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.”

Feb 27

10 Reasons Why We Love Joan Smalls

The catwalk queen continues to slay the fashion game.

Feb 26

‘Jinx’ director Andrew Jarecki thinks he or she knows the truth about Robert Durst – Los Angeles Times

You might contact Andrew Jarecki an expert in household dysfunction. His directorial debut, the particular Oscar-nominated documentary “Capturing the Friedmans, ” was a gripping portrait of the father and son accused associated with child molestation. The subject of his latest project, the six-part HBO series “The Jinx: The Life and Fatalities of Robert Durst, ” came to be into a fabulously wealthy Manhattan property family but is better known — infamous, even — for his connections to three mysterious deaths.

People have compared “The Jinx” to the “Serial” podcast, which may have helped Adnan Syed win a recent motion in order to appeal his murder conviction. “Capturing the Friedmans” also spurred continuing legal developments. Would you be happy if “The Jinx” yielded similar results?

That to me is when it gets the most interesting, for all those working on something and there’s a real-life impact. But I guess I have a tendency want to have an opinion about that at the moment. I think it will be interesting to see how individuals respond.

What do you make of Durst’s relationship with Susan Berman?

This really is clear that he loved her, platonically. I’ve always seen that relationship as demi-romantic in that it was by no means an overtly romantic relationship. But I must assume that she was in love along with him. First of all, women love Bob. I don’t know that all women love Bob, but certainly some women love Bob a lot, and he’s experienced no trouble attracting women. I usually felt that Susan had a thing for Bob and at some degree figured maybe they would end up collectively when he was finished using of this gallivanting around. But she would not be the only woman that has been in love with Bob. There are dozens. He had a serious relationship with Mia Farrow’s sibling, Prudence. I think he was genuinely upset by what happened to Susan.

Do you nevertheless communicate with Durst? Is he a buddy?

Feb 26

Raven-Symoné to Guest Star on Black-ish

Will play Anthony Anderson’s lesbian sister.

Feb 26

America’s Next Top Model Mirjana Puhar Dead!

Feb 25th, 2015


America’s Next Top Model contestant, Mirjana Puhar, was found dead along with her boyfriend and one more young man at her boyfriend’s house in Charlotte, N. C., upon Tuesday, February 24th.

Emmanuel Jesus Rangel, 19, has been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.


Here’s exactly what Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said:

“Jesus Rangel has also been charged in connection with another killing that will occured Sunday in Matthews, In. C. ”



Feb 24

Lawsuit accuses Comcast, Al Sharpton associated with discriminating against black-owned… – Wa Post

Case against Comcast, Time Warner Cable connection Inc., Rev. Al Sharpton as well as the NAACP alleges that the media companies discriminated against black-owned businesses and paid active supporters and workers like Sharpton to “whitewash” its procedures. The complaint alleges that Comcast gave large donations to Sharpton, the NAACP and other civil rights groups to be able to appear that the cable company had been promoting diversity, even while it was not being able to follow through on a promise to do this.

The particular lawsuit, seeking $20 billion, was filed within Los Angeles federal court Friday by Entertainment Studios , a television company founded by black producer and comedian Byron Allen and the National Association associated with African-American Owned Media (NAAAOM). The particular complaint, which comes as regulators mull a $45-billion merger between Comcast and TWC, alleges that Comcast has refused to do business with Allen as well as other black media executives.

“Comcast has involved in, and is engaging in, pernicious, intentional ethnic discrimination in contracting, ” it reads. Whether or not it gets anywhere is another question. Anyone can file case alleging anything and claiming any amount of money.

Both Sharpton and Comcast dismissed the allegations Monday. In an interview with Variety , Sharpton called the lawsuit a “bogus statement from a person who has no credibility” and he told the particular Hollywood Reporter that he will be bringing counterclaims for defamation.

The particular National Action Network also asked Allen’s credibility in its statement to the The show biz industry Reporter.

“We would gladly protect our relationship with any company along with state on the record why we all found these discriminatory accusations manufactured by said party to be less than reputable and beneath the standards that we engage in. ”

[Related: The public life and private doubts of Al Sharpton]

The particular lawsuit also accuses Sharpton, the particular National Action Network (the non-profit civil rights organization he started in 1991), the NAACP as well as the National Urban League, claiming that the particular groups signed “sham diversity agreements” with Comcast in exchange for donations, knowing that the cable company would power the agreements to mask its discriminatory practices.

The complaint particularly calls away Sharpton and his non-profit, which this says “has a business model and track record of obtaining payments from corporate entities in exchange for his support. ” This critique has been flattened at him before, in the Everyday Beast and the New York Post, although neither accusation came of something.

This is the second complaint from Entertainment Studios and NAAAOM, whose president Mark DeVitre is also an executive at Allen’s firm. In December the group filed a $10 billion lawsuit against AT& T and DirectTV, accusing the groups of similar discrimination. No other black-owned companies joined the claims against Comcast.

