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.”

Jan 18

Kim Burrell’s Views on Homosexuality Come From Place of Love, Says Pastor – Christian Post

When gospel music singer and Pastor Kim Burrell came under fire for preaching a sermon about the “perverted homosexual spirit,” many people blamed the Black church for fostering beliefs deemed hateful by many celebrities and LGBT advocates.

(Photo: Reuters/Molly Riley)Singer Kim Burrell sings to Whitney Houston to honor her for receiving the BET Honors for Entertainment in Washington, January 16, 2010. Sponsored by the Black Entertainment Television network, the awards show celebrates the life works and accomplishments of inspiring African Americans, according to their website.

Other leaders in the Black church community, however, insist that the Grammy nominated singer’s message is rooted in love.

While many accused Burrell and the church of preaching homophobic messages, according to apostle James Duncan, who leads a predominately Black church in Brooklyn, New York, and prayed and prophesied to Burrell, her sermons come from a loving place.

(Photo: Christ Church International Inc.)Apostle James Duncan and his wife, Prophetess Donna Duncan are the founders and leaders of Christ Church International in Brooklyn, New York.

“Kim Burrell is a servant of God and she has to preach the message of the Kingdom of God. It’s not her church — a Black or a white church — it’s Jesus’ church,” Duncan, the pastor of Christ Church International, said in an interview with The Christian Post. 

“She is preaching a Gospel of love because she is preaching for people to come out of sin,” he said. “If our parents corrected us it’s not because they hate us, it’s because they love us and they don’t want us to be destroyed. Jesus is not against the people, He’s against the sin which causes us to miss the mark of God.”

Duncan explained why the homosexual lifestyle isn’t condoned in the Bible by citing Genesis 1:28 where God tells Adam and Even to be fruitful and multiply.

“God put a seed in the man that he would produce. He put a seed in fruit, in the plants, birds and the animals that they would perpetuate life,” Duncan said. “The lifestyle of the LGBT community is not what God created and she was expressing to them, ‘Look, every man has a choice to make. But I assure you the better way.”

Singer Tamar Braxton called such biblical teachings “crazy talk,” and Yolanda Adams called Burrell’s sermon “hateful.” 

Burrell, who appeared on the soundtrack for the film “Hidden Figures” film, had two of the film’s stars, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe Robinson, speak out against her sermon while producer and soundtrack composer Pharrell Willms publicly condemned her sermon as hate speech.

A search for “Kim Burrell” and “Black church” on Twitter reveals that a number of people associate the Black church with homophobia.

(Photo: Twitter screen grab)

Mainstream media outlets have also been propagating this message with headlines like “Kim Burrell Reminds Us How the Black Church Uses, Abuses Gay Christians,” on The Huffington Post and “Kim Burrell Can’t Get an Amen From These Preachers, Scholars,” on NBC News.

Burrell’s career began to suffer after the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Honors rescinded her invitation to be recognized for her work at an event on Jan. 14. The 44-year-old pastor of Love & Liberty Fellowship Church in Houston, Texas, also lost her radio show on Texas Southern University’s KTSU radio station as well as her television talk show “Keep It Moving with Kim Burrell,” on CW 39.

Instead of lamenting the losses, Duncan believes people of God should come together and create their own opportunities.

“They can only take away awards, they can only take away material things. They can’t take away your salvation,” he told CP. “If we don’t have television shows and radio stations the Church has to come together as a body to start our own and broadcast our own.”

Duncan insists that Burrell’s experience is similar to what Christians had to endure centuries ago.

“When Christianity first started under the Roman empire, they used to behead the leader. It’s the same beheading taking place, because if you smite the head of the Church the sheep will scatter and that is what this satanic signal is,” he said. “‘I’m going to attack the Christian leaders and I’m going to attack and the sheep are going to scatter.’ So we can’t be afraid of the devil because his works were destroyed 2,000 years ago.”

Although many prominent church leaders and Christian entertainers have chosen not to publicly comment on controversy, Burrell has received support from The National Black Church Initiative which is comprised of 34,000 churches across 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-Americans.

The Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative, denounced Black members of the Black community who are speaking out against Burrell’s sermon on homosexuality, Black Christian News reported on Jan. 12. 

“I am not sure what has happened to Black folk, that they are willing to denounce ministers who have prayed for them, who have supported them and who have loved them and healed them because a white lesbian says that they are evil,” he said, alluding to daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres booting Burrell from her program.

“I urge all Black Christians to pray and come back to Church and repent, and let me just say that Queen Latifah, Yolanda Adams and Mo’Nique did not die for you … and they will not die for you. Only Jesus died for you and God Almighty will have something to say to each one of them going forward.”

Evans further emphasized that thousands of churches were standing behind Burrell.

