Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I hate BET. Here's why...

Dear Anonymous,

I read your comment to Why Do Black Folks Love the Clintons So Much:

Let's be done with this quasi-intellectual clit flicking/meat beating over the Clintons and BET.
Many of US think white, talk white, walk white because WE are ashamed to embrace the fullness of OUR blackness, including any such images of US broadcast by US that don't conform to white norms.

You got me thinking. Maybe I have not made clear on this blog why I abhor Bob Johnson and BET. So for you, Anonymous, and anyone else who is confused, here's the straight dope:

I don't hate BET for broadcasting tepid, mediocre shows. You can find those all around the "dial." I don't hate BET for showing black folks dancing, of which you say:

And as for those BET booty shaking videos, think surviving (though perverted) Africanisms. If the white man his woman hadn't blasted OUR mother cultures, plural because though WE are all African, WE, as Tami has said, are not a monolith, the images many of US hate to see would be experienced and appreciated in their proper contexts. WE are the dancing people. Fertility dance, Matrimonial dance, Funeral dance, War dance. The drum, movement, call and response voicing have ever been OUR cultural hallmarks. There was a time when the female booty grinding would have been seen as a rite of initiation, no less lascivious of presentation, but within a female circle, away from the eyes of any man -with no "free love" connotations.

I hate BET because it serves up a narrow diet of the worst and most offensive black stereotypes for the consumption and entertainment of the American public. I hate BET because it takes hypersexuality, misogyny, materialism and thugism, and calls it black entertainment. I hate BET because it hates me; the station regularly reduces black women to gyrating and jiggling body parts, bitches, whores, props, adornment and Hottentot Venuses. I hate BET because a lot of black folks give the channel a pass for doing all these things that would have us screaming from the hilltops if they were broadcast on CBS or NBC or a cable channel perceived as "white."

See Anonymous, I embrace the "fullness of my blackness," but my blackness has nothing to do with the way I walk, talk or think and certainly nothing to do with BET. And I won't have my race and culture narrowed to such stingy definitions. Agbekor, the African warrior dance, is not the same as droppin it like it's hot. And BET culture is not the same as black culture, at least not my version of it.

This woman is not letting black men, like Bob Johnson, who make their fortunes on the backs of black women, off the hook so easily.

Now, if the BLACK man is to be man, must he not, likewise, master woman? I'm sure that, to a WOMANIST, it all adds up to male domination but, as Diddy says, "...sumn a stallion, sumn Italian, or maybe Puerto Rican if y'catch me in Paris..." Who knows what race Nicole Scherzinger is but you get it, don't you? BET merely puts flesh with word in service of the urge to be free as defined by the white man.

Don't blame the oppression of women on white men. There is a young girl in Africa right now suffering the pain and humiliation of having her external sexual organs mutilated because of misguided patriarchal beliefs that have nothing to do with European culture. And whoever made the rules here in America, black men who know what it means to be oppressed shouldn't be so eager to be oppressors. Male domination is male domination, and even Diddy, that sage of race relations, can't convince me its okay for you to step on me while getting yours.

So, Anonymous, my hatred of BET is more than mere mental masturbation, and it doesn't make me any less black.

P.S. Your view of white women is equally as offensive to me as your view of black ones.


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