Black Exploitation Television. Barely Entertaining Television. Black Embarrassment Television.

Whatever you want to call it, BET’s been under fire these days. The protests about Hot Ghetto Mess grew so loud, that the news of the upcoming show and the petition against it got airtime on MSNBC, CNN, CBS, and the BBC. There was a pretty interesting article in the Washington Post about Jam Donaldson, the creator of the Hot Ghetto Mess website.

Donaldson herself is a polarizing figure, but she’s obviously given deep thought to her goals with Hot Ghetto Mess. In part, the Washington Post article reveals that the genesis for Hot Ghetto Mess, the emotions behind that slogan, “we got to do better,” came from interacting with poor people with “the victim mentality” during her work as a legal aid attorney. She gives an interesting quote from the end of the article: “Someone sent me an e-mail [and] said he loved the site and said he was from the KKK,” she says. “I don’t really care about that. Black people know what I’m saying is true. Everyone knows it’s true. We have to get beyond that. We’re stifling our growth as long as we’re obsessed with what white people think.” Besides, she adds: “We all need a voice to challenge ourselves. Sometimes you have to be shocking.”

That website IS quite shocking. Besides the photos we’ve all already seen – the hood prom photos, the ludicrous hair show styles, Britney Spears free-falling through her meltdown, there are some heartbreaking pictures in the Just Sad category, of children being posed with guns, bottles of alcohol and blunts, while their half-naked mothers strike their best King Magazine poses. The website also offers a Not Ghetto section as a counterpoint — however it’s worth noting that the section hasn’t been updated since December 2006.

In my view, saying Hot Ghetto Mess is going to help people to change their behavior is like saying that will prevent people from performing stupid stunts and hurting themselves. Or saying that watching Cops will help to keep people out of jail. Or Maximum Exposure helped to steer people clear of extreme sports. It’s a disingenuous theory. At worst, Hot Ghetto Mess serves to reinforce existing stereotypes. At best, it’s a confused, mixed message that isn’t going to effectively deliver any kind of message to its “intended audience.” (I’m still unclear on who exactly is supposed to learn from the website or the program).

Before the show made it to broadcast, the protests were flying around thick and furious. I got multiple e mails asking me why I hadn’t chimed in, asking me to sign the petitions made by many of the sites I admire and respect — big shout out to What About Our Daughters who flew the flag high for stopping the buffoonery. But here’s why I didn’t sign anything.

I rarely sign petitions, and if I do sign, it has to be something I feel strongly about, and am informed about. For example, the last petition I signed was to free the Jena 6. (Now that’s an issue worth reading about. Let’s hear more about THAT story, mainstream media).

I also held the impression that petitions didn’t actually change anything. But the Jena 6 had their sentences reduced, and Hot Ghetto Mess changed its name to the grammatically challenged We Got To Do Better as the drumbeats of protest grew louder. So maybe petitions CAN make some kind of change, when enough people pay attention. I definitely think the media attention played a part in the careful editing of the show. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before I jumped on the BET-go-to-hell bandwagon, I wanted to reserve my opinion until I actually saw the first episode. While I was mulling over what I had to say about Hot Ghetto Mess, it occurred to me that I haven’t actually WATCHED BET in months. Maybe even years. Probably since I graduated from college, because back in those days I’d be home all afternoon and could easily leave AJ and Free on as background buzz, just to catch the latest videos.

I grew up watching Video Soul and Teen Summit. Caribbean Rhythms was on our TV every weekend (I really, really miss that show), and my brothers definitely used to watch Comicview back in the day when it was actually worth watching. But as BET began to change — Miss Cita was a turning point, in my opinion. Uncut was another — I stopped watching it. Completely. So I decided, if I’m gonna diss Hot Ghetto Mess, I need to put it in context. Let me at least see what the kids are watching nowadays.

I came home from work this week and put on 106th and Park. And lo and behold, who should be on it but CharlieMurphy, plugging his new show. It was like a sign. Terrence and Rocsi were asking CharlieMurphy what the show was all about. He gave a very careful answer. “The show is based on the website Hot Ghetto Mess (I found it hilarious how he turned his mouth a little away from the mic as he said the name of the site. Terrence and a few background audience members even giggled a little). And uh, you know, everybody thought initially that what we was gonna be doing is just showing clips and making fun of people in the clips. But that’s not what we’re doing. What we’re doing is showing clips, and then there’s dialogue about what you just finished looking at. And they brought me on to host because I’ll do it in a funny way, as opposed to trying to beat somebody over the head with it. I’m not here to preach, or be a politician. Just hey – one brother helping another, you know what I’m sayin’?” Cue applause.

Charlie added that he sees it as a show that will help and entertain people, and when Rocsi surprises him with a personal question, “what can you personally do better,” he starts rambling about having patience, and that leads to an awkward chat about air travel drama. (perhaps interviews aren’t 106th and Park’s strong suit. And full disclosure — I’ve interviewed Charlie Murphy for my job before. He doesn’t give great interview. And please don’t call me a hater, I’ve had awesome interviews with several other comedians, including Bruce Bruce who was very friendly and charming, and just this week, the hilarious Judah Friedlander. I think Bob Saget was the best comedian I’ve interviewed so far).

