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.”

May 03

‘Ten!’: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Sharna Burgess has live TV nip slip, jokes with judges – Fox News

“Dancing with the Stars” viewers got an eyeful during Monday night’s live show as pro dancer Sharna Burgess had a nip slip.

Burgess’ sexy black bustier dress traveled down too far as she performed the tango with NFL star Antonio Brown.

Near the end of the dance, which paid tribute to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black”, ABC’s camera suddenly zoomed away as the accidental exposure became obvious.

They even flashed a “Dancing With the Stars” logo over the entire screen for a couple of seconds.

Host Tom Bergeron then had to interrupt the judges’ critique, saying that he was getting an urgent message in his earpiece from a “DWTS” producer.

“They said to me, ‘Look at Sharna’s top'”, Bergeron announced. “I’m only doing the producer’s bidding. Pull it up, just a touch, just for the family.”

Bergeron stood in front of Burgess so she could adjust herself.

A surprised Burgess laughed, “What?!” then, after she was decent, joked, “Ten!” as she threw up her arms.

“I give it a ten,” Bergeron deadpanned.

Judge Bruno Tonioli joked, “Extra point for Sharna” as fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba giggled.

After getting the judges’ feedback, Sharna smiled and held her hand up to her chest as she and Brown proceeded to the skybox. (They got a strong score of 24 out of 30).

Brown and Burgess didn’t speak with the press after the show due to rehearsal. However, dancer Lindsay Arnold told FOX411 the wardrobe malfunction was unfortunate—but also an occupational hazard on “DWTS”.

“That’s a bummer because nobody wants to have that happen on live television,” said Arnold, who partners Boyz II Men singer Wanya Morris this season. “But the fact is that it happens sometimes and as pros we have to make sure to get through the dance and not let it affect the celebrity and I’m proud of her for just pushing through it and I mean, it happens. It does. Nothing is going to be perfect and this show is insane. I mean, we are changing [constantly]. Tonight, we each had three different costumes.”

Arnold added, “We use tape to keep things in. We do our absolute best.”

Monday night wasn’t the first time sexy Sharna has had a revealing wardrobe malfunction.

During the season 16 premiere in 2013, sharp-eyed viewers saw a brief flash as Burgess’ costume didn’t cover her completely when she listened to the judges with partner Andy Dick.

May 01

White House Correspondents Dinner: The Five Best Moments – Deadline

President Obama’s Final White House Correspondents Dinner will go down as one of the more memorable. Not necessarily for the right reasons:

Carrie Fisher’s Dog Upstages Hollywood Celebs At Red Carpet

While Hollywood starlets demonstrated their over-the-shoulder red carpet poses to mystified Washingtonians, Carrie Fisher’s dog Gary Fisher stole their spotlight. Carrie and Gary were guests of The Guardian, as was Tom Hiddleston. “Is Gary going into the dinner?” CBS News asked Carrie on the red carpet.  “Of course he is – he loves Obama,” Fisher answered, reasonably.

Obama Mic Drops One Last Time As POTUS

The exact origin of Mic Dropping is unclear – Chris Rock has used it since the 80s – but it became a cultural meme during the Obama years. Key & Peele did a sketch early on in which Obama won a rap battle, then dropped the mic. Actual Obama appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show some time after that, to slow jam the news, and dropped the mic when he was finished. Tonight, Obama, having killed in the room, dropped his mic again and Twitter erupted:

Don Lemon Gives Larry Wilmore An Insta-Review

Comedy Central late-night host Larry Wilmore spent much of his time at the podium blasting the media. That included major shade-throwing in the direction of CNN’s Don Lemon: “Some of America’s finest black journalists are here tonight. Don Lemon is here too,” Wilmore snarked. When Lemon waved at him from the ballroom, Wilmore added, “Hey, Don! How’s it going, alleged journalist Don Lemon?”

Lemon responded:

Later in the evening’s festivities, Lemon and Wilmore’s mutual agent, Jay Sures, wanted Deadline to know they were still BFFs when the dust settled:

Obama’s Final White House Correspondents Dinner Opening

Presidential speeches have never opened better:

“Good evening everybody. It is an honor to be here at my last, and perhaps the last White House Correspondents Dinner. The end of the Republic has never looked better.

