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I grew up in Huntington Beach, California. I am 32 years old. When I was in high school, me and the other 10 African Americans at my high school put together a signature campaign to get the local cable provider to broadcast BET. We felt we were not represented, and we wanted to get Black programming in our neighborhood. I now regret that I ever supported what has become the most negative awful programming on television in the known universe. I do not even consider BET black anymore, and probably never should have. It is the number one enforcer, promoter, and advocate of negative Negro stereotypes. 24 hours a day it shows the entire world that we are a race of booty shaking, pimping, hoeing, materialistic, misogynistic, money hungry, Fubu wearing idiots.

I would like to start a new signature writing campaign, aimed at getting BET off of my local cable provider's program listing. I would like to put BET out of business.
Is anybody with me?

[This message was edited by blaqfist on September 16, 2003 at 10:07 AM.]

[This message was edited by blaqfist on September 16, 2003 at 10:09 AM.]
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Brother! I can't express the excitement at finding this post. I JUST emailed BET! I'm with you, do or die. Laugh or cry, until the bitter end.

I am posting this on other forums I frequent to try and gain public support. I was just about to do the same thing here when I saw your post and now I don't need to start a new thread. Letter follows

Isaiah 1;2-3
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."
To Whom It May Concern: Board of Directors,
President, and/or CEO of
Black Entertainment Television

My name is Curtis Gordon, and I am writing this letter to your company in an effort to address an issue I'd like to call your attention to. As a representative of the Black Music entertainment industry, it is of my opinion that BET share's equally in the responsibility our black musicians seem to lack. BET programs their music, show their videos, and promote their albums, all under the banner of black empowerment.

BET programming is almost exclusively black oriented, the company black controlled, all visible personalities are representative of the current black mainstream. The history and success of BET is commendable, but it is the future that concerns me. The financial success of BET pales in comparison to visible efforts to mentally empower the black people, and this is the issue I write to address.

From what I gather, not a single one of the shows in your programming is focused exclusively on black upliftment. Not a single one. Some of the videos you play, as well as artists you feature are recognized advocates for black unity and empowerment, but none of your shows are exclusively geared to promote these types of musicians and their messages.

I lay the responsibility for this failure at the feet of BET because 'black entertainment' has been the company's sole focus, and with current trends in music to promote 'pimping' or promiscuous sex, violence, and material wealth, your Black Entertainment philosophy appears to promote the same principles.

I do not wish to use this as an opportunity to verbally attack BET as irresponsible, but to challenge BET to act in the capacity it has coveted for itself: a leadership role. This is not about censure or a judgmental 'moral' perspective. It is about elevating the minds of the black people, and there is no company better able to promote black enlightenment by example than an empire as visible as BET.

For example, I witnessed Alien Ant Farm's red carpet rendition of their song 'These Days' during the BET Awards. I use this example specifically because of the title song AAF sang by way of 'crashing' the event. The chorus of the song is as follows:

These Days aren't great.
There's work to do.
Would you like to work with me?
I'd love to. Would you?

These Days are depraved.
And so are you.
I think it's something positive
and negative too.

My personal opinion concerning the lyrics, the band, or the reason 'why' they chose the BET Awards has no relevance in the issue I address whatsoever. The issue is that we black people should be more aware of the words in this song than the 'whites' who are singing it. But this is not the case, the depravity of the world has to be brought to our attention, and not only this, at the biggest, most prominent, black social event this side of the equator.

It serves to call attention to the failure of BET to address the issues raised by the event, mainly the negative contrast between black decadence in our music and white practicality in theirs.

Our black musicians are singing about material wealth, promoting materialism wherever they go, and representing the lascivious lifestyle money can provide. BET is at the forefront of this immature trend as the musicians who advocate such lifestyles are frequently featured in your programming.

In further contrast, 'white' music videos on the whole are less lewd, less materialistic, and more mentally edifying than black music videos. I'd be willing to wager that no fewer than 90% of all your video content is of this type: scantily clad women, 'musicians' in extravagant cars and clothes, embodying the very worse in us. Because sex sells, because 'blinging' is hot, and pimping is the 'thing' now. And this is what BET is now because this is the music of BET.

As I said, I did not write this as merely an opportunity to bash BET, but to upbraid and offer a suggestion that would show a good faith effort of BET's focus on the future of black people. With the sheer number of music videos and musicians who promote sound moral values, changing the video lineup of one of your shows to promote these ideals, these musicians, and to get their message out and across to the leaders of the future, our kids, would be no significant sacrifice on the behalf of BET.