Back to Rocsi, Terrence, and CharlieMurphy. What can we expect from the show, CharlieMurphy? “You can expect number one, to laugh. Because I’m there, so you gotta laugh. But, you’re gonna also learn something. The show is basically holding a mirror up to America, you know what I’m saying? It’s not just talking about black people, it’s talking about everybody. Everybody that fits within... [awkward Mr. Roboto hand gestures as way of explanation] you know, the parameters — is gonna be addressed. And it’s gonna be addressed by me, and it’s gonna be my humor, and we gonna have some fun, trust me. Yeah.” Cue applause. Oh, moments like that are why I need to learn how to create my own YouTube clips. “But we’re gonna learn something!” he adds again. “We’re gonna learn something, that’s the main thing!” Later he tells people to send in clips through “If it fits the perameters, trust me, we gonna blast on ’em! We gonna blast on ’em! Don’t get blasted on by CharlieMurphy, because… we got to do better.” Alrighty then.

With a sinking feeling, I decided to watch the show last night.

CharlieMurphy comes strutting out onto a set straight out of Monsterpiece Theater and immediately fixes the camera with the crazy eye. The first video clip was for Reh Dogg’s Why Must I Cry, which any loyal Crunk & Disorderly or FourFour reader is well familiar with. I must admit, I cracked up laughing at the second clip, which was a terrible version of the national anthem. The third clip was one of those God-awful Mz. Peaches videos, which piss me off simply because there are SO many people and little kids participating in them. Parody or not, I’m just not a Mz. Peaches fan. Ugh.

Midway through there’s a segment break to lead to a series of embarrassing commercials. The screen reads “And now for a word from our sponsers.” Sponsers? We got to do better, indeed. Start by getting a proofreader and some decent writers for the segments.

The “Street Walking” segments were recycled and sad. One question — what does NAACP stand for? — floored almost everyone who was asked. One dude replies, “NWACP? NAACP? I never actually really put it out there like that.” They throw up some photographs of historic African Americans, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks… but there’s no context as to who they are. The photos come directly after a “Street Walking” segment where people admit they don’t know how many African Americans are on the Supreme Court. So here’s an opportunity to provide the answer and give a little edutainment, gone to waste. Another question — when did slavery end? — stumps the crowd. Way too many people start out guessing years that begin with “19.” Then, there’s a very jarring edit to Bid ‘Em In, a song performed by poet and playwright Oscar Brown and brilliantly animated by Neal Sopata. It’s easily the most stirring and interesting thing on the show so far. Then they cut to a commercial for Hell Date. SMH.

The show concluded with CharlieMurphy in a smoking jacket — again with the alarmingly intense Debo glare into the camera. Why you so mad, CharlieMurphy? He starts musing about ways in which he can better himself. “I should be watching a whole lot less TV and reading a whole lot more books,” he says, pounding on an antique-looking book. I half-expected them to cut to another controversial viral video with a mixed message — Read A Book by Bomani D’Mite Jones. But they’ll probably save that one for another week. CharlieMurphy pretends to read as the end credits roll, and he’s pretending to read a sex scene. Way to completely undercut the attempt at a positive message you gave at the end there, dude. Somewhere, Dave Chappelle is burying his head in his hands.

So what lessons were there to be learned from Hot Ghetto Mess — excuse me, We Got To Do Better? Here’s all I was able to glean.

1. It’s cool to laugh at people who aren’t as smart as you, or who aren’t from the same socio-economic background as you. It’s cool to be classist, and to stratify black society into “us” and “them.” Even if you’re from the “parameters” that Charlie Murphy spoke so eloquently about. It’s cool. Laugh till it hurts.

2. BET’s other programs such as Hell Date and the upcoming Remy Ma show are probably going to be more embarrassing and destructive than We Got to Do Better. Don’t get me started on Who’s Your Caddy. Methinks that BET sees its regular viewers as ignorant.

3. This show was supposed to entertain and enlighten, right? It did neither. It was a haphazard rehash of VH1’s Web Junk 2.0, except less funny by half.

So BET, here’s my two cents on how YOU can do better. Stop throwing stones inside of your glass house. Don’t shove trash down our throats during the day and try to criticize it when the night comes. Ideally, this channel could be a powerful platform for intelligent discourse, or it could at the very least provide a balance between education and entertainment, if it cut back on reinforcing negative stereotypes and made an effort at nourishing the minds of the public it’s simultaneously exploiting. We’re hungry for programs that spark the kind of thought and discussion our community needs to have, but this isn’t the way forward.

BET, if you want to escape from under the scrutiny of the public eye, think of the wide variety of black people who are looking to your channel for entertainment. Many of your viewers are people with education and intelligence and dignity. Cut back on the trashy videos, oversexed reality shows, and endless Jamie Foxx show repeats, go back to the programming table and try again.

So, bellas and fellas, did you watch the show last night? What did you think?

