Monday, June 27, 2011

Is BET The New KKK?

Photo Credit: Georgetown Voice
I haven't had cable television for a number of years, so it's been quite awhile since I've been a regular viewer of Black Entertainment Television (BET). But if the comments that I've read this morning about last night's BET Awards are any indication, the popular network has continued its downward spiral of disappointing entertainment offerings.

Dr. Boyce Watkins, a professor at Syracuse University, offers his commentary on the negative influence of BET on young black youth:
"...I consider myself to be a Hip-Hop insider, and I simply hate the idea of being labeled as a hater. But as a father and Black man who has seen too much death and devastation in my family and so many others, I had to say that “enough is enough,” leading me to candidly discuss my decision to walk away from certain styles of Hip-Hop music.

BET, the media company that targets Black consumers, but is ultimately controlled by a predominantly white organization called Viacom, is not exactly on the same page when it comes to their assessment of Lil Wayne or any other artist (i.e. R. Kelly) who can be directly linked to the holocaust occurring within Black America today. Given that models of profit maximization rarely call for any assessment of the negative externalities that result from unethical corporate behavior, the executive committee for the BET Awards made the interesting decision to give the greatest number of award nominations to Lil Wayne, the man who said that he would (among other things) love to turn a woman out, murder her and send her dead body back to her boyfriend. Oh yea, he also said that he would kill little babies, have sex with every girl in the world, carry a gun on his hip and “leave a ni**a’s brains on the street.”

It might be almost feasible to overlook the “kill little babies comment” were it not for the innocent three-year old boy who was shot in the head by a 21-year old Black male in my hometown just a couple of weeks ago – these atrocities are all too common in quite a few neighborhoods across America. Also, the music might be considered simple entertainment were it not for the fact that millions of Black youth who had their history stolen during slavery actually look to Hip-Hop music to tell them how to dress, talk, think, act and live. There is no high school speaker more popular than a Hip-Hop star.

The Ku Klux Klan has been regularly criticized for encouraging violence against African Americans and terrorizing our community. But the truth is that the Klan doesn’t have much power anymore, and their thirst for African American blood seems to have waned a bit. At the same time, Lil Wayne and artists like him have made a habit of encouraging Black men to shoot one another, to abuse or murder women, to consume suicidal amounts of drugs and alcohol and to engage in irresponsible, deadly sexual behavior.

As a result, Black men are the most likely to die of gun violence, mass incarceration continues to decimate Black families, drug addiction and possession ruins Black lives in droves, and HIV is the leading killer of Black women. So, the truth is that Lil Wayne-like artists and the corporate armies producing this weaponized genocide have killed more Black people than the KKK ever could. So, by accelerating, financing and supporting the “Lil Wayne gospel” to a community that is already dying, BET has effectively positioned itself as a new and improved version of the KKK."
To read the rest of Dr. Watkins thoughts on BET, please click here.

1 comment:

mmg said...

I watched the Awards show with a group of friends last night and I agree with the author of this article. I said all night, "why is lil wayne on stage so much? he epitomizes evil." I got a couple chuckles, but I was serious. It was actually hard to digest and was happy when Alicia or Pattie were being showcased. Instead of complaining about the reason a girlfriend beater (Chris Brown) and a tatooed mess (Lil Wayne) were the main characters on stage last night, I need to commit to praying for these men who are lost and in desperate need of a Savior! Thanks for posting this article Scott.