“I do apologize,  I know I was a little late tonight. I was running on CPT. Which stands for ‘Jokes that White People Should Not Make.’ Anyway, here we are. My eighth and final appearance at this unique event. And I am excited. If this material works well, I’m gonna use it at Goldman Sachs next year. Earn me some serious Tubmans.”

Larry Wilmore Makes America Forget Donald Trump For A Moment

After lambasting the media jammed into Washington’s Hinkley Hilton, Wilmore capped his set with a head snapping pivot, paying tribute to Obama’s White House legacy.

“When I was a kid… a black man was thought, by his mere color, not good enough to lead a football team. And now to live in your time, when a black man can lead the entire free world,” Wilmore began.

“Words alone do me no justice…I’m going to keep it 100: Yo, Barry. You did it, my n*gga!” Wilmore raved.

TV News operations will be discussing it for days. That is time they will not be talking about Trump. Thank you, Larry!

Apr 29

Can Stephen Colbert get his ‘Late Night’ groove back? – La Times

Nearly eight a few months after he took over for a retiring David Letterman, Stephen Colbert continues to be figuring out his place in the ever-shifting late-night firmament.

Although “The Late Show” is directly ahead of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Reside! ” in the ratings this season, it trails NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” by about 900, 000 viewers each night, and its on the web audience is much smaller than those of either its immediate rivals. Even a historic berth after the Super Bowl in February — the first time a late-night show has aired with this slot — failed to produce a extensive ratings boost for “The Late Show. ”

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That’s certainly alarming for CBS, but will be certainly an important caveat: Late-night shows generally take time to find their groove. A case in point is Fallon, who’s now late night’s undisputed ratings champ and it has succeeded in making “The Tonight Show” fresh and exciting to a brand new generation of viewers, an end result few would have predicted after his widely panned debut on NBC’s “Late Night” in 2009.

“He has to think in terms of the digital play, ” said Morton. “You don’t want to look like you will absolutely pandering, but there’s a sophisticated way to do it. ”

Apr 27

What to Watch on Wednesday: Layoff panic on ‘black-ish’ – News & Observer (blog)

black-ish (9:30 p.m., ABC) – Dre has always strived to mirror his life after the model families he grew up watching on TV, so when news spreads that his company is going through layoffs, Dre panics that his family’s reputation will be tarnished if he loses his job. Meanwhile, Bow has something to prove when she’s put in charge of the school auction and refuses to ask the other moms for help. Instead, she enlists the kids who end up doing more harm than good to the family name.

Also on tonight . . .

Arrow (8 p.m., CW) – The team struggles to deal with Laurel’s death, and Diggle is overwhelmed with guilt over choosing to believe Andy had changed.

Heartbeat (8 p.m., NBC) – Alex, Jesse and Millicent fight to save a former heart transplant patient when she sustains life-threatening injuries in a car crash.

Empire (9 p.m., Fox) – Hakeem considers whether or not to be a father to Anika’s child.

Lopez (10 p.m., TV Land) – George returns to his roots, offering to buy championship rings for the local baseball team and considering a land purchase in the old neighborhood.

The Americans (10 p.m., FX) – Both the FBI and the KGB try to find Martha. Poor Martha.

Apr 26

BET Breaks: NBA Players Are Suffering During Playoffs

Hurt players are affecting the playoff season.

Apr 24

Beyond music, Prince’s legacy includes black activism – Virginian-Pilot

Prince accepted a standing ovation as he strolled out carrying a cane and rocking an Afro to present the 2015 Grammy for album of the year. Then he stole the show with a line that reminded everyone he was more than just a pop superstar; he was a black activist.

“Albums still matter,” he said. “Like books and black lives, albums still matter. Tonight and always.”

In the wake of his death Thursday at 57, radio stations played his biggest hits and fans came together to grieve. But beyond the chart-toppers and dance parties, the legacy of Prince Rogers Nelson grew to include political stances, challenges to record execs and an overarching focus on African-American empowerment.

At the Grammys in Los Angeles, Prince was referring to the Black Lives Matter Movement that was galvanized by the 2014 police killing of an unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

But Prince didn’t stop there. After protests rocked Baltimore over the death of a black man who suffered a spinal injury while riding in a police van, Prince stepped in and performed a tribute song named for the city that included the line, “Does anybody hear us pray for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray?”

“This song shined a new light,” said Pastor Charles Ewing, Brown’s uncle. “A lot of his music had messages.”