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angieforya says:
July 26, 2007, 11:17 am
I think those that do not like BET should watch more of TV One...everything cannot please everybody...there are those who like BET and it fits their who is to say that it is wrong...I just say dont watch the show if you don't like the you said...just dont support it...but in the end...we will all never be on the exact same page of what is entertainment and what is "bafoonery". Some may hate TV One because it just does not fit their personality...I do not watch BET unless it is a music award show or the recent show Baldwin Hills.
Auragirl says:
July 26, 2007, 11:24 am
I did not catch the show last night, but I heard some of the discussion about it on Paula Zahn on CNN. Personally, I do think the show perpetuates stereotypes. I COMPLETELY agree with the statement you made: "Ideally, this channel could be a powerful platform for intelligent discourse". With the advent of many new reality shows and the growing criticism of BET, I have been thinking a lot about the channel and what it is and is not doing. Millions of people watch BET...BET has the power to do many positive things and to affect change in the black community. Sure, they have "A healthy BET", but I believe BET could really take it to the next level. I'm not saying BET should completely abandon entertainment programs, but they should find a healthy medium between RESPONSIBLE entertainment and intellectual programming.
Ms. T. says:
July 26, 2007, 11:31 am
I thougt the show was stupid, you are right, they were trying to copy off of web junk 20 from VH1 and like you said it wasn't even funny. I don't know what the problem is with BET, but they are the ones that "HAVE GOT TO DO BETTER". I mean it's pathetic, with all these creative and informed Black people in the world, they can't find better show ideas than the ones they have now: SOP, Hell Date (come one!). They could revamp some of their old ideas, for instance: A re-vamped version of Teen Summit. Black cartoons on Saturday mornings for the kids and kids at heart. A Black version of Meet the Press to discuss our issues. Maybe even a Black version of 60 minutes or the Sunday Morning show from CBS (love that show). In-Depth interviews, not 30 minutes segments, with people like Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and others. An airing of the annual State of the Black Union. A late night talk show, similiar to the old Arsenio Hall show. A sketch comedy show, similiar to In Living Color. A Black version of Unplugged featuring people like John Legend, Alicia Keys and others. A Black independent film spotlight. I could on and on and on. I am not a TV producer, so if I can rattle this stuff off the top of my head, what in the Hell is wrong with the people at BET: Are they retarded, braindead, or just plan stupid? Does anyone have any theories cause I would like to know. WE AS BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD FORGET ABOUT BET AND WRITE VIACOM AND COMCAST, AND DEMAND THAT THEY OFFER US MORE THAN 1 BLACK CHANNEL OUT 200+ CHANNELS. It is a disgrace that in most cases you have to pay extra for digital service in order to get Stations like TVone and the Gospel Channel. If we are going to pay for Cable, than Viacom should offer Black households more than just BET.
KamikaK says:
July 26, 2007, 11:52 am
I didn't watch the show but thank you for writing about it! True, as some have said, BET is not for everybody but when you have an entire channel touting itself as THE channel for the entertainment of an entire segment [race] of society, it does need to be accountable. The larger society still takes it's racial cues from BET. Because of this all black people look like potential buffons and not just those that fit into the 'parameters' as CharlieMurphy would say. Although they shouldn't, many people go to BET to 'understand' and learn how 'to be down' with black people. Our kids go there to stay current on being black. BET is a big influence on both their political and social views. It should be an outlet to feed their minds and promote proactive change and growth not dumbed down, hypersexual, salacious, led by your third leg entertainment. BET perpetuates the crab-in-the-barrel syndrome.
StAr says:
July 26, 2007, 11:59 am
Hi Bella, I didn't catch the show last night and to say the least I don't regret not watching it. I have not watched BET for some years now and it's because of the programs they select. I'm not from the best neighborhood, however I am not "stupid" and I felt like that's what was being portrayed in some of BET's programming. The turning point for me was being up late one-night and channel surfing and catching "Uncut", I haven't viewed BET since..however, that's my personal choice. I have family/friends who enjoy BET on a daily. I feel if it's to much for me, it's definitely toooooooo much for my child. Why not bring back shows such as; Teen Summit, Video Soul or Caribbean Rhythms...just with a fresher take for '07? BET, needs a strong come-back...they have so much power and can reach so many children, teens and young adults...with positive messages. Bella, you have done another great post!!!!!!!
julia_claudine_deveraux says:
July 26, 2007, 12:02 pm
Hey Bella! I did not watch the show, I missed it and will catch the rerun so I can form a solid opinion. BET needs to quit trying to pretend this show has any artistic or informational merit, it is meant to shock, entertain, and garner ratings....let's not beat around the bush here. There are other more effective ways to send the message of "We Gotta Do Better". How about if we started with correct usage of the English lanuage..*we got to do*. BET has a failed us so many times in so many ways, this latest fiasco is no surprise IMO.
afrobello says:
July 26, 2007, 12:11 pm