But it would be a significant investment in the minds of our youth and our people.
Just as BET must take the heat for the moral decay represented in its music programming, BET can fully enjoy the honor such a responsible undertaking would undoubtedly grant. Not only this, it presents opportunity that could increase revenue and cut costs at the same time.

A live show could have members from the audience performing Q&A with featured musicians, or even 'VJ for a day' at no cost to BET, or both. Marketing would have a field day. But this is a business perspective, BET's business perspective, and not my personal one. It shouldn't be about revenue in the first place, as revenue is what is obviously driving the programming structure of BET now, noting the careless disregard for moral implications by way of featured videos.

In closing, I would like to impress upon you my vigilance concerning this effort. I will be posting this letter in its entirety on the Internet under the heading 'Letter to BET', in the hopes that there are those willing to step forward in support of my effort by informing you of their agreement.

I am not demanding BET act on impulse to avoid negative press, but I am beseeching you, and beseeching the black people, to to invest in the future of our children by actively contributing a positive message, by active participation in positive reinforcement. Mentally, spiritually, and hopefully musically.

I fully expect nothing less than careful consideration concerning this letter and its content by the management and leadership of BET. Furthermore, I will not accept anything less than affirmative action on the behalf of BET by way of public endorsement or visible example.

I recognize and comprehend the nature of the business environment of BET, and do not expect such procedure to be disregarded. But neither do I expect this letter or myself to be disregarded because of business procedure. I place the value of people above that of self and wealth, including corporations and shareholders, public or private.

The future of our people and the minds of our youth have long been disregarded by our leadership and our government by way of inaction. 'Ghetto' and 'poverty' go hand in hand with 'black' and our government and leadership have led and governed from the inception of 'black emancipation'. The black people have endured their trifling excuses, and both hands are still held out.

Excuses from those who do not have the best interests of the black American at heart is one thing. But excuses from a company that is Black America at its very heart is no less than a betrayal of the black people themselves. The executives and employees of BET are every day black men and women with the same concerns of the black men and women who watch BET everyday. If they are not watching and waiting for an official opinion on this, I will be.

I will not be ignored, disregarded, or discounted as an insignificant voice. I will bring the full force of my convictions to bear in an effort to motivate your network from complacency if complacent you remain, and not as friend, but foe.

And you can B.E.T. that on everything I Love, and I Love my people.

Your friend,
Curtis J. Gordon.

Isaiah 1;2-3
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."
Stop watching. And persuade as many others to do the same as you can.

The message will get to their advertisers.

The market will take care of the rest.

Alternatively, a boycott of advertisers will also work. The other option requires less energy.

I rarely, rarely watch BET. While surfing? Maybe.


Jim Chester

You are who you say you are. Your children are who you say you are.
Soul Doc. that was an outstanding letter, I have printed it and will pass it around. I would like to add you to my e-mail list. We need to hook up.

You can e-mail me at

I applaud the success that Robert L. Johnson, has had financially. Guy starts a business off with a 500K loan and in less then 25 years sells the company for 3 Billion. That aint bad in anybodies book. But I do have some complaints about BET that transcends making money. I find that even BET's musiq programming is wack. MTV is now playing better rap programming then BET. BET is hardly original in anything they do. They are not even on 24 hours a day. Their best programming to me was TEEN SUMMIT. When they took TEEN SUMMIT off I just about had it with them. TEEN SUMMIT was the most original program they had. TEEN SUMMITS genius was that it was the only show of it's kind on TV. Where else could you get the off the cuff opinions on life, social issues, and politics of young AAs?

BET's best show , 106th & Park, regularly beats MTV's TRL. I like 106th & Park, but besides that and Comic View BET has now programming originality.

And no Cita, Oh Drama, and the other stupid cartoon they have on don't count.
Are we getting older?....yes
Are we getting wiser?...yes

I'm not trying to spoil anyone's fun by saying that BET is garbage and it shouldn't be on the air. I've seen what the results of living the lifestyle that BET promotes, and it's not as sweet as it looks on TV. BET lacks originality (106&Park is the "black" TRL, How I'm living is the "black" CRIBS, Turnstyle is the black "Diary" etc) and creativity and it's sooooo repetitive (If they show Prison Song one more time Mad)....Gospel music and political programs deserve more than one day a week!!
Add me to the list!

I am a young un and I think BET is one of the worst thing going for black people these days. I couldn't tell you where it is on my cable channels. As you all have said, it adds nothing (positive) to Black experience ever since they took Tavis Smiley and Teen Summet off the air..

