Monday, July 6, 2009

BET's Balancing Act

For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I caught the 2009 BET Awards. I, like most of my friends, wanted to see what BET would do in regards to honoring Michael Jackson.

The show started out o.k. with New Edition hitting all the right moves in their attempt to pay homage to the Jackson 5, even if they couldn’t keep up vocally. Jamie Fox opened with a funny parody of Jackson’s Beat It video, but after that, the show went down hill for me.

What struck me the most throughout the evening were the endless promos for BET’s summer line-up, or more specifically, two of their new reality shows… Tina & Toya and premiering later this month, Frankie & Neffe, a spin-off of the Keysia Cole’s: The Way It Is.

No, I have never been a fan of BET and yes, I’m sure the network wouldn’t make the investment to produce these programs if they weren’t confident they’d find an audience to support the programming, but damn, why does BET continuously pander to what I’d like to refer to the lowest common denominator?

Could it be that BET is attempting to provide a little balance as Black folks have ascended to some of the highest offices in the land, i.e. the President of the United States, Michelle Obama as our First Lady, U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice and White House Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett? Wouldn't it be revolutionary for BET to produce a reality show that follows the strenuous training of Scarlett Knights, Rutgers University, or follow Chris Rock's wife, Maalak, as she mentors a group of underserved Brooklyn teens through her Journey for Change program.

While so many of us are striving to put our best foot forward in our daily lives, in our communities and even beyond on the world’s stage, it seems as if BET does its best to remind us that even though you can take the girl out of the hood, it’s often very difficult to get the hood out of the girl.

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