I didn't watch that junk. I knew enough about the website to avoid it. Isn't it fascinating how racism works? You can abuse others so well that after a certain point, you can sit back and let them do it to themselves. Of course the top executive giving this the green light will be white, but the minions of color who work for that person are probably more complicit. TV One is kicking BET's ass in the dignity department. When I saw Roots in its entirety recently, at least it wasn't on a network that airs this fecal matter too. What a surprise that Charlie Murphy is linked with this. His brother did Norbit, after all. The pendulum has swung so far to the opposite end on the taste spectrum. If you denounce this show, they'll actually try to screw with your head and tell you that it's meant to help society, and that you're being too politically correct. Much in the way rappers stand by their profanity by saying they describe the bitches and hos that exist in the world. Our disenfranchisement is now a free pass to act afool. I assume that this production would have included the video of little boys smoking marijuana that was circulated a few months back. Anything goes. But does "doing better" include examining the Black folks who sell out the integrity of their people for a quick buck? Somebody needs to infiltrate BET and turn the lens on THEM. But if you want more insight into how that vile entity is run, check out "Confessions of a BET Producer" by Dbrad on Myspce or YouTube.
Lupe says:
July 26, 2007, 12:24 pm
I thought BET was now owned by VIACOM who also owns MTV... and it is just trying to make BET the "Ethnic adopted child" of MTV... i can not stomach it...
Peajai says:
July 26, 2007, 12:36 pm
The only thing BET has had to offer me lately is reruns of Girlfriends. The endless Jamie Foxx reruns are quite puzzling to me, I didn't watch it in primetime, why would I want to watch it now?? BETJ is quite a different story though. Those two channels are SO different, it makes me question they are even owned by the same company. Now that BET is owned by the same company as MTV, and it's clear that MTV doesn't know what they are trying to be anymore, it seems to me that BET would need to come under some new ownership to really make a turnaround for the better.
afrobella says:
July 26, 2007, 12:43 pm
Oh my. I'm at work now and finally got to re-read my passionate missive that I posted in haste this morning... so many misspellings! So many typos. Hanging my head in shame. I'll fix it all later. Angieforya, I don't think I have TV One. I'm gonna have to look that up! And it really irks me that I have to pay extra for BET J when I think it should come packaged with VH1 Soul, MTV Jams etc. They ARE all owned by the same company...
Blisse says:
July 26, 2007, 1:13 pm
Ms. T - I am so totally in agreement with you. I said practically the same thing to someone just a few days ago. No need to reinvent the wheel here. Like Bella, I haven't watched BET in years, but have kept up with the opposition to the programming. I was really pissed when they thought that by changing the name of the program that would pacify people. I applaud everyone that took a stand to protest.
IvyTrini says:
July 26, 2007, 1:42 pm
I wouldn't even give BET the time of day and I don't even know what channel it is in the cable listing. Once again BET proves that they themselves stereotype the same black people that they complain about. They think that all black people are senseless and ignorant. The programming on BET is in the gutter and it will never change. Shows like these will also continue to divide the black population into the more educated, higher socio-economic grouping and the less educated, lower socio-economic grouping and one group scorning the other group for various reasons.
Erin says:
July 26, 2007, 1:47 pm
I didn't watch the show... does anyone know when the re-run is comming on? I'll be sure to watch it. I just wanted to say I l -o -v -e your ideas Ms T!! Expecially the one about a 60 minutes type news program and showing indepenent Black movies (I'd love that). I would also like to see a program with issues affecting our brothers and sisters in Africa and how we can help. Also perhaps a show on African American Histroy, or a show on books by African American authors and intelectuals (like Eric Micheal Dyson or Cornell West) and someone could interview them, or they could interview each other!! (Dyson and West would blow it up!) Like people have been saying, BET has millions of young viewers probaby and with all those people watching, we have a responsibility to make sure not only that we are shown in a possitive light to the rest of the country, but that our youth (incl. myself) see us and themselves that way, too. I'm only 23, so I don't know exactly what BET was like when it started. Did they ever show Independent films by African Americans? What was the news program like? Anything on Africa? I remember Comic View and Teen Summit (Is Teen Summit still on? What do they talk about?). As far as I know, it used to be Black run, is it still? or did the people who own MTV just totally take over??
Erin says:
July 26, 2007, 1:48 pm
I didn't watch the show... does anyone know when the re-run is comming on? I'll be sure to watch it. I just wanted to say I l -o -v -e your ideas Ms T!! Expecially the one about a 60 minutes type news program and showing indepenent Black movies (I'd love that). I would also like to see a program with issues affecting our brothers and sisters in Africa and how we can help. Also perhaps a show on African American Histroy, or a show on books by African American authors and intelectuals (like Eric Micheal Dyson or Cornell West) and someone could interview them, or they could interview each other!! (Dyson and West would blow it up!) Like people have been saying, BET has millions of young viewers probaby and with all those people watching, we have a responsibility to make sure not only that we are shown in a possitive light to the rest of the country, but that our youth (incl. myself) see us and themselves that way, too. I'm only 23, so I don't know exactly what BET was like when it started. Did they ever show Independent films by African Americans? What was the news program like? Anything on Africa? I remember Comic View and Teen Summit (Is Teen Summit still on? What do they talk about?). As far as I know, it used to be Black run, is it still? or did the people who own MTV just totally take over?? Thanks, Erin
