Last week, many of us were glued to the television watching all of the Katrina drama. Similar to Kanye West, I wasn’t excited about the way that the Black people were being portrayed. Calling Black people looters and white people finders was just one point. What about professional journalists calling them refugees?
But one thing that bothered me what that as usual BET was showing videos. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that at some point BET is supposed to be a media outlet for Black culture. All of these other media outlets were allowed to spin some of these stories way out of control. For the first few days NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox News focused on how out of control things were. Many of the relief workers that could have gone into New Orleans didn’t because of the reports.
Whenever the poor programming of BET is brought up everyone is quick to assume that because it is a Viacom owned company and therefore they have no control over the content. So basically we are giving them a pass. Viacom also owns CBS, MTV, Showtime, Paramount, UPN. MTV has been covering Katrina. UPN has been covering Katrina. CBS has been covering Katrina. So we just assume that Viacom won’t allow BET, “the largest national cable network serving African-Americans, reaching more than 90 million subscribers”, change their content?
Once again, BET missed an opportunity to tell our story as it was happening. I think we are giving BET excuses and we should demand more from them and their advertisers. We should have seen Ray Nagin going crazy on the FEMA rescue attempts on BET first. We should have heard about Jabar Gibson first on BET. Instead, we were treated to a special sneak preview of The Massacre Special Edition. [And the DVD sucks!]
Sometimes in life, things are bigger than Hip-Hop. There comes a time when Dipset, G-Unit and D-Block beefs don’t matter anymore. For BET to not interupt thier regularly scheduled program is an insult to the people who were in Katrina. It’s kind of ironic that one week later BET will host S.O.S. (Saving OurSelves), raising funds for the victums of Katrina. Maybe that S.O.S. should stand for See OurSelves.
Anyway, victums of Katrina, know that while you were drowning, starving, your elders were dying and your babies were being raped, BET had plenty of videos for us nigs to watch.