Hello there, BET, Debra Lee and whomever else coordinates over there at Black Entertainment Television!
Your target audience is quite concerned with the way the network is running and we are losing hope that BET will ever return to the quality programming that it once was.
I personally think that the 2015 BET awards were great–but others beg to differ. I think this may be because there is a track record of BET awards being terrible, and BET programming in general being a hot, stereotypical mess. It has long been time for BET to denounce mediocrity and bring forth quality television to appeal to your audience–not just black people, but white people too, because we know that’s where the coin is.
Here are a few ideas I have for revamping BET and making it a channel that everyone enjoys, and less people bash.
It is typical for BET to pick up re-runs of old classic black television and air episodes as if the show is new. It seems like that has slowed down, but either way, STOP IT!
There are aspiring writers (ME,) producers and directors itching for a chance to make it–and you can do it. Here are some sitcom/program types that would be ideal for the channel
1. A few comedies…much like a Martin or a Living single, but not a carbon copy. A light-hearted, sometimes dramatic sitcom that doesn’t perpetuate stereotypes but clearly shows the different elements and complexities of black culture.
2. Be the Change: Stay away from reality TV. Bravo, Vh1 and MTV have that lane together–especially as it relates to negative black stereotypes. So get rid of Keyshia cole. If you do take on a reality show, let it be something different and don’t pick it up simply because there is an element of drama that will draw the audience in simply because it’s a train wreck; and that’s pretty much the reason anyone watches any reality tv..so it’s going to take some deep thinking and planning.
3. MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC! There is NO platform on regular cable where the different genres of black music can be celebrated. Hip Hop is everywhere, but what happened to R&B? Soul? People still make that type of music, but they become forgotten and Beyonce ends up performing their songs on the Grammys (no shade.) We need music programs to celebrate and introduce the black music that is out there. We can’t just wait for white record labels to discover an artists because Kylie Jenner tweeted them. We have the platform..USE IT!!
4. Work with someone else in addition to Mara Brock-Akil. She’s one woman, and can only do so much…Everything successful on your channel shouldn’t JUST come from her.
5. BET AWARDS:
- You don’t have to give white artists acknowledgement just because they are white. If your target audience is black, then your winners should reflect the audience. I am not sure what’s on your winning rubric, but big numbers are how you determine the winners, then your research should be based on your audience. Just because Sam Smith sold a billion albums doesn’t mean he should win, if he only sold a thousand to black people. Sounds racist, but the Grammys do shit like this all the time.
- Your categories suck. Black music is much more complex than the measely 9 or 10 categories that you have. For example: For the past few years Nicki minaj has been the MOST relevant person in the female rap category. Nicki minaj is about the only relevant female rap artist because she is the only one acknowledged by the white audience also…BUT! if you take my advice from step 3 and promote more music, your audience will be familiar with more than just nicki minaj and therefore there won’t be a female rap artist category with Nicki minaj and the powerpuff girls randomly.
- A throwback/ reunion needs to happen every year. Everyone agrees that old school black music is the best, and we get our lives every time someone is brought back..Do it More and DO IT BIGGER!
- Don’t allow Artists to feel as though they are more than your program. For example: If Beyonce cannot come, do not play a video of her. It’s desperate–Give that moment to someone who will respect your program enough to show up. She is NOT God, and neither is Jay z, Nicki minaj or Rihanna. They just happen to be one’s that white people like. You don’t have to get on that phony ass bandwagon.
- MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC! with minimal skits and raggedy comedy.
6. Movies–Choose these carefully and don’t play the same ones over and over, chill on Tyler Perry–we’ve seen enough of his stuff, and try to get a hold of some of our classic movies to play as well. But not everyday all day. Maybe on the weekends.
7. Running episodes of Scandal is stupid.
8. Although it’s BET, do not be afraid to invite of races and cultures into your programming. Everything doesn’t have to be all black, but don’t force the white. Let it be a natural flow.
9. Get rid of the Hip Hop awards. That funding could go somewhere else. They are just very unnecessary right now. Until you effectively represent music on the channel, you don’t really have room for genre-focused award shows. Add the cypher to the BET awards–or even create some sub-platform for cyphers, because those are entertaining.
10. Add a significant program for substantial news and information. Like a daily show with john Stewart type show.
BET, if you follow these 10 suggestions, I promise you will see a positive change and highly respected channel.