Morrie says:
July 26, 2007, 2:12 pm
Minor quibble, but as linguistics major in college, i disagree that the slogan "we got to do better" is grammatically challenged. It's actually a permissible sentence in African-American Vernacular English (the scholarly term for "Ebonics"). I could bore you with some grammar rules of AAVE, but I won't. I will, however, say that terming "we got to do better" as grammatically challenged falls in line with your opinion that BET considers its viewers to be somewhat less than intelligent. Your site is great. Keep up the good work.
che' says:
July 26, 2007, 2:29 pm
i think BETs demographics are all ppl under 21...cuz theres no way a grown person can stomach this ish for more than 15 mins..... great post.
Lee says:
July 26, 2007, 2:35 pm
I only watch BET for Girlfriends reruns and Meet the Faith. The rest of that garbage is pure Crapola.
BlackHoney says:
July 26, 2007, 2:46 pm
Thanks for the review. Personally I didn't feel that I needed to watch the program because I'm familiar with the HGM website. This program, website and the thinking behind them fall right in line with the movement by "elite blacks (yes, the talented tenth)" to criticize and debase our less fortunate brothers and sisters. I'm tired of it. I like the call for a la carte basic channel. Then I won't have to pay for crap like BET. I will also never watch another Cosby program buy another Jello pudding top as long as I live because he made this acceptable.
Xcentricpryncess says:
July 26, 2007, 2:54 pm
Isn't it a little funny that though Viacom owns BET, MTV and VH1 that BET has the low-budget feel? The channel still has low volume at times and the quality of film is poor...They don't put money into creating a quality Black product or a positive perception of Black people...yet we support it?
islandgirl550 says:
July 26, 2007, 3:01 pm
Bella, Caribbean Rhythms can still be seen on BET J (which I think was/is BET Jazz). I loved that show with Rachel! And BTW, I miss the old BET with Donnie & Shari.
MsRebecca says:
July 26, 2007, 3:23 pm
I think that maybe I liked a handful of things on BET, it's never been a station that I watched often, most of the time it was a video or something that I wanted to see.. All this craziness lately is definitely a turn off..
muslimahlocs says:
July 26, 2007, 4:51 pm
yet another reason to thank God that i do not have or watch tv.
BBW1924 says:
July 26, 2007, 9:47 pm
Great post. It's funny because I was thinking the exact same things as you posted as I watched. Whats with Charlie Murphy? Your recap was funnier and more entertainment than the whole 30 minutes of that crappy show.
designdiva says:
July 26, 2007, 10:06 pm
For those people who want to see independent black films, you can find them on BETJ called "The Best Shorts..." I only tune in to BET for ComicView and the gospel videos. I LOVE TV One and BET J. I've been on the HGM website in the past, and I didn't like it.
angieforya says:
July 26, 2007, 10:28 pm
Just caught the re-run of the show...The is quite terible...BUT the tv show was NOT NEARLY as bad as what those here are making it to be...what is the issue???? I did not see where they were asking questions to those "Less Intelligent" or from such a different "socio-economic" background. Reality is...some just don't know! I am baffled by this one...and as far as the statement made above regarding the Historical African American figures being shown during the we really need context to go along with pictures of Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and Shirley Chisolm to tell us who they thats a hot ghetto mess..LOL. There is so much more we could be putting our "protests" to, and the time we spend trying to micro-manage this show is just..well...A Hot Ghetto Mess!
Robin says:
July 26, 2007, 10:56 pm
Hey Afrobella, Yes I did watch the show. I just had to judge for myself and see what the hype was about. (I am convinced that the petitions and controversy only helped the ratings as is usually the case)I wasn't particularly offended by any of the material (except for the Mz Peaches video which I could never bring myself to sit through on the internet) but the show just wasn't entertaining. Furthermore, for BET to claim that this material is intended to help people gain perspective is a bunch of bull. I didn't watch Flavor of Love or Charm School (which actually did end up having a positive message) to uplift myself. It's what we call a "guilty pleasure" like watching a car can't look away. Not only BET profits from this. It's a car wreck, with an "ethnic twist." On a sidenote, I think Hell Date is hysterically (it actually has nothing to do with stereotypes or coonery) and SOB was pretty interesting as well.
bella says:
July 26, 2007, 11:02 pm
Angieforya, my point is, after doing a whole segment where people didn't know how many African Americans were on the Supreme Court, and revealing that the average person on the street seems to know shockingly little about black history, it would only have served to enlighten the viewers with a simple sentence as to who those people were, instead of simply flashing a photo on the screen. If you don't know who Clarence Thomas is, you might not know who Shirley Chisholm is. A little context could go a long way, especially if their goal is to educate.
TheBeautifulOne says:
July 26, 2007, 11:53 pm