In sweeping language, this latest complaint accuses Comcast of instituting the “Jim Crow” process for licensing programs, claiming that black-owned channels are only granted “carriage agreements” (contracts allowing companies like Comcast and Time Warner to distribute a programmer’s content) if they agree to terms inferior to those provided to white-owned companies. According to the complaint, black-owned businesses receive just $3 mil of the $15 billion Comcast usually spends on channel carriage and advertising.

Comcast communications director John Demmings had written in an email that the lawsuit had been “frivolous” and that company’s negotiations with the plaintiff have been in good faith.

But Allen, who says he first contacted the distributor seven years ago, mentioned in a phone interview that he’d been put off by Comcast professionals year after year. One executive allegedly informed him that the company was “not trying to create any more Bob Johnsons, ” referring to the millionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television, which was sold to Viacom in 2001 for $3 billion.

“This is why black-owned media is becoming extinct, ” Allen said. “It’s economic genocide. ”

In 2010, Comcast signed a “ memorandum of understanding ” with civil rights groups as part of an effort to win approval for its merger with NBC Universal. In the agreement, the particular cable company committed to adding 10 new minority owned and operated networks, a minimum of four of which would be run by African Americans. Sharpton, who lobbied for the merger in a letter towards the Federal Communications Commission and signed on to the memorandum, said that the company’s 2010 ending up in minority leaders was the most important factor in the decision to support Comcast’s bid.

He was given a job as host for MSNBC’s PoliticsNation in August 2011, six months after the merger was approved — a move that raised questions about a potential conflict of interest. The particular complaint alleges that the position was section of a quid-pro-quo deal for Sharpton’s approval of the merger, as had been $140, 000 in donations in order to his National Action Network. (A Comcast spokesperson confirmed that number in order to the Daily Beast in 2011. )

“They pay him just a little bit of money instead of spending the particular tens of millions and billions they should be paying to the black community, ” Allen said.

Despite the goals laid out within the memorandum, the lawsuit says that Comcast now distributes only one black-owned funnel, the Africa Network, which is operate by a former Comcast executive, which the company’s other purportedly black-owned channels are actually controlled by white-owned companies.

“Defendants NAACP, National Urban League, and Al Sharpton’s National Action System signed onto the MOUs with Comcast knowing — and agreeing — that Comcast would use the MOUs to perpetuate civil legal rights violations against 100% African American–owned media companies, including Entertainment Galleries, ” the complaint reads.

According to the New York Times and Center for Public Integrity investigation published last year, the particular NAACP received $30, 000 within donations from Comcast between 2005 and 2012. The National Urban League, another defendant listed in the particular complaint, received $835, 000. Each organizations expressed support for a merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. (For the record, lots of companies routinely and regularly donate money to such groups. )

Talking to Variety, Sharpton said that Allen got approached various civil rights organizations for support in getting their channels carried, but had been turned down because Entertainment Studios’ networks were “below the standards of what we desired to support. ”

Allen’s network operates eight channels and distributes 36 shows including Vehicles. TV, which won an Emmy for “Outstanding Lifestyle Program” this year. According to Allen’s attorney, Skip Burns, Entertainment Studios is the only black-owned multi-channel producer in the U. H. and its content is carried by Verizon, AT& T, RCN and a quantity of other distributors.

A Federal Communications Commission official, who seem to asked not to be named due to the ongoing FCC review of the Comcast-TWC merger, said that Allen is a “legitimate” producer and that the commission need to take his complaint seriously.

“The accusations are serious allegations and they go to the very heart of the Comcast commitment produced under their first merger with NBCU, ” he said, talking about the 2010 memoranda.

If combined, Comcast and Time Warner Cable would control 30 percent of the American TV market , giving it broad control over the kinds of programming that get produced — a well known fact that has become a focal point for opposition to the proposed deal.

“The FCC should look at the impact these allegations in light of what a new proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable entity would look like, ” the official said. “These allegations themselves are based on the core associated with what they’re talking about as related in the review of the merger. ”

The particular commission is anticipated to complete its review of the merger sometime this quarter.

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Lawsuit accuses Comcast, Al Sharpton of discriminating against black-owned mass media

Feb 23

Teen Dating Violence: What You Need to Know

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Feb 23

A History of African-Americans and the Oscars

A look back at legendary moments at the Academy Awards.

Feb 22

2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Selma, Dear White People stars celebrate indie film.

Feb 21

Janelle Monáe Appears in ‘Classic Man’ by Jidenna

Vocalist pops up in new video on her label’s debut artist.