“The Black church is the one moral voice of this homosexual debate,” he said. “We have continued to say that we love and adore all of our gay brothers and sisters and there is nothing we will not do for them including laying down our lives, but this does not mean in any way that we endorse their sinful lifestyle and join their radical homosexual agenda that will transform society to a cesspool and cause Almighty God to come and destroy us.”

(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)Singers Yolanda Adams (L) and CeCe Winans perform during the taping of “We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute To Whitney Houston” at the Nokia theatre in Los Angeles, California, October 11, 2012.

CeCe Winans, the Grammy Award-winning singer who heads in Nashville Life Church where she serves as senior pastor with her husband, Alvin Love, told CP that she wants people who disagree with one another in the church community to set an example of how they can still walk in love.

“The number one thing has got to be love and praying for one another. Never tear one another down in private or in the media,” said the singer and pastor who refers to Burrell as her sister.

“If we would just aim to love one another the way God loves us, then there’s grace, there’s mercy. We, as the Church, we have to be the ones who show the example of loving people when they disagree with us, loving one another when we disagree with one another.”

Jan 17

Biological Mother of Angelina Jolie’s Daughter Speaks Out

She desperately wants to talk to her child.

Jan 16

Watch: T. I. Has Thoughts On Celebs Who Meet With Trump

He uses Kanye West and Steve Harvey as examples.

Jan 16

In Black America – East Hampton Star

The Eastville Community Historical Society of Sag Harbor will hold a two-part screening of “Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise,” a four-hour PBS program hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and Jan. 27. The production examines the last five decades of African-American history. Eyewitness accounts, scholarly analysis, and rare archival footage illuminate the recent past and the persistent challenges of those years.

The film begins with the Selma marches that led to the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and covers urban riots, the Black Panthers, and the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., among other events and issues. The second hour covers not only the many advances of the 1970s and 1980s, leading up to the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson, but also the concurrent white backlash.

The third hour focuses on the increasing visibility of African-Americans in public life, among them Oprah Winfrey and Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, along with the crack cocaine epidemic, Rodney King, and O.J. Simpson. The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina opens the final hour, which also chronicles Barack Obama’s campaign and election, the persistence of police brutality, and the disproportionate incarceration of African-American men.

Admission to each screening is $5, free for members. The historical society has requested R.S.V.P.s to 631-725-4711.

Jan 14

Declaration By Robert L. Johnson Recommending Congress To Adopt A Resolution By Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) To Increase… – Yahoo Finance


Statement By Robert L. Johnson Recommending Congress To Adopt A Resolution By Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) To Increase…
Yahoo Finance
14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Robert L. Johnson, creator and chairman of The RLJ Businesses and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) today issued the following statement acknowledging U. S. Senator Bernard Scott' s introduction of United states senate Resolution …

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Jan 14

Zoe Saldana: Hollywood Was Too Mean to Donald Trump

The actress has her own theory on why he won the presidency.

Jan 14

Display Starring White Michael Jackson Will get Canceled After Backlash

Joseph Fiennes Michael Jackson canceled

The controversial episode of Sky Arts’ Urban Common myths featuring a white actor playing Jordan Jackson has been canceled.

After photos of Joseph Fiennes leaked as the late King associated with Pop, the Jackson family has been outraged. Taj and Paris Knutson both took their Twitters in order to voice their disgust with the casting.


“Unfortunately this is exactly what my family has to deal with. No terms could express the blatant disrespect. ” – Taj Jackson

The episode was scheduled to air on January 19, and it centered on the singer’s road trip from NEW YORK CITY to Los Angeles with Elizabeth Taylor swift and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 attack.

It seems like the production company actually listened to the issues because they decided to cancel the transmit after hearing the concerns from your Jackson family.


“We have taken the decision not to transmit Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, a half-hour episode from the Sky Artistry Urban Myths series, in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family. We set out to have a lighthearted look at reportedly true occasions and never intended to cause any criminal offense. ”

After news of the cancellation was released, Paris, france shared her appreciation.

Were you looking towards seeing a white man perform MJ?


Jan 11

‘Shark Tank’ For Black Female Founders Inspires Next Generation Of Entrepreneurs – Forbes

Like everywhere else, there’s a gender gap when it comes to prime time TV. Women are less likely than men to be seen at work and actually working, according to Boxed In 2015–16: Women On Screen and Behind the Scenes in Television. Women are more likely to be characterized as looking for love, while men are more likely to be work-oriented. Male characters were nearly twice as likely as female characters to be portrayed as leaders.

Queen Boss. Photo courtesy Rebecca Smeyne/BET.

Queen Boss. Photo courtesy Rebecca Smeyne/BET.

