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Once Upon A Time When B.E.T Was Black Owned.

We sincerely appreciated and nostalgically recalled the early days of BET (Black Entertainment Television) and its positive impact on the black community. When BET was launched, it provided a platform for black voices, stories, and experiences often missing from mainstream media.

BET was launched in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson and became a pioneering platform for black entertainment and culture for two decades. In 2001, after successfully building the network, Mr. Johnson sold BET to Viacom for approximately $3 billion. This sale marked a significant shift in the network's trajectory, as Viacom's influence led to changes in BET's programming and overall direction. In 2022, Viacom CBS was rebranded as Paramount Global, reflecting the company's new identity.

BET's early programming included historical events, stories that mattered to the black community, and discussions led by prominent black figures like Ed Gordon and Roland Martin. These programs offered valuable insights and perspectives, fostering community and shared understanding. We appreciated family-oriented shows aimed at positive outcomes, gospel shows like those featuring Bobby Jones, and other culturally significant content played a crucial role in shaping BET's identity.

BET and its impactful programming during its earlier years. Shows like "Teen Summit" were particularly significant because they provided a platform for teenagers to discuss relevant issues, offering guidance and fostering a sense of community and understanding among young viewers. This kind of engagement was invaluable in addressing the concerns of the youth and promoting positive outcomes.

"106 & Park" was a significant show on BET that resonated deeply with young audiences. It quickly became a cultural staple for its integrity and respect for its viewers. The show focused on hip-hop and R&B, featuring music videos, live performances, and interviews with artists while maintaining a level of decency and respect. The hosts and content creators understood their influence on young minds and ensured the programming was suitable and favorable.

BET's music award shows were also a highlight. They were known for their respect and honor toward musical legends and pioneers who paved the way for future artists. These events celebrated the richness of black music and culture, bringing families together to enjoy performances that spanned generations. This focus on family-oriented and culturally respectful programming was a hallmark of BET when it was black-owned, making it a cherished part of many households.

In the early days of BET, they created a unique space where black culture, history, and issues were represented and celebrated. This emphasis on positive representation and community engagement is something that many longtime viewers sincerely appreciate and remember fondly.

The shifts in BET's programming and the broader implications for the representation of the black community in media. The sale of BET and subsequent changes have led to a sense of loss regarding the positive, family-oriented, and culturally enriching content that once defined the network.

The decline in quality and the rise of content that perpetuates negative stereotypes and degrades black culture is a significant issue. It's disheartening to see how some entertainment choices have shifted towards content that can be harmful and counterproductive, especially when it involves the negative portrayal of black women and the family structure.

BET's original mission, to uplift and celebrate the black community, seems to have been compromised in favor of more commercially driven content. Another point of concern is the reduced emphasis on gospel music and spiritual content.

Once a staple of BET, gospel music and related programming provided a source of inspiration and positivity. Removing these elements reflects a broader trend of moving away from content that fosters community and personal growth. Media platforms must be mindful of their influence and the importance of representing communities with respect and dignity. The call for a return to content that uplifts educates and positively represents the black community is a powerful reminder of the media's role in shaping perceptions and fostering unity.

A call to action must emphasize the importance of collective responsibility and unity within the black community to demand higher standards from all media platforms. The black community can shape its image by demanding better representation in media. Significant change can be achieved by supporting platforms and programs that respect and uplift the community and voicing disapproval of those perpetuating negative stereotypes.

The attention and financial support of the black community are powerful tools. Media platforms and advertisers pay close attention to viewership and spending habits. By consciously supporting positive content, the community can drive the creation and continuation of programming that aligns with its values. Change is most effective when pursued collectively. Unifying around shared values—respect for culture, family, and spirituality—can amplify the community's voice. This unity can create a powerful demand for content that reflects these values.

Embracing and celebrating black culture in all its diversity and richness fosters a sense of pride and self-respect. This cultural pride can guide demanding content that honors and represents the community accurately and positively. For many, spirituality and faith are integral to life and community. Promoting content that reflects these values can help strengthen the moral and ethical fabric of the community.

By taking these steps, the black community can influence the media to reflect its true values and aspirations. The community has the power to shape cultural narratives, and with collective effort, meaningful change is possible.

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