Feb 21

‘The Book of Negroes': TV miniseries tackles historical myths – Employees World

Black Liberation Month “The Book of Negroes” miniseries simply by Lawrence Hill, director Clement Virgo and executive producer Damon D’Oliveira. The cast includes Aunjanue Ellis, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lyriq Bent and Louis Gossett Jr.

This six-part, historical fiction, television series recently concluded the premiere over the Canadian Broadcasting Company network. It airs over Black Entertainment Television beginning on Feb. 16.

“The Guide of Negroes” is based on a book of the same name by Lawrence Hill, an African-Canadian writer. This dramatizes the actual history of those captured into slavery on the West Coastline of Africa, continuing through their own journey to the Carolinas, New York, Volkswagen Scotia in Canada and then in order to Sierra Leone.

The particular series examines the brutality of the 18th-century Atlantic slave trade as well as the nature of the system of human bondage and racism in what were then British colonies in North America. The main character, Aminata Diallo, played simply by Aunjanue Ellis, is captured when justin was 11 in Guinea and delivered off to the Southern colonies in the 1750s.

During the course of the storyplot, families are broken up, children are marketed from their parents, and women are harshly exploited and assaulted — all while the knowledge and abilities of the enslaved Africans are utilized to further enhance the profitability of the plantation economic climate.

Despite these horrors, the Africans continue to resist their own enslavement through various forms of rebellion, from the slave ships to the plantations, where the rich landowners seek in order to dehumanize the Africans they specified as their property.

Different view of ‘American Revolution’

An often-hidden historical fact brought out is that more Africans fought alongside the Uk during the colonial war than with all the future rulers of the United States. The Uk promised emancipation to those slaves exactly who joined their ranks after 1776.

Some historians, like Gerald Horne, maintain that the colonists wanted independence in order to preserve captivity. During this period, a debate was building in England over the abolition of captivity there.

In his book entitled “The Counter-Revolution of 1776, ” Horne emphasizes that “for European colonists, the major threat in order to security in North America was a international invasion combined with an insurrection of the enslaved. And as 1776 approached, London-imposed abolition throughout the colonies was a extremely real and threatening possibility — a possibility the founding fathers feared could bring the slave rebellions of Jamaica and Antigua to the thirteen colonies. To forestall it, they went to war. ”

Horne challenges the official narrative of the “War of Independence, ” recommending, rather: “The so-called Revolutionary Battle was in large part a counterrevolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their own liberty to enslave others — and which today takes the shape of a racialized conservatism and a persistent racism targeting the descendants of the enslaved. The Counter-Revolution of 1776 drives us to a radical brand new understanding of the traditional heroic creation misconception of the United States. ”

Hill’s novel rests on the actual “Book of Negroes, ” a record containing the names of Africans who were slated for freedom once the Uk monarchy won the war. However , Britain lost the war as well as the monarchists later took thousands of former slaves with them to Nova Scotia, another British colony, where they suffered extremely cold weather, near starvation conditions and vicious racism.

In an interview with a Uk newspaper, Hill recalled that he “used ‘The Book of Negroes’ since the title for my novel, in Canada, because it derives from a historical document of the same name held by British naval officers at the tail end of the American Groundbreaking War. It documents the several, 000 blacks who had served the King in the war and were fleeing Manhattan for North america in 1783. ” (Guardian, Might 20, 2008)

This individual added, “Unless you were in ‘The Book of Negroes, ’ you couldn’t escape to Canada. Our character, an African woman called Aminata Diallo, whose story is founded on this history, has to get into the particular book before she gets away. ”

Through Nova Scotia
back to The african continent

After the war, these Africans were taken by the particular British army to Nova Scotia in Canada, where slavery nevertheless existed. The harsh conditions in Nova Scotia are illustrated in the series.

The situations were not conducive to agriculture, as well as the weather was colder than the majority of had ever experienced. The whites in the colony themselves struggled to survive and viewed the newly appeared Africans as competitors for careers and other economic opportunities.

Louis Gossett Jr. plays an elderly minister who holds the particular African community together. He later on accepts the British offer in order to repatriate thousands back to West The african continent — to establish yet another colony for London.

When they arrive in Sierra Leone, the Atlantic servant trade is even more widespread compared to during the previous decades. They quickly realize that real safety and security cannot dominate in such an atmosphere.

The series ends with the main character intervening in the debate to the abolition of slavery in Britain, leading to the outlawing of the Ocean slave trade in 1806. During her period of enslavement in the Carolinas and New York, she had acquired exceptional literary skills and proved helpful as a medical practitioner, both on the planting and the battlefield during the war among Britain and the colonists.

This dramatization of such an important period in world history will certainly shed light on the social development of the particular U. S. and Canada, together with the role of racism and nationwide oppression in shaping modern national politics. As the miniseries is being aired over both Canadian and U. H. television, it will reach a broad target audience, compelling millions to alter their viewpoint on the character of bourgeois democracy from the 18th century to the present. pan>

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