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 24

Tim Hardaway Jr. Talks NBA Fit



Knicks guard reveals how he stays healthy.

Jan 23

When Tech Meets Fashion



Be innovative and fabulous with wearable gadgets.

Jan 23

A Countdown of the Top 35 Moments on BET



Destiny’s Child’s lap dance, MJ on 106 and more.

Jan 21

Sport Celebrates The Documentary with Kendrick Lamar, Dr . Dre



K Dot talks 10 years of the seminal LP in an exclusive conversation.

Jan 21

First Lady Promotes Eating Right, Fitness at Book Reading



Michelle Obama pushes her Let’s Move campaign forward.

Jan 20

A long march toward fair representation on TV for blacks – Quad City Times

More than 60 years ago, a new comedy boasted an all-black cast populating the Harlem community with characters that will included an attorney, a small businessman and also a civic-club president.

“Amos ‘n’ Andy” was an instant hit in June 1951, when it made the leap to television after decades on radio.

But not everyone loved it. It had been blasted by the NAACP for perpetuating black stereotypes with what, at best, had been broad characterizations ” particularly Kingfish Stevens, its underhanded mastermind, whose mission in life was avoiding function while cooking up ways to fleece jacket Andy, his dim-witted chum.

For two years, “Amos ‘n’ Andy” remained a Thursday-night fitting on CBS. Its episodes after that went into syndication for a successful run that didn’t end until the mid-1960s, when CBS finally yielded in order to detractors, including the NAACP with its carried on pressure, and yanked the reruns from the air.

Even today, the show remains suspect, vilified by some as a display of racism. But “Amos ‘n’ Andy” also stands as TV’s first all-black series, indeed the only one until “Sanford and Son” was released by Norman Lear in 1972 during a renaissance of black-oriented sitcoms.

Since TV’s childhood, the march toward fair representation for various races and nationalities has been circuitous and rocky. Most minorities remain underrepresented, while African-Americans found their place in TV’s edition of the world routinely shortchanged or even disparaged by producers, networks and sponsors.

Consider singer Nat King Cole, who within 1956 became the first prominent dark performer to host a system variety series. Even with the remarkably loyal support of NBC (and big-name guest stars, black and white, rallying to join him), Cole got small love from skittish advertisers. “The Nat ‘King’ Cole Show” survived only a year.

Comic Flip Wilson got a much warmer reception in 1970 when his NBC comedy-variety show scored as that season’s second-highest-rated series. It ran for four years.

Shortly after, Norman Lear revealed a slate of hit sitcoms that addressed hot-button issues of the day, particularly racial equality as represented in “Sanford and Son” and also CBS’ “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons. ” (Though these shows, too, took their share of criticism for promoting stereotypes, particularly the cartoonish J. J. on “Good Times” ” 1974-1979 ” with his signature laugh-line, “Dy-no-MITE! “)

Bill Cosby also helped pave the way. His legacy as a TV trailblazer is taking a defeating with the recent surge of sex-related abuse allegations. But through the years, he repeatedly punctured TV’s color barrier.

Back in 1965, he made history co-starring using a white man (Robert Culp) upon NBC’s “I Spy, ” the particular pioneering buddy drama about 2 fast-living spies who masqueraded as a tennis pro and his trainer.

And, from 1984-92, this individual starred in “The Cosby Display, ” a smash hit for NBC where he played an upscale family man and obstetrician. Cosby’s 8 seasons as Dr . Cliff Huxtable clinched his identity as “America’s Dad, ” which made the particular flood of accusations now shattering that image all the more painful to get his fans ” and Doctor Huxtable’s.

But there is no denying the distance traveled within the portrayal of black characters on TV.

The first comedy in order to star a black woman (ABC’s “Beulah” in 1950) set the leading lady in the home of a white-colored middle-class family, where she jovially toiled as their maid. But in 2014, the NBC drama “State of Affairs” premiered with a black girl as president of the United States.

And in the hit ABC crisis “Scandal, ” black actress Kerry Washington plays a Washington power broker locked in an affair with the nation’s chief executive (white actor Tony a2z Goldwyn), complete with steamy love scenes in and outside the Oval Office.

Such a torrid love marks a head-spinning change from 1968, when, during the taping of a duet for her NBC special, British pop singer Petula Clark clasped the particular arm of Harry Belafonte, the particular beloved calypso star and interpersonal activist. It was a gesture that will spurred the sponsor, Chrysler, in order to demand this instance of “interracial touching” be edited out.

No way, said Clark, whom threatened to scrap the whole program instead. Chrysler backed down as well as the show aired intact, another obstacle surmounted on a road that’s still bumpy today.

___

EDITOR’S NOTE ” Frazier Moore is a national tv columnist for The Associated Press. He is able to be reached at fmoore@ap. org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

Jan 20

A lengthy march toward fair representation in the news for blacks – STLtoday. com

More than 60 years ago, a new comedy boasted a good all-black cast populating a Harlem community with characters that integrated an attorney, a small businessman and a civic-club president.

“Amos ‘n’ Andy” was an instant hit in June 1951, when it made the leap to television after years on radio.

Although not everyone loved it. It was blasted by the NAACP for perpetuating black stereotypes with what, at best, were wide characterizations ” particularly Kingfish Stevens, its underhanded mastermind, whose objective in life was avoiding work whilst cooking up ways to fleece Andy, his dim-witted chum.

For two years, “Amos ‘n’ Andy” remained a Thursday-night fixture on CBS. Its episodes then entered syndication for a successful run that will didn’t end until the mid-1960s, when CBS finally yielded to detractors, including the NAACP with its continued stress, and yanked the reruns from your air.

