Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:January 2nd, 2008 17:04 EST
Is It Time to Abandon B.E.T?

Is It Time to Abandon B.E.T?

By Cherod Johnson

There used to be a time when African-American music was a symbol of empowerment and enlightenment for the African-American race, but now, with the newer generation of black folks on B.E.T., it is just not the same.

Those who are still old-at-heart remember the songs that made African-Americans feel good about being black. For example, songs like Say It Loud, I`m Black and I`m Proud " by James Brown or Respect " by Aretha Franklin were just some of the many classic songs recorded by black musicians that embraced the idea that African-Americans can still be black and still be considered beautiful. Moreover, these types of songs, like many others, caused many African-Americans to abandon the idea that just because their outer body is of a darker complexion does not mean they are an inferior race or not capable of achieving their goals. But rather, these enlightening songs show that African- Americans will not stand by and allow someone else to determine their fate.

However, as the new generation has originated and had taken the places of legendary soul music singers, things have changed, mostly for the worse. As sad as it may seem, rappers who focus on love and spirituality often do not get as much publicity as rappers who degrade themselves by rapping about hustling and pimping. Mainly, songs that involve violence or the sexual exploitation of women are now the top sellers and are, usually, the only videos that have top ten potential on B.E.T.

However, some may say that many rappers are keeping it real " by retelling the struggles they encountered before they became famous. Yet, many people fail to realize that artists can still keep it real without portraying a negative image to their audience.

Many rap artists, now-a-days, rap about how they sold drugs to make a come-up, as if they are proud of what they did; however, many rap artists fail to realize that they were killing their own brothers and sisters," according to Carlisha Franklin, majoring in International Business at Bowling Green State University.

Many of these artists who embrace these negative images as a way to boost their record sales should be ashamed of themselves for breaking down the image of a race that our ancestors fought so hard to uplift, " declared Franklin.

But, why do African-Americans watch B.E.T if it increases negative stereotypes about African-Americans? Because it is entertainment. If you look at the statistics, many of their viewers that watch B.E.T alike many other channels are children who are in the ages of 16-25. "

Many of these young adults watch B.E.T because they can often identify with the lives that these rap artists have lived. Even though some young adults may have gone threw similar struggles as rap artists, it`s very rare to find a song that helps these young adults cope with the daily struggles that they are often encountering, " according to Aaron Moore, a Supply Chain Management student at Bowling Green State University.

For teenagers, it is often the parents` fault if their child aspires to be a rap artists then, an intellectual; because, they are the ones who pay the bills.  Therefore, they can, and should, govern what their children watch. "

The sad thing now, is that African-Americans are the producers of these videos that reflect negative images of black people. "

In 2004, Bill Cosby criticized many poor blacks for their lack of taking personal responsibility for their lives as he received an award for his philanthropic endeavors during a gala event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the court case that called for the desegregation of public schools and institutions that were located in the United States.

Cosby bluntly degraded and criticized poor blacks in America for their social ills, behavior and usage of Black English, etc. Moreover, Cosby also blamed many teenage children for being proactive about their lives.  According to Is Bill Cosby Right? Or has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?" by Michael Eric Dyson, Cosby states, Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry get out of school at 2:30 every day, it`s cursing and calling each other nigga " as they`re walking up and down the street. They think they`re hip. They can`t read, they can`t write. They`re laughing and giggling, and they`re going nowhere." (5)

Yet, Cosby`s tactic of addressing the crowd may have been less than elegant, many people may think Cosby realized that, in order to increase the intellectual growth to a higher respectability within the African-American community, there needed to be a change for the betterment of the younger generation and that shows like B.E.T are not cutting it.

Therefore, it must be assumed that in order for B.E.T. to decrease the negative stereotypes and images of African-Americans, changes must be made.

We`ve spent 387 years in this country trying to get white folks to love us. Might help if we first learned to love ourselves, " according to Leonard Pitts Jr., author of the article Blacks can often share blame for poor self-image. "