Hello Bella! Have you ever seen Jay Leno when he takes his show on the street asking people about who the current President is, Vice President and other people or things that people should know? Basic things that are going on in our country, let alone abroad? He was educating us at home by showing us that a lot of everyday people, black, white, etc. don't know diddley squat about the world around them. This is just the same thing, but with a black person doing it. If you were born and raised in this country and still don't know who Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisoholm along with countless other brave, trailblazing African Americans were then you ought to be ashamed of yourself and you should pick up a book, ask somebody, DO SOMETHING. The best card a person could have is a library card. It's free. Now let's see how many Black people get in line to sign up for a library card. Stand in line for the latest knock off in H&M, Jay Z's "final" concert, etc?: LINES AROUND THE BLOCK. Forget BET, there are bigger fish to fry.
bygbaby says:
July 27, 2007, 1:15 am
I actually wanted to watch this really bad but stuck to my guns to avoid destructive TV! BET/Viacom obviously is not hearing what people want because if they were, the show would have been canceled flat out. Like you AB, I am not sure who this show is going to help. I'm hoping even more sponsors pull out from BET (Black Exploitation Television). Bygbaby
Nikita says:
July 27, 2007, 8:13 am
I did not watch the show. I have seen the website, and I think that this lady may be on the up and up, but her way of trying to get folks attention to make a positive change is NOT going to work. Part of what makes me upset with BET is that when it came to portraying black folks when I watched it back in the day, they were ahead of the curve. All kind of music was played and if the video or artist was not on MTV they did not care - as a matter of fact, that is how ALL of the urban stations were. But something has changed, and the only thing they seem to be about is keeping up with the so-called big stations or competition. I wish all of our music venues would play all of our music instead of this one dimensional, ghetto crap. I wish they would play music with real lyrics again, but they are not either. BET is crap. It is aimed at young folks who have NEVER been exposed to much more than what is on the TV. No plays, jazz, concerts - just what is on TV. That is such a limiting account of our culture and experience. I am hurt and dissapointed that BET won't do better.
LBellatrix says:
July 27, 2007, 8:33 am
Ever since Viacom bought BET from Bob Johnson, I keep seeing posts on blogs and forums implying that white folks are at fault for BET's mess. As someone's who's old enough to remember when BET first came out, I can tell you that BET was a mess LONG BEFORE Bob Johnson sold it to The Man. So let's just get off that "Blame Whitey" argument. When I was a teenager (late 70s-early 80s), BET really was more about black entertainment as opposed to black exploitation. The first Paul Robeson movies I ever saw were aired on BET. Unfortunately, Bob Johnson got caught up in the whole music video thing and pretty soon BET was trying to be a black version of MTV. Granted, MTV didn't play much black music until the mid-late 80s, but at some point (IMO, around the time gangsta rap and hip-hop took over) BET just went downhill. The last time I watched BET on a regular basis was when "Our Voices" aired, and when that went off the air in the mid-90s, BET basically disappeared for me. So no, I'm not interested in "Hot Ghetto Mess" or "We Got To Do Better" or whatever other crap BET has to offer. Besides, I don't have cable. :) Popular media IN GENERAL has very little of substance to offer me and I feel really sorry for people today who allow the media to tell them how to think. It's no wonder so many black women have low self-esteem that they attempt to cover up by trying to look as hoochie and/or fake as possible.
tiffany says:
July 27, 2007, 9:28 am
I have to admit, BET was it back then. I'm only 25y/o and I still remember cherri and donnie simpson, I remember video vibrations and videos they used to play like the brand new heavies even when biggie was around and puffy had some artist that was worth listening to. There was alot of educational shows that had helped along the way and teen summit helped me alot, but what has changed is the people and the generation of people. We are now considered old skool, things that you couldn't even do or say in music videos are now being allowed. Before, Bet used to be about the empowerment of black people, now we are being separated into catagories and the new trend is to date non black women, because clearly the music videos are telling our young men that non black is beautiful. Shows like hot ghetto mess is giving don imus and others like him the upper hand. Its telling them that we think of eachother as ghetto and shows like charlie's is saying that most black people are not educated. Bet is going down as far as quality, but the young generation will always support it if we don't talk to them about it and that starts with our own homes.
Niki says:
July 27, 2007, 9:53 am
I agree with the post above that HGM/WGTB was just not entertaining or enlightening and that we have bigger fish to fry than a lame show on BET. The "man on the street" and "funny clip show" thing has been done better and longer by other people. I totally agree that BET could be so much more--I love the ideas of a real news/current events debate show, cartons for black kids, original dramas and comedies and not this low-budget, mindless crap they have been showing. I know they can do better because BETJ far superior with their concerts (not just jazz, but neo-soul and conscious hip-hop), videos (no 'rumpshaking' to be found), and their show "My Two Cents". I feel so sad that the kids watching BET these days are stuck with Terrance & Rocsi and I had Sherri Carter & Donnie Simpson and Teen Summit. BET even knows this because they play old episodes of "Video Soul" on BETJ. TV One is a bit better in that they have some original programming, but they could go further in what they offer. As far as the HGM website, I think we all have gotten emails of the chick with rainbow hair or the tacky wedding couple, and they are funny just for their outrageousness, but for the creator of that site to try to pretend like they are doing something to 'uplift' people is ridiculous. It's just finger-pointing and perpetuating stereotypes.