Even today, the show remains suspect, vilified by some as a display of racism. But “Amos ‘n’ Andy” furthermore stands as TV’s first all-black series, indeed the only one until “Sanford and Son” was introduced by Norman Lear in 1972 throughout a renaissance of black-oriented sitcoms.

Since TV’s infancy, the march toward fair representation to get various races and ethnicities continues to be circuitous and rocky. Most minorities remain underrepresented, while African-Americans discovered their place in TV’s version from the world routinely shortchanged or disparaged by producers, networks and sponsors.

Consider singer Nat King Cole, who in 1956 became the first prominent black artist to host a network variety series. Even with the impressively devoted support of NBC (and big-name guest stars, black and white, rallying to participate him), Cole got little appreciate from skittish advertisers. “The Nat ‘King’ Cole Show” lasted merely a year.

Comedian Switch Wilson got a much warmer reception in 1970 when his NBC comedy-variety show scored as that will season’s second-highest-rated series. It went for four years.

Shortly after, Norman Lear unveiled a slate of hit sitcoms that will addressed hot-button issues of the day, particularly racial equality as depicted in “Sanford and Son” as well as CBS’ “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons. ” (Though these shows, too, took their share of criticism for promoting stereotypes, particularly the cartoonish J. J. on “Good Times” ” 1974-1979 ” with his personal laugh-line, “Dy-no-MITE! “)

Bill Cosby also helped pave the way. His legacy as a TELEVISION trailblazer is taking a beating using the recent surge of sexual misuse allegations. But through the decades, he or she repeatedly punctured TV’s color hurdle.

Back in 1965, he or she made history co-starring with a white-colored man (Robert Culp) on NBC’s “I Spy, ” the groundbreaking buddy drama about two fast-living spies who masqueraded as a tennis games pro and his trainer.

And, from 1984-92, he was seen in “The Cosby Show, ” a smash hit for NBC where he played an upscale family guy and obstetrician. Cosby’s eight periods as Dr . Cliff Huxtable clinched his identity as “America’s Dad, ” which made the ton of accusations now shattering that will image all the more painful for their fans ” and Dr . Huxtable’s.

But there was simply no denying the distance traveled in the portrayal of black characters on TV.

The first comedy to star a black woman (ABC’s “Beulah” in 1950) set its leading lady in the home of a white middle-class family, where she jovially toiled as their maid. But in 2014, the NBC drama “State of Affairs” premiered with a black woman since president of the United States.

And in the hit ABC drama “Scandal, ” black actress Kerry Washington plays a Washington power broker locked in an affair with the country’s chief executive (white actor Tony Goldwyn), complete with steamy love scenes in and outside the Oval Office.

Such a torrid romance represents a head-spinning change from 1968, when, during the taping of a duet for her NBC special, British pop vocalist Petula Clark clasped the arm of Harry Belafonte, the beloved calypso star and social activist. It was a gesture that sparked the sponsor, Chrysler, to requirement this instance of “interracial touching” be edited out.

No way, said Clark, who vulnerable to scrap the whole program rather. Chrysler backed down and the display aired intact, another obstacle surmounted on a road that’s still bumpy today.

___

EDITOR’S NOTE ” Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can become reached at fmoore@ap. org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

Jan 19

Amber Rose Reveals Racism in Her Family



Says relatives feel “more superior” than African-Americans.

Jan 19

MTV airs in black and white to ignite conversation on race – Philly. com






Published: Sunday, January 18, 2015, 2: 58 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) – MTV is taking the color out of its programming on Martin Luther King Junior. Day to encourage people to discuss what race means in their lives.

The youth-oriented TV network is airing its programming in black and white on Monday, a first in the channel’s 34-year history.

The programming move is intended to promote #TheTalk initiative, encouraging viewers to discuss race with their friends and family.

“The device of turning us black and white is going to be really- visually- a jolt to say, you know what, there are differences and if we are going to ever are able to a freer, more equal culture the best thing we can begin to do is talk about them, ” MTV Chief executive Stephen Friedman said.

The retro-look applications will air for 12 hrs and will include personal reflections on race from entertainers and open public officials, including Kendrick Lamar, Wiz khalifa, Jordin Sparks, Pete Wentz, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. John Lewis, Sen. Cory Booker, “Selma” director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo.

The Oscar-nominated film “Selma” chronicles the 1965 marches for voting rights that King led through Alabama. Lewis, one of the student leaders working with King, suffered a skull fracture whenever Alabama state troopers, sheriff deputies and possemen wielding bullwhips, clubs and tear gas advanced around the marchers on the outskirts of Selma.

In addition to entertaining its audience, MTV has traditionally engaged viewers in social issues, Friedman said.

“We believed what better day than MLK Day to really use, not only a brief history and the power of what Doctor King said with the “I Have a Dream” speech, but hear this from artists, political leaders as well as the audience to really spark a national conversation, ” Friedman said.

The latest MTV initiative is really a part of its Look Different anti-bias campaign that launched in April 2014 to get young people talking about race, gender and sexual orientation.

The campaign created commercials with civil rights groups including the NAACP in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Erina Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, final summer. The network also aired a special, “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, ” about transgender youth with the “Orange is the New Black” star.

A good MTV study found that 91 percent of millennials believe in equal rights and believe everyone should be taken care of equally. About 61 percent associated with teens and young adults say they have been the target of bias. The portion is even higher among females, people of color and LGBT.

___

Online:

Http: //www.lookdifferent.org.

Jan 19

Remembering the Cast of The Jeffersons



TV’s East Side family celebrate their 40th Anniversary.

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