Usher and Justin Bieber
BET has officially lost its sense of “Black Entertainment Television”
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
If you haven’t heard the recent controversy surrounding the network, let me be the first to tell you that Justin Bieber, a popular white singer, was nominated for a BET Award in the category of Best New Artist.
Internet sites across the world have been chiming in on whether or not this was a good or bad move for theÂ network. The reactions have been mixed across the board so it was only right that I chime in and give my two cents on the issue.
Plain and simple, BET is playing it “safe.” At first glance, the decision may look like a risky move but it is not.
Many will ask, how this was a safe move when BET is risking aggravating their primary audience?Â But that is what this nomination was meant to do, aggravate BET’s primary audience, us, Black people.
As long as we (black people) are talking and complaining about the network than the award show becomes the hot topic of the moment. Â We all