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Monday, July 09, 2007

We are taking Our Scalpels To BET because it definitely has CANCER-This Thursday, Next On Afronerd Radio

There must be a kind of synergy (for justified criticism) in the atmosphere regarding BET and its cultural relevance. I readily admit that as of late, I have been haunting the halls of Reginald Hudlin's (BET's president of entertainment) official site discussing the many failings of cable's preeminent African-American broadcasting channel. Initially, I visited Hudlin's boards to respond to a post pertaining Christopher Priest's commentary (addressed in my entry a few days ago) but it eventually segued into a tete a tete between President Hudlin and I. Suffice it to say, Hudlin falls into the same category as Russell Simmons or Kevin Liles-a master of deflection. Direct questions are never answered, with society being the culprit for substandard Black imagery-not an inkling of responsibility is placed toward a media outlet in the business of said imagery. Check out the verbal tennis match in question, courtesy of hudlinentertainement.com:

A comment from yours truly:

Again, I never said that BET should be blamed for all Black societal ills.....but when you factor in that BET is still part of the "media umbrella"....what exactly IS their responsibility?......EVERYONE bears some responsibility when it comes to our collective image. Millions of dollars are funnelled into the media (BET notwithstanding) by advertisers due to perceived influence.....again, MILLIONS for betting on influence but when it comes to behavior, attitude and world perception....it just so happens to stop there....c'mon folks it just doesn't make any sense. When you are seeing a one note message it amounts to propaganda....and what about the payola scandals that are involved in radio?...where certain artists were played because of payoffs to the exclusion of OTHER artists.....you cats can't be this naive. I repeat....I hear emotion and deflection from you guys but nothing substantive.

Questions that haven't been answered from the board members:

Why is it OK for Stephen Hill to decline certain artists on a whim (De La Soul, Little Brother) from video/airplay?

Is it "OK" to talk disparagingly about the audience not being intelligent enough for the aforementioned artists?

Why did Stephen Hill literally run away from Byron Hurt when asked similar questions (again asked respectfully) during Hurt's documentary, Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes? When asked these questions, everyone runs away....it has to stop.

Do you think it's a great message that the Black community's preeminent cable channel discarded it's News division? Latin television (which is far more expansive) did not.
It says Black folks don't care about news........and guess what...we're proving that.

MTV's TRL actually has hosts that speak English.....why do we have to speak in stereotypical slang? AJ spoke quite well balancing out Free and the ratings were quite respectable at that time. Now both hosts do the youknowwhati'msayin' hustle.....And in answer to Mr. Hudlin's coonery question....think back to Tom Cruise's appearance on 106 to promote the last Mission Impossible movie.....Ving Rhames eating chicken, "bling" baby presents given to Cruise(because that's what the "natives" do)....one would forget that Harlem is supposed to be the apex of Black culture.....I could bring up countless instances of minstrel-like behavior that would have Lincoln Perry spinning in his grave.

Last years BET awards was another awkward affair....dignitaries like Harry Belafonte in attendance with the same type of shenanigans like the 50 cent faux pas.....it looked awkward....the NAACP(as an affair) and especially The Essence Awards are class acts through and through...

One more question....Is it wrong to see a more diversified musical landscape on a Black music channel that does fit the demographics that Mr. Hudlin alluded to?

Can someone answer these questions, without the assumption that I'm blaming all the ills of Blackness at the feet of the BET family?

And now Hudlin's Response:

So you're just ignoring what I said earlier about the news division? Because it doesn't make your point?

There is a more diversified musical landscape. It's just targeted. Sounds like you would enjoy the music on BET J...jazz, neo-soul, and none of 50 Cent and his like.

Of course, that's not your point, is it? There are options, but you are offended by the fact that black artists you don't like exist at all. Well, sounds like America isn't the place for you.

You whine about diversification, but when we do a show that brings pop, soul, gospel under one roof...a show that celebrates black achievement in film, television, music and humanitarian efforts...you call it "awkward". Harry Belafonte didn't find it awkward. He was glad to be there. And the audience was VERY GLAD to have him there. All those artists you have contempt for were BLOWN AWAY by his speech and were inspired by him. Which is why I asked for him to be there in the first place.

But you're too busy writing people off to think they are capable of change and growth.

You find black slang "cooning?". I feel sorry for you. You have internalized the values of white supremacy that even white people ignore.

I must be delusional and out of touch (check the video above for confirmation). I also believe that Hudlin forsook his Harvard training for ghettospeak when it came time to converse with Hollywood execs for funding his past movie projects. Riiight. But it's good enough for the kids at 106 & Park? We're going to dissect BET and it's cultural significance this Thursday at 9pm (eastern). We would like to hear from folks who suppport BET's product as well as those who feel that the station serves fine minstrel cuisine. Give us a call, live with your thoughts at 646-915-9620, IM/email (via afronerdradio@yahoo.com) or the chatroom feature at afronerdradio dot com. We're pulling no punches, so be there and be square. In addition, Shay of Booker Rising has just provide the latest info on BET's upcoming content changes-don't hold your breath in excitement.

For the entire exchange between myself (under the moniker, "professor zoom"), Hudlin and his board members, click on the link below:

Hudlin Entertainment Forum-Why Professor Zoom Thinks BET needs to diversify it's funds

And of course, Our Show for this Thursday:

BET-Black Entertainment or Something Else?

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