Unfortunately, many of my peers seem not to mind it so much as long as they continue to play the latest 50 Cent or Jay-Z video. Confused

My only concern would be should we advocate for change within BET or demand that it be replaced? Given the entertainment industry's track record with black oriented entertainment, would taking BET off the air result in a 20 year blackout (pun intended), because white advertizers aren't going to support something that doesn't make money, and we as a community seem to be slow in supporting positive black programming (see Teen Summit, BET Tonight, and the box office for black oriented movies that depicts black life in anything less than the stereotypical norm).
I'm fairly sure that BET stands for Black Entertainment Network, not Black Empowerment Network. You see, not every enterprise or task that black folks perform or aspire to has to be categorized as existing solely to 'empower or uplift the black race'. Thats asking a little much.

You are taking BET far too seriously. Yes, its trash and negative in its outlook, but like you said folks just as yourself fought to put it where it is. Lesson is, your actions have consequences.

Want to get it off the air? Smash your television.
I've seen more than one attempt to boycott BET in the last 8 years (that's how long I've been surfing the net) and none have seemed to taken hold. I wish you luck in your endeavor and will sign any petition. I knew they were headed downhill when they cancelled Tavis Smiley.

Sargeant is right-- their main focus is entertainment, but if it were White Entertainment Television and the white folk found it offensive or harmful to their kids it wouldn't be around long.
I was going to say, blaqfist. I don't really like BET anymore either, but they do need some serious competition. I think that if the Word Network were more widespread that it could easily rival BET. They are family and black american oriented, although I don't consider myself a Christian, I watched on my Directv often. They air movies about historically relevant black people ALL of the time. People that our children would never hear about in school. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Of course I am a LinkTV/PBS type of person....

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society
Malcolm X, 1965
The Power is the People. As one voice we can effect change. With one mind, we cannot be denied.

It always starts out small though. One person and then a group. Beore long, a mass of screaming faces determined on change. Soon after, the set faces of those who will not accept anything less.

I do not think BET or VIACOM could withstand such an onslaught.

Isaiah 1;2-3
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."
blaqfist-i understand your point, but i have to agree with those who have said it's ENTERTAINMENT.

if the dollars of "your's, mine, and theirs" is saying these are the artists we listen to, then those are the artists that are going to be shown--booty shakin, fornicating thrusts and all.

is what's being show negative to the image of the black woman? only in the mind of people who can't think beyond what they see on tv. if you see scantly clad women shakin what their momma's gave them and then go on to think ALL BLACK WOMEN are like this-there's a bigger issue. same goes for thinking all black men are rappers or gangsters. if kids are watchin it and immulating it--that's a parental issue, not a network issue.

I will agree that the entertainment value of BET has dropped off--Teen Summit was a favorite of mine as well--I would not like to see the station removed from airing. What will take it's place? If anything a strong suggestion to bring back some programming or add new programming to balance out all the booty shakin. MTV is no longer just "music" television.

i'd say until "our dollar" and "their dollar" tells those in the marketing and programming departments something different--hurt them by removing your viewership.

I read the soul doctor's post on another board I frequent. I continue to hear us complain about the content of BET. But in my estimate, it goes further. In my estimate it;s about not being able to harness our collective monetary power to own even one tv station which reflects our heritage goals etc.. We can't stay angry with Robert Johnson, every one has their own mission. Perhaps his was not be the vehicle for us. But the fact that "they" could purchase the station and then wipe off all of the quality shows in favor of "BET uncut" is signifiicant!!!
Their excuse was focus groups had stated we no longer wanted the programming!!! why didn't (don't) we own more than one national station? the Hispanics have two in the city in which I live. But if we remain dependent on others for our "voice", we will as a result be subject to it being eliminated!!

So, instead of the wisdom or commentary of Ed Gordon or Tavis Smiley we are inundated with rap videos.

A entire mind set or generation of "entertainers", sling low life behavior to our young people in the form of music!

Where were we when Murder, Inc was formed? How about Death Row Records? When did killing and spending your life in jail become our mantra? Back in the day, the Miracles and Temptations sang about "my baby"..meaning their true love. There were no lyrics about violence or criminal behavior.

Now, kids listen to lyrics suggesting they "lick it before you kick it".

let's take a quick view;1 million Blacks in jail. 70% of kids born to single parents. 1/3 of AA's live in poverty. One's thoughts preceed one's actions. If we are being "entertained" via entertainers and music which glamorize low life increasingly becomes acceptable, it becomes a mind set.

Brazeningly,any number of entertainers are now glorifying pimps and prostitues.

