Monday, June 28, 2010

BET and its Deal with the Devil

by Eco.Soul.Intellectual

Have you noticed the plethora of shitty awards shows lately? Let's take MTV, the Oscars, the Espy, the annual porn awards (uhh maybe not that), and we can go down the list.

But the one that I'm going in on today is my all time favorite failure, BET's annual F-list celebs, cooch fest and fake-thug fuckery known as the BET Awards.

Between the BET Awards, Soul Train Music Awards and the Brandy/Ray J reality show, I shake my head and think, "What a waste of airtime space."

You know what is scarier, the fact that there aren't any shows starring black folk on television. And I am not talking about "Tiny & Toya" or any Reality TV series, that is just a cheap way for networks to deal with heavy financial losses in the era of Internet while they figure out the next gigantic exploitative financial scheme other than overpriced advertising.

With that said, some people view BET as the only time to watch diversity other than the token black, Latino, or Asian that appears on CSI, House or Grey's Anatomy. Yes, please be afraid.

What has been even more of a squander is BET the network, also known to me as Bullshit Entertainment TV. The only shows carrying that half-ass cable channel are "106 & Park" and the Sunday gospel shows that feature pastors with 1983 gherri curls and thousand dollar suits sweating and preaching religious feel-good lies to half of a congregation living in upper-class poverty.

And my all-time unfavorite, "106 & Park" is a prime environment and training site for pedophiles. You have two hosts in their mid-to-late 30s, playing videos of soon-be-grandfathers such as P-Diddy who is making like his 10th comeback, in crowd full of tweens and hot-booty adolescents who are ready to pop, lock and drop it for the first star to blow them a kiss.

All you need is a fake east-coast accent like Rocsi (from NOLA) and Terrence (from N. Carolina), a little music, some brand named clothes, and you have at least three teens on your team.

And if I pass by that station and see the film Diary of a Mad Black Woman, a horribly-written homo-erotic Christian-zealous stage play one more time I'm going to come out of my skin. And if there is another Baby Boy replay, I think me and my mama will get pregnant by Jodie or get ripped from asshole to vagina by one of Ving Rhames' jump-fucking scenes.

With the ongoing financial depression, it has been shown through government documents that the overexpsure of highly-hyped, low-production shows and professional athletics such as FIFA, NBA Finals, Wimbeldon, French Open, the Golf Master's, and the list of other sports, is often used to quell the savage beast of the masses. Check out the baseball frenzy on the radio during the 1920s Depression.

Nevertheless, BET was not always this way. There were actually some pretty good, original shows, news, and black political thought up until the late 1990s. In fact, BET was in many ways, a social-political-and cultural hub for black folk who could not break into a very whitewashed entertainment or news industry.

Once upon a time, being on BET meant something.

Lets not forget, MTV did not to show Michael Jackson's videos when it launched in the 1980s. Back in the day, BET, was all black folks had as far as cable television was concerned.

But let me tell you a little about one of BET's deals with the Devil that has led to its demise. I remember it well, I was an entertainment reporter then. I will start with a BET press junket that I went to in the late 90s or early 2000s. Since BET supplied the publication I worked for with lots of entertainment material and advertisement, I was damn near obliged to go. Yup, that's how the press works, the newsroom is always darkened by an advert-man.

Well, I went to this junket and Robert L. Johnson was there to introduce BET's latest channel. The reporters were thinking, "Finally, a political station or one that focused on more than videos." We were so stupid, it was the exact opposite, it turned out to be a soft porn channel with a name I cannot remember.

After Johnson gave his warm and fuzzy speech in front of black and white sleazy investors, a black male reporter asked Johnson why he chose a soft-porn station out of all the things he could have launched. Then the reporter added to his inquiry that Johnson alreardy received heavy criticism for cutting socio-cultural political shows and even the news from the already existing BET.

And that is when the coon came out.

Johnson said something to the fact that BET was about entertainment and if he wanted to do something on entertainment then that was what he would do. Of course he said it with a fuck you tone and a couple of F-bombs to the reporter. It was quite nasty, and I was frankly disgusted.

Here I must mention that Johnson's former wife (who now openly talks about his gazillion affairs and domestic abuse) didn't even let their children watch BET because of its content! Also, I must mention that Johnson was the guy who insinuated Obama to be a common criminal in his support with Clinton back in the presidential campaign.

Okay, now back to the story...

Porn & Hip Hop

Well, the soft-porn venture did not work out well, but something else happened. BET became a breeding ground for the merger of porn and hip-hop.

It was around the 90s when porn companies began to invest heavily in hip-hop. Larry Flint, the owner of Hustler Magazine had experimented with a hip-hop magazine called, Rap Pages, a West-Coast version of The Source.

Though Rap Pages could not mess with The Source, there was something to be said about over-sexualized themes and frequent messages of materialism and consumerism in 1990s rap. Plus there was a trend with the hip-hop video models---most came from the porn world located in NOHO, or North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and the Valley right outside of city of the Los Angeles.

Logistically, this was perfect because BET has production sets in Burbank and corporate housing the Valley, not far from porn industry headquarters. In fact, this goes for all of the entertainment industry who often preyed on artists via lots of drugs and freaky sex.

As hip-hop became heavily infused with drugs, strippers, sex, money and murder, the porn industry banked on the destructive lifestyles of artists and their entourages. Plus in black strip clubs, the music of hip-hop and its latest uncut songs became the preferred music of choice.

Simultaneously, hip-hop became BET's bread-and-butter, especially after Donnie Simpson, the former host of Video Soul left. After the failure of the soft-porn station, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that loosened content regulations, BET put on a late-night show called "BET Uncut" a video showcase that featured strip-club hip-hop or videos that were sexually explicit.

The most popular video was "Tip Drill" from Nelly, noted for displaying a mansion full of bikini-clad or naked-black women dancing for money.

With hip-hop being bankrolled by the porn-industry, videos and songs that magnified sex, money, drugs, violence, and misogyny were a BET staple. Silently, Bob Johnson who profitted from ill-gotten gains and brought a once politically powerful network to its knees by giving blow jobs better than Superhead to corporatists, sold BET to Viacom in 2003. And the network has been falling ever since.

BET Awarding Who?

And so I shake my head at an awards show that is totally constructed through money and power players about who is the new urban-it person. You know when a black star has fallen from white graces when they appear on BET, a la Kanye West and Chris Brown.

But one thing remains the same in BET that was apparent years ago. Light-skinned folks get all the glory. Copycat Nikki Minja, Wannebe Lauryn Hill in the body of Drake, and the new white token, Justin Timberlake aka Justin Bieber are reifying the bleached side of Black.


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