An Open Letter to BET Networks

Dear BET:

You came on the scene in the Year of 1980. Two years before I was born, and yet I can remember when you provided the Black Community with a positive outlet for our creativity. From shows such as Video Soul with Donnie Simpson, and later BET News, and BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, you were able to show the world that Intelligent, Dignified African Americans not only existed, but were able to strive towards greatness everyday.

So what happened? Did my generation miss the memo that said BET was about to become Coontastic Television. Did that bulletin come attached to the free chicken and watermelon you were passing out at 106 & Park after you got rid of Free & AJ? Was it a conscious decision to slowly ruin anyone born after 1995, or was that just an added bonus? Is there a reason that anyone over the age of 23 can’t watch your network without feeling that they have somehow become more ignorant?

I stopped watching BET when I went to College. I think that says alot about your station.

I started college in 1999. For ten years, I have been ashamed that your station existed. You started the destruction of our race slowly, I will give you that. I wouldn’t have noticed it until at least 2005 had it not been for my younger cousins. You started with getting rid of the news shows. Because really, what black person wants to know what is going on in the rest of the world. Replacing the news with BET Uncut was a HUGE step in the Ruin all Black Youth Direction. The next step, getting rid of the College Educated hosts of the one show people actually watched. Introducing us to HitZ from the Streets and to taking us into Cita’s World, I mean who doesn’t like a computer animated ignorant black woman?

Finally, Bob Johnson was able to hand over the reigns to that Black Wunderkind Debra Lee! We as a people just KNEW with a black woman running things, BET was about to get it together. Boy were we wrong! First, you decided it would be a good deal to stop showing videos all together! Except for BET Uncut, because that was making so many young prostitutes rich. (The Mockery that is 106 & Park isn’t even on my radar, thus it’s lack of acknowledgment as an actually TV Show.)

And of course, what the world needed was more “Reality” TV! Because seeing Poor Black People in real life, is SO much better than trying to educate them. Again, I must give you props for the way it was handled. You didn’t just push “College Hill” – the only show about College that doesn’t show people actually going to school – on us right away. You worked your way up to it!

Kudos to you for BET ComicView: The Coontastic Comedy show. Originally hosted by a Black Woman in the Kitchen and Renaldo Ray. I am sure getting him was a FIND! Then you kept the laughs coming with Spring Bling and Baldwin Hills and Finally, the PIECE DE RESISTANCE, the Frankie and Neffie Show. Because every Coontastic character should get their own show. It was bad enough that Keyshia Cole had to include them on her show while trying to show people how she rose above. Now we have to see them every week! Yes BET! Score one for the Team!

But, now BET. Let’s get down to the reason I am actually writing this letter. The 2009 Coon Awards ft. a “Tribute” to the Pop Icon Michael Joe Jackson. Where do I start? Can I first say, I will never watch your station again. I don’t care if Jesus has decided to come back and prove that he is really a negro, I won’t be watching. Honestly, he will probably just go on MTV and be done with it.

Debra Lee, you disgust me. You are the scum between my toes. To actually get on that stage, and ask people to clap for the great “efforts” your staff made is like saying a Jewish Lawyer isn’t Wealthy. Just POINTLESS. Besides the fact that Michael Jackson’s father was in the audience (with Your Favorite Heavily Activated Activist Al “Make It About Me” Sharpton), did you really think that no one would know how horrible of a job you had done?

The Sound Quality was atrocious, the Lighting was off, and half the performers were drunk and/or high. Have you no Couth? Have you no respect for the one black man other than Barack Obama that made black people mean something to the world? When is it EVER acceptable not to have at least a 30 second delay on a live taping? While I did chuckle when Eddie Levert made his slip up, I did not find it funny to see Lil’ Wayne tell me to “Put Up my hands for Michael Jackson in that Bitch.”

Every single performance should have been cancelled! Every single one. If you are going to dedicate a performance to someone, they event should embody that person’s spirit. Michael Jackson did NOT sing about Fucking Every Girl in the World. He did not Hop out of a Bed with his Swag on. He did not ever sing about Birthday Sex. SUBTLETY is what was required at this event. Respect and Dignity. This was an EPIC FAIL for your company, EPIC. I hope you lose all your advertising partners for that Travesty of a show. If you are going to do it, do it well. Or Just Don’t Do It At ALL!

Michael Jackson expected perfection in EVERYTHING he did. I was actually sad to see Janet Jackson come on the stage, because I knew she had seen what came before her. Young Money and their anthem of Ignorance. Have you heard a Michael Song? Did you watch the videos you have been showing for the last few days? Did you take ANY of that into account? Better yet, did you care?

Singing in my kitchen while washing Dishes two nights in a row was a better tribute than what you did. Going to Karaoke and singing Michael Jackson Songs badly is a better tribute. Blasting P.Y.T. out of my car on the freeway is a better tribute. My friends and I had planned a better tribute via Twitter, FaceBook, and MySpace. EPIC FAIL. I can’t say that enough.

BET you now epitomize everything that Dr. Martin Luther King died to prevent. You have SINGLE HANDEDLY destroyed an entire generation of black children. I hope you are proud of yourselves. I will leave you with a lyric from one of the numerous awesome songs by Michael Jackson:

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now

I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame
They’re throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can’t believe this is the land from which I came

You know I do really hate to say it
The government don’t wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be . . .

All I Wanna Say is That
They Don’t Really Care about Us

M.J. Williams


One thought on “An Open Letter to BET Networks

  1. I must say that i agree with everything you written about this performance. It was disappointing that i could not allow my children to see this. I remember when i was a child watching an awards program was a family event.

    This show was not about M.J. it was about the people performing and using his name to get attention.

    I know that not much time was given to put this show together, so on that note they should have stuck with a doing a video tribute to him. I think everyone would have appreciated that.

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