It wasn’t the first time Prince connected his music to the fight for racial justice. He told The Associated Press in 2004 that he had chastised music industry bosses over rap and R&B that promoted sex, drugs and violence. “What you won’t show your kids, don’t show ours,” he said at the time.

About a decade earlier, he publicly feuded with record label Warner Bros. and appeared with the word “slave” scrawled on his cheek.

Music journalist Kelley L. Carter said she thinks Prince saw racial inequality in that dispute and others, including his beef with music streaming services over artist pay that has left fans scrambling to find their favorite Prince songs. She said his defiance wasn’t about enriching himself, but about “trying to pave the way for the next generation.”

Carter, senior entertainment writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated, a website about race, sports and culture, wrote recently about meeting Prince last year at his Paisley Park compound in suburban Minneapolis, where he threw a party for black journalists in town for a convention.

She said the conversation turned to the reported $400 million deal that brought the Beatles catalog to iTunes. Prince said he hadn’t been offered nearly as much, and when someone asked whether he thought he was being lowballed because he was black, Carter wrote, “He shot us all a ‘what-do-you-think?’ kind of look.”

Apple Inc. didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Prince signed on instead with Tidal, the music streaming service backed by Jay Z, telling Rolling Stone last year: “Once we have our own resources, we can provide what we need for ourselves. Jay Z spent $100 million of his own money to build his own service. We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves.”

He also told Ebony that artists should seek to control distribution, saying, “Where we finally get into a position to run things �” we all should help.”

Prince also sent money to the family of Trayvon Martin after the unarmed Florida teen was shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012, the Rev. Al Sharpton said recently on MSNBC.

Activist Van Jones said that after Martin’s death, Prince was influential in establishing #YesWeCode, an initiative to get more minorities into tech jobs. Jones recently told USA Today that Prince didn’t exclusively blame racism for the way some people view young blacks in hoodies as thugs instead of potential Facebook founders. Jones recalled Prince saying, “Maybe you civil rights guys haven’t created enough Mark Zuckerbergs.”

His black consciousness was also apparent in his best-known records and performances, according to Stephen Hill, president of programing for BET, or Black Entertainment Television.

“Prince was very proudly black and a lot of the music that he played �” you’ve got to remember the rock ‘n’ roll that some people said that was the ‘white’ side �” no, rock ‘n’ roll was black music. Funk is black music. Ballads is black music,” Hill told the AP. “Prince was playing music that was true to his soul and true to his core.”


AP staffers Nekesa Mumbi Moody and John Carucci contributed to this report. Moore reported from Milwaukee.


Follow Greg Moore at

Apr 22

Television|’Master of None, ‘ ‘black-ish, ‘ ‘Mr. Robot’ Among Peabody Prize Winners – New York Times

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Apr 22

DISC JOCKEY Khaled Gets Another Major Crucial, New Music Baby Revealed

A one-stop shop of weekly music news.

Apr 21

Heartbreaking: Prince’s Ex-Wife Breaks Her Silence

She talks their son, who died at only one week old.

Apr 21

WAGER Casts First White Lead in Network’s History with Comedian Whilst gary Owen’s New Reality Series – People Magazine

04/20/2016 ON 10: 00 PM EDT

In a historical move for the network, Black Entertainment Television unveiled its 2016-2017 lineup of shows on Wednesday, revealing its first series with a white lead.

Comedian Gary Owen can star in a reality show – Gary Owen Family – which Owen said will follow the antics associated with his culturally blended family, since his wife is black plus their children are interracial.

“This is the new face of the American family, ” Owen stated at the network’s upfront, before fooling, “I feel like Ben Carson in the GOP debate. ”

The half-hour reality show could be the first series in the network’s 36-year history to have a white lead.

Although the show does not yet have a release date, the announcement comes after months associated with controversy over racial diversity in the film and tv industry.

In The month of january, actress Stacey Splash slammed the system for promoting segregation and called for the abolition of BET and Dark History Month.

“I think it’s ludicrous, ” Splash, 40 said during an look of Fox & Friends . “We have to make-up our minds. Either we want to have got segregation or integration. If we avoid want segregation, then we need to eliminate channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black. ”

However , BET was fast to call out the celebrity, reminding her that she’s made an appearance on episodes of The Game , a series originally shown on the CW, but moved to WAGER at the start of its fourth season.

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