJ’s chairman is Robert L. Johnson, the first black billionaire in the U.S. and the founder of Black Entertainment Television. Johnson sold BET Holdings LLC to Viacom Inc. in 2001 for $2.35 billion. He said African Americans are “heavy consumers” of entertainment, and often subscribe to pay-TV services and premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime.

“You’re looking at close to $1 billion to $2 billion in money spent on those pay services,” Johnson said in an interview. “Imagine what can happen if we deliver compelling content at a lower price [than HBO and Showtime] but higher value because it’s targeted directly to their interests.”

Johnson said he was “concerned about the role of diversity in content” and that the AMC partnership will “open up more doors” for minorities in the entertainment business.

Black viewers ordered and watched the most cable channels among all races, according to Nielsen data based on May 2016 viewing habits. Black adults also spend more hours watching TV each week, almost 48, than other groups and watched more online video than the rest of the population, Nielsen found.

Purchasing power was about $1.2 trillion last year for black Americans, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. Total U.S. disposal income last year was $13.5 trillion, according to the Selig Center.

AMC is the latest traditional TV programmer to bet on digital media. In June, Walt Disney Co. agreed to buy a one-third stake in the video-streaming unit of MLB Advanced Media. On Oct. 13, Discovery Communications Inc., home of the TLC and Animal Planet cable networks, invested $100 million in a new digital media holding company. In the past two years, Comcast Corp. invested $200 million in BuzzFeed and Vox Media, while Time Warner Inc. led a $45 million investment in online publisher Refinery29 and a $15 million funding round for the news website Mashable.

Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE

Oct 14

Dreamville’s New Signee Ari Lennox Shares Debut Visuals

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Oct 14

Really lonely in the Black 1% : Oct. 14, 2016 – CNN Money – CNNMoney


It' s lonely in the Black 1% – Oct. 14, 2016 – CNN Cash
It' s unhappy at the top and for the less than 2% of the Top 1% in America that are black, it' s especially therefore. We speak with some of the richest dark Americans about …

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Oct 12

Gabrielle Union sues BET, claims ‘Mary Jane’ contract breach – Charlotte Observer

Gabrielle Union is suing Black Entertainment Television, alleging the cable network wants to combine the fourth and fifth seasons of her series “Being Mary Jane” into a single season of 20 episodes in an effort to extend her contract.

The actress claims in the suit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court that BET promised it would shoot no more than 13 episodes a season. She says those promises came in spite of a contract Union signed allowing up to 26 episodes per season.

The filing claims BET wants to combine the seasons to kick in an option to extend her contract another year. The lawsuit also says BET wants to avoid paying Union a contractually obligated, per-episode raise.

Union wants unspecified damages.

A BET spokeswoman says in a statement that the network feels it’s contractually within its rights.

Oct 11

Is Kenya Moore Bleaching Her Skin?

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Oct 11

Black architect humiliated by Seattle bank teller who refused to believe her paycheck was real – Weekly Challenger


A woman from Seattle was humiliated by a bank clerk after refusing to believe that a check she was depositing was real.

Trish Doolin, 37, a black architect, recently moved to take a job with Nelson, Inc., based in the city.

It being her first week of work with the firm, her direct deposit had not yet been set up for her to receive her salary, so she took a regular check to a branch of Key Bank.

Trish Doolin, 37, began working as an architect in Seattle in September. When she tried to cash her paycheck, a teller called her into his office to question the validity of her deposit

However, according to  Black Entertainment Television (BET), hours after depositing the check in person, Ms Doolin received a call from the bank asking her to return at once.

When she arrived at the branch, a manager took her aside to a cubicle and began to ask her a series of intrusive questions.

‘He asked my profession, and then asked why the company’s headquarters were in Philadelphia,’ Doolin said. ‘Then he asked if HR could verify that I was an employee there.’

The bank did not ask for any ID from Ms. Doolin, yet Key Bank told her that she would have to wait as long as nine days while they ‘verified the funds.’

I was, I knew I was being discriminated against,” Doolin said.  “It was just completely demeaning”

‘When I realized that I was defending who I was, trying to prove to someone who didn’t know who I was, I knew I was being discriminated against,’ Doolin told BuzzFeed. ‘It was just completely demeaning.’

A short time later, Doolin called the bank on the phone to try and understand why she had been questioned in the manner she had.

The bank told her that they would have done the same to any customer and the branch agreed to release the funds into her account.

‘I live in a world where, no matter what’s in my brain or purse, no matter how I wear my hair, no matter how fabulous I look when I walk out the door, I’m still black,’ she said to BuzzFeed. ‘People still clutch their purses when I walk past.’

Key Bank has released a statement saying the company ‘values diversity’ and does not ‘tolerate discrimination’.

The company also stated that customers that are new to the bank may experience a longer hold period on their deposits for the first 30 days that their accounts are open.

Source: The DailyMail

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