Candy says:
July 27, 2007, 10:23 am
Didn't watch it. Don't watch BET. I think all should read Cora Daniels book "Ghetto Nation." It does a far better job of "holding the mirror up" to reflect society's ills.
BlackHoney says:
July 27, 2007, 11:08 am
I haven't read Cora Daniel's book and after reading the interview on the blog "nat turner's revenge", I don't think I shall. I truly believe the talented tenth has declared war on the rest of black america and I'm not giving any of them my "ghetto" cash.
SunSeeker says:
July 27, 2007, 11:23 am
BET is a hopeless case period. It had potential back in the day and for some reason the push has been to make it worse every season. I would like to be a fly on the was during their pitch meetings when this extreme crap is pitched. I think they just sit around and go "here is my mediocre idea. Now any ideas on how to pick worst possible host? And oh yes, don't forget the bad cinematography." I mean seriously pitching a show like this should be a career ender, or at best cause for demotion. But there is some blockhead who will greenlight it sitting in the room smiling "yeah let's do!" Oh come on BET how about you all do better?
Isis says:
July 27, 2007, 12:41 pm
Afrobella....I watched the show last night for the first and only time....there was absolutely no purpose for the entertainment or to educate....It is total garbage....not funny...not smart..nothing...just bad tv...I hope that it soon disappears
BornJameriCuban says:
July 27, 2007, 6:29 pm
I love the ideas Ms. T posted! People seem to think that BET is now targeted at the 21 and under demographic, and maybe it is. But I think they are totally off the mark! I am 21 years old and can honestly say I haven't watched BET in years. Part of that is because until recently, my cable provider where I've for the last 3 years only carried BETJ. But I really can't remember watching BET regularly even before that. Why do I want to watch a channel that hosts programs demeaning as Uncut? ComicView stopped being funny somewhere around 2001 or 2002, so there was really no reason to ever stop on that channel since. All this controversy surrounding HGM in a way, surprised me, because I can't believe people are still expecting BET to produce quality programming.
Eni's Girl says:
July 28, 2007, 12:15 am
I so agree with Ms. T for the future of any Black entertainment network. I co-sign with Niki and Tiffany about what BET use to be. I loved the "old" BET. What happened? I just can't watch BET anymore unless my brain drops out of my head. Do network executives think that Black folks are so profoundly stupid that we don't notice really poor and insulting programming? Honestly, do we really need to see a show about Remy Ma? Ever? I know how really wonderful we are as a group of people and I don't know why it's so extraordinarily difficult to consistently reflect that on television, radio, in print, etc. But, I won't give up hope. I feel as long as we keep speaking up and giving our feedback, then we're just continuing to move one step closer to implementing a positive change.
Gee says:
July 28, 2007, 12:34 am
I have watched BET go down for years. However when I watched "Confessions of a BET Producer" which was posted everywhere online, It pretty much answered all my questions.
Melinda says:
July 28, 2007, 2:24 am
Black people...if you can... just turned the TV off because paying to sit on your *ss and watch anyone's it white or black is ridamndiculous. Think of all the wonderful things you could do with the time you give away to watching someone else live their dreams of being on TV.... I stop watching TV damn near ten years ago....I'm 32....At the is point in my life...I'm tired of being a spectator....Every now and then I'll catch a cable show at my mom's or someone who happens to have cable just to be up to speed...but then seeing BET and reality TV just reminds me of how blessed it feels to just live life on your own terms and how not to be influenced by the BS that's called the idiot box. I have a full life and it amazes me how much time people have on their hands to even watch TV. And on an even more important note...encourage your kids to read, play double dutch, play board games, run track, and otherwise develop themselves from the inside out. I know that you're tired and your work hard... but stop letting the TV and video games raise your kids. We are raising a generation of selfish, can't think for themselves, ain't willing to work hard for Whateva happened to our intergrity, pride and dignity?
Melinda says:
July 28, 2007, 2:25 am
I apologive for the typos....
TheBeautifulOne says:
July 28, 2007, 10:10 am
Melinda, even with all of your typos, I say to you AMEN! I live and travel all over the world, do you think that I even have a tv? No. I live in Korea, don't have a tv and don't want one either. Like you, I'm too busy living my life to be worried about what is on tv, how they "portray" my people on it, etc. Instead of being ANTI-BET, let someone in this forum or elsewhere be PRO MAKE MY LIFE BETTER OR MAKE MY LIFE AND THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN BETTER. I would like people to spend their time doing that instead of bitchin' about BET. It's amazing how people will get worked up enough to sign a d@#n petition but won't sign a petition to improve inner city schools, raise the literacy rate among our children and adults, etc. You hit the nail on the head my dear and I want to say thank you for writing something highly intelligent in here. BET has never defined who I am nor who Black people are, so why get upset? Amen Melinda, Amen! We are blessed not to be sucking at the teat of TV and living our lives unlike so many of our community is.
TheBeautifulOne says:
July 28, 2007, 10:18 am