As the adage says, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” So you can imagine my delight when I heard that the SWSI (Smart Women. Smart Ideas.) highly successful ‘Queen Bee’ webisode series was licensed by Black Entertainment Television Network (BET) and turned into a TV series called ‘Queen Boss.’ It premieres Saturday, January 14, at 10pm ET (9pm CT) on both BET and Centric (BET’s women-focused network). “Black women are and have always been pioneers and titans of industry — from Madame CJ Walker to Lisa Price of Carole’s Daughter (one of the guest judges on ‘Queen Boss’). We are proud to help nurture the next wave of women taking over!” said Zola Mashariki, Executive Vice President, Head of Original Programming, BET Networks.

We all know how hard the economy was hit by the recession. Parts of the country have still not fully recovered. “African-American women are not sitting around waiting for opportunities to fall in their lap,” said Mashariki. “Whether it’s an online blog or a cupcake baking business or a multinational importing company, we aspire for more than just climbing the corporate ladder. Black women are choosing to bet on themselves and see their dreams through so they can grow real wealth.”

Queen Boss’ is similar to and different from ‘Shark Tank, noted Marci Weisler, cofounder of SWSI, which develops original programming about female founders. You get to see founders present and get critiqued by successful entrepreneurs. However, in this case, 18 women compete to advance to the semi-finals then the final. Only one woman gets crowned ‘Queen Boss’ and wins $25,000. The show is hosted by TV personality and business woman Tracey Edmonds. Celebrity business-owner judges include Angela Benton, Kandi Burruss, Lauren Lake, Carla Hall, Rakia Reynolds, Vanessa Simmons, Mikki Taylor and Robin Wilson.

Startups and small businesses can’t afford advertising campaigns. Participants recognized the opportunity of being on national television. The show also had other benefits. Rahama Wright, founder of Shea Yeleen, served two years in the Peace Corps in Mali where she saw the moisturizing benefits of shea butter. She wanted to share these with other women while providing a living wages for women who produce shea butter in West Africa. “Being part of a competition to elevate the role of women in business seemed like a perfect fit,” she said. “I knew I would be mentored by the judges, who are successful women [business owners].”

Nailah Ellis Brown, founder of Ellis Infinity Iced Tea, tweaked her great-grandfather’s hibiscus tea recipe, which  he developed as head chef of Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line. He immigrated from Jamaica and entered the U.S. through Ellis Island. “I recently had to pitch Ellis Island Tea to a major distributor who can open up hundreds of high-volume stores across the country for my brand,” said Ellis Brown. “I could hear the ‘Queen Boss’ judges’ comments in my head when I was preparing for the big meeting. I think my pitch was far stronger because of the tips and criticisms I received on ‘Queen Boss.’  

Jan 10

Writer: Gay rights TV miniseries is for all, including Trump – Lincoln Journal Star

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) �” Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black says his upcoming TV miniseries about the gay rights movement is for everyone, up to and including the incoming president.

“I think there’s a lot of people who voted for Donald Trump who will love this show,” Black told a TV critics’ meeting Tuesday. “I didn’t write this show for half the country. If Donald Trump watches the show, I think he might like the show.”

“When We Rise,” airing Feb. 27 to March 2 on ABC, recounts the LGBT civil rights movement and those involved from the mid-20th century to present day. The cast includes Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths, Mary-Louise Parker, Ivory Aquino and Michael Kenneth Williams.

Black said the show already has come under online attack from members of the alt-right movement, but said that “the show is not a war. We are not against anyone.”

The project was initiated four years ago and without anticipation of the current political climate, Black said.

He wrote it for members of his own family, he said. The writer, who won an Academy Award for 2008’s “Milk,” described growing up in a “religious, conservative, military” household in the South.

His message to his cousins, aunts, uncles and others is, “Hey, we have more in common than we think and we speak the same language,” Black said, adding that he treasures his relatives.

The series’ perspective is universal, Black said, calling it a “conversation about what it’s like to be a minority in this world” and the importance of working together.

Williams (“Boardwalk Empire,” ”12 Years a Slave”) said the miniseries offers “stories of triumph and courage this country was built” and is a timely celebration of American diversity and unity.

When Black and the actors were asked about whether Hollywood is out of touch with middle America, Griffiths responded.

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“This show isn’t four nights of telling the middle how they should think and feel. It’s not an education, propaganda tool, which I’m sure the alt-right will say it is,” said the Australian actress (“Six Feet Under”).

Instead, she said, it’s an opportunity to understand the lives of others. When she was a “little Irish Catholic girl” and watched the slavery epic “Roots,” she learned what it was like to be owned by another person and “that affected me for the rest of my life.”

Jan 10

Prince’s Music May Be Available on Spotify and Apple Music

May be the war over his music almost over?

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