Is it really all about getting rich, hair weaves, clothes and driving SUV's? Even the rich entertainers aren't insulated from the low life, thug mentality they have glorified. They are being shot dead. They are going to jail! We have allowed the thug,gangster, and "hoes" (whore) mentality to capture our kids minds and souls.

But okay,we are here. We need a national focus. We need to coalesce our outrage and say enough is enough. We should battle via the Black media, ministry as well as national organizations. We don't have to call a press conference to holler and scream until we are fully ready to get serious.

Instead of crying "why doesn't Jesse do something" let's mount a three prong attack from the grass roots level. Yes, we will need a national spokeperson but..

We have to engage intelligently w/o all the rhetoric and half cocked emotionalism one often sees after a disaster in the hood.

It is a fight that we have to undertake, for we are fighting for the souls of our future; our kids.

[This message was edited by mirahjay on September 17, 2003 at 01:14 AM.]
Well said, mirahjay, if my hands were long enough I would love to reach out, hug you and call me my brother. Keep spreading the wisdom, for I am sure that if enough people like you get together and ACT, we may yet rescue the black situation. God bless you.

Is it just talk or are you for solutions? If you are GENUINELY interested in solving black problems? Then join us at
Mirahjay has the type of fire and determination I do. I'm tired of pats on the back, and 'good job', 'nice work'. I want to hear, 'what do you want *me* to do'?

Talk is cheap folks. It always has been. It will never change. Action speaks louder than words, and that is why I sent that email to BET. Action. No more words.

*WE* have to provide the momentum. WE have to provide the labor. WE have to supply the time. NO ONE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR US. We've been waiting for 'them' since we got here.

What really grates me is that we usually just stand around watching other folk do their part, lending 'moral' support. Which is why blacks are disjointed, factioned, and divided among oursevlves now.

Yes, we need more Mirahjahs. More determination. More frustration, aggravation, and people willing to channel their emotions into action. We can talk about it all day long. We can hope for it with all of our hearts. We can wait on it for the rest of our lives.

But we can CHANGE it *now*. We are already tired, and halve already 'enough'. They are not listening because we are only 'talking'.

A 24 hour 'black' out of BET would send a message. One time or one day out of the week to send a message to them and to the rest of America at the same time. It wouldn't be just words people. It would be action.

Isaiah 1;2-3
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."
I'll admit, I still watch BET from time to time, only during Comic View and when they show old-school videos. But I say BET has been a lost cause ever since Robert Johnson sold the station to Viacom,

It's been a lost cause when Viacom moved BET out of Harlem to it's CBS station downtown

It's been a lost cause when BET fired Tavis Smiley without any adequate replacement.

It's been a lost cause when it succeeded in being the black bastard twin of Empty-V.

It's all just part of that media consolidation game that is quietly stifling a diversified medium of ideas. That's why I'm looking forward to the new all black news channel that will probably premiere next year. Can't be any worse than the manure pool at BET.
Originally posted by whatzgoingon:
Does anybody else see the success or failure of this new black news channel (as it is projected) as a key indicator of the power or lack thereof of the black community?

Our power is real and meaningful. We spend many billions of dollars in this country. Like the Sun, though, it is diffuse. We need to focus it like the lens of a magnifying glass into a laser of influence and power. That is our challenge.

There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
BET sucks!! Its management sucks, its ownership sucks, its programming sucks, its advertisements suck, its website sucks, its website's message boards suck, and any and all of its affiliates suck too!!! It is the worst cable television channel on TV, bar none, and it can't be taken off the air fast enough for me!

Now, with that said, I will send letters, e-mails and any other type of correspondence to BET, Viacom, and any advertisers that get listed here ('cause I'm not about to turn to the channel to see who they are!), and as far as participating in a "black" out, I blacked them out years ago, so I'm already participating!

I don't think a boycott of them would really work, though. For one, they're white-owned, and they just wouldn't get it!! For another, even with losing viewship in the numbers they did after Tavis left and from them getting rid of their news-oriented programming, they will still continue to broadcast, because I once read an article that said that young (teenaged) white kids are more than half their viewship!! So they will continue to cater to them no matter what!

Letter writing and the threatening of advertisers are indeed effective, though. It seems to be what corporate powers listen and respond to. So I would encourage all to write .. not just today, but every week, until the message is received ... and then, with a lot of good luck, we may be able to ruin them once the new Black TV station comes onboard and becomes more popular than BET is now.