Oh, Melinda, You and now I , well, you know that some in here do not like what we have said, so get take our your umbrella, ella' ella eh' eh' because the "you know what" is about to start raining down. Ha!!! Most do not like the truth.
Leslie says:
July 28, 2007, 3:07 pm
Couple of things to consider 1. While BET has missed the mark on this one (plus Take The Cake), it is geared to folks 18-34. The ratings increase each year - trust me on this one. It might be a sad commentary on society, but BET is following the money and trust me, its coming in. 2. Al a carte cable would elimiate any variety on cable and great networks like TV One would disappear immediately. Why? Cable systems would only carry networks that the viewers (still mainly white people) ask for. Yes, BET would be gone, but so would TV One, which by the fastest growing network in cable history. Even with the on-slaught of spanish-language channels popping up every day (by white people, trust me yet again) 3.The programming that people wish for on BET didn't make money because no one watched. Tavis? Low ratings - No one watched. Intelliegent sitcom that was repurposed from Showtime - "Linc's" - no one watched. BET News? - Low ratings - no one watched. "The Wire" from HBO? - Very disappointing ratings - no one is watching. BET lost big money on that one (trust me yet a third time)
LBellatrix says:
July 29, 2007, 5:30 am
Just came back in here to say AMEN and give a ^5 to Melinda and her wise words....
Cube says:
July 31, 2007, 12:24 am
this post was funny as hell:
Thaddeus C says:
August 2, 2007, 10:02 pm
I am embarrassed!!! My heart is broken, I really can't say much more about it. BET will be blocked at my house indefinitely.
ladydandridge says:
August 3, 2007, 2:13 pm
Until the backlash against the show, I hadn't heard of the show or the website. Maybe I was under a rock, or just too busy figuring out ways to improve myself that I tuned out this garbage. After reading a few of the posts earier this week, I went to the website to see what the fuss was about. Upon arrival I was greeted with the Mess of the week, which was a picture of a sheet cake with a nude pregnant black woman giving birth. YES! In icing form, the crowning of the baby out of the most private place on a woman. And written next to it was, " Push, Alexis, Push". Are you kidding me? ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME? This is what we produce! I was and still am completely outraged. So much so that I can't finish any complete thoughts, except ones that express my outrage. I knew BET was on the downward spiral but I had no idea. I sit back and wonder if people knew what our generations of Black people before us had to go through to get us where we are now. And I'm not one to get on a soap box but come on! This is what we have to show for ourselves on what is supposed to be our network? There are great avenues for Black artistic expression of black culture out there, besides this ..... embarrassment. Instead of spending time to watch this show, has anyone gone to see Don Cheadle in Talk to Me or Queen Latifah in Hairspray? I could go on... but i am sure the point has been made.
Samara Leigh says:
August 8, 2007, 11:36 pm
How I miss the days of Donnie Simpson. Honestly, I didn't realize that I NEVER watch BET anymore until you mentioned it in your post. The programming is sad. It pains me that there isn't more integrity in the executive offices. But, at the end of the day, they are a business and they've made the unfortunate choice to follow the money, as was mentioned earlier. So, I'd say that as the TV-viewing public, "We got to do better."
black says:
August 15, 2007, 11:54 pm
I saw it for the first time and I had mixed feelings about it. I found myself laughing at some of the answers the people on the street were giving, for example how many states in the U.S. Some said 54, 56, 52, 51, etc. When asked which states were added, some one replied, Mexico, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii. I also felt that the show focused on most people of color not knowing the answers and then had a white person tell the right answer. It made me think "Hey we should all know the answers to these questions". It can also help to refresh peoples minds. Its not that it was never taught, just after a while we delete the files in our brains that are not being used. Some of the answers should be automatic if you are a U.S. citizen though. Immigrants have to learn certain things about our country to become citizens. We should know there are three branches. Legislative, Executive, Judicial. Some one responded that we have many branches judicial, democrats, republicans, etc. Seems there is a catch 22 to this show.
Simmons says:
August 23, 2007, 12:32 am
I've read the posts left by the other blogers, and I can understand their standpoints on the show. Yes, I African American male who does beleive that BET is getting carried away with its programming. I constantly see blk people portrayed in a negative images such as glorifying rims, females, money, and just plain deviant behavior. But this show is trying to convey "some thinking" unlike many of the shows still being aired on BET. To my fellow readers, please watch and observe the show before you make blanked comments because all you do is show your ignorance. This show is something that shows our negative images and attitudes in the hopes that we will stop these ridiculous behaviors and thinking that many of our brothers and sister indulge into. True enoguh it can be tweaked, but ask yourself this question. How many shows on BET are trying to help spead the need of education, and not from a religious perspective? Then ask yourself what are you doing to help our people?
ej says:
October 9, 2007, 2:09 pm
I watched it. It was a shame that people allow themselves to be seen like that. Give it a try before you judge it. The hot ghetto mess is about people not just black people.
mom says:
July 4, 2009, 11:02 am


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