By Craig Bates
The BET network has closed its doors for good.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) After news of yet another network marketed toward African Americans, BET has decided to shutter its television operations.
On August 15, Percy Miller (known to many as rapper Master P), announced he would be launching a channel for black folks called Better Black Television.
“After being subjected to decades of booty shaking videos and 1970s sitcom reruns, this is what the black community needs: better black television,” Miller told The People News.
A sign reading ‘Closed for Bidness’ hung on the door of the network’s Washington D.C. headquarters this morning, and viewers who turned to the channel only saw a still photo of famed video dancer Ki Toy Johnson.
Founded in 1980 by Robert Johnson, BET filled a void for African-American television viewers by offering music videos and news not seen on other channels. However, in recent years, viewers have been disappointed with the network, which has relied on reruns of shows such as Thea and Diff’rent Strokes, gospel music and MTV knock-offs Baldwin Hills and 106 & Park.
“They should have just called it BMTV, since all it does for programming is take a great MTV show and then do a watered-down, colored version,” said Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder, a longtime critic. “It’s sort of the television version of a Puffy Combs remix.”
BET President of Entertainment Reggie Hudlin called the criticism unfair.
“First, no one is as bad as Puffy,” he said. “But also, black folks are always talking about how we should be uplifting the race with our programming. If a little booty doesn’t uplift you, I don’t know what will.”
For years, BET had no competition, so blacks were forced to watch whatever it aired. But with the growth of TV One—which actually plans to air the Democratic Convention—and the impending arrival of networks like Better Black Television and former Congressman J.C. Watt’s Black Television News Channel, African Americans finally have a choice not just in entertainment that’s geared toward them, but also in news.
BET once offered such a choice, with Teen Summit, Lead Story, BET Nightly News and BET Tonight. But those shows have long been off the air.
Former BET Tonight and Lead Story host Ed Gordon said he still laments the demise of his shows.
“If I was still on there, I’d have been all over this Kwame Kilpatrick story in Detroit,” said Gordon, a Motor City native. “I had the inside scoop before the mainstream media did. BET has done a great disservice to our people by not reporting on trifling stories such as this. Thank God for The Peoples News.”
For now, BET will continue only as a website. Hudlin said he’s learned a valuable lesson.
“I thought our audience would be satisfied with hour after hour of music videos and knockoffs like Baldwin Hills,” he said. “But I was wrong. I guess I should have gone ahead with my idea of I Want To Work For Hudlin.”
Note: This article is satire, brought to you by the creative minds at The Peoples News. It’s not real, but expect to see Master P and JC Watt’s proposed networks in the future. We hope the article made you think.
© 2008 The Peoples News
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