Oh ... and did I say I thought they really, really SUCKED?? Confused

Free your mind, and the rest will follow.
We're getting older, yes, but that doesn't mean that we lack understanding. We have to stop holding on to this notion of moral relativism. There is something wrong with the constancy of the message being portrayed on that station and in hip hop music generally. It's not okay for radio stations to broadcast a rapper praising a young guy as having "pimp potential" (the P.I.M.P. remix with 50 Cent & Snoop). It's not okay, under an objective standard of judgment, for young people to be inundated with glorifications and encouragement to engage in criminal behavior. I love hip hop, but I'm becoming more and more outraged by what entertainment media is getting away with.

I like live jazz, but I don't like listening to it on the radio. But a couple of weeks ago, I had no choice but to either turn the radio off or listen to "Jazz 88," because I had kids in the car. I couldn't navigate through an unfamiliar area at night and concentrate on monitoring the lyrics at the same time, and my girlfriend doesn't know enough song lyrics to have done the job, so we had to make this b.s. choice. When I was a kid, in the 70s and early 80s, adults didn't have to worry about the messages popular black music was promoting. I have to agree, it's time to do something.
It's true, letter writing works. An idea came to me earlier today and I decided to present it to all of you. Please tell me what you think; My idea is that each of us call and/or fax our respective cable tv providers on October 5th.

I chose this day because in the 80's the Chicago based Soft Sheen products launched a campaign to register folks to vote on October 5th. It was called "Come alive October 5".

Certainly you don't have to wait until then to call and or write. October 5th is a Sunday which can be a good day of the week or not to do so. However the idea is to inundate our cable tv providers on the same day, with our outrage ove BET progamming. Hopefully, our collective complaints will get their attention.They in turn hopefully will glimpse the fact that one of their suppliers is offensive to the African American community.

I am suggesting this strategy because BET is typically part of the basic tv package. In our letters, calls and faxes we can ask them to drop, eliminate or ask BET to change their programming.

I chose a date a few weeks away because we need to mount some momentum and notify as many folks as possible to chime in.

We can spread the word via various message boards as well as via our individual email lists.

Mine is just one idea. I await your ideas, as well as any comment about my suggestion. Remember now, I said that we have to engage this campaign on more than one front.Up until now, we have all been lamenting the same frustration alone. It's time to join forces.

In the meanwhile. take care everyone.

[This message was edited by mirahjay on September 17, 2003 at 11:09 PM.]
October 5th sounds great, being a sunday and all. I'm sure BET gets most of its black viewers on Sundays, and a Sunday would make the most impact.

We don't even have to be exclusive to BET and their sponsors, we could send a letter of our intent to Local and National News stations to call attention to our efforts, even MTV, VH1, and well known black radio personalities, Tom Joyner comes to mind. I posted this letter at his forum too.

After this point, it would be in the public eye. I'm thinking about spreading the 5th on the forums in my 'letter to BET' Thread. On another website I frequent, one of the members have started a petition with my letter, we can focus on the day with MirahJay's suggetion.

I love it.

Isaiah 1;2-3
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."
I am with you; BET should be off the air. It now only serves as major extension of the propaganda machine. When it first came on the air I waited with much enthusiasm of what it could become in time; time when on and instead of BET rising to the expectations of the African American community, it only degenerated to the lowest of its potential. I was first forgiving with taking into consideration that BET had so much very stiff competition in the market, however, once I knew that BET had a seat on the stock exchange -- that let me know that BET could afford to show whatever it saw fit on the air - - and evidently that is just and only just what they did. Now BET is no longer black owned. BET and everyone that makes money via BET should be boycotted by the African American community until BET can show more than the most vulger music and dances 24 hours per day...IT IS TIME FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS TO INCLUDE AFRICAN AMERICANS IN ANY BOYCOTTING AND DEMANDS FOR WHAT IS RIGHT AND DESERVING OF OUR COMMUNITIES, OUR CHILDREN AND OUR PEOPLE AS A WHOLE.
Originally posted by daoodobaid:

Can you fax over the petition to me?

Fax: (213) 977-1665

Actually, I was looking for email participation. But since then, I had the bright idea to organize a grassroots movement by the name of 'F.r.e.e.d.o.m.'. It stands for 'Freedom Revolution to Establish the Egalitarian Deportment Of all Mankind'.

Basically it is the 'dream' of Martin Luther spelled out in 'Freedom'. I'm writing a petition describing the ideals behind the movement with a request for information, such as name and email address, if you want to be a part of it.

My motivation is to give the common people a voice. All I kept hearing since writing this letter to BET, is how it has no formal impact. So creating a formal organization like F.R.E.E.D.O.M. would lend credibility to a demand for attention, even if there is only one member at the moment. Smile

Isaiah 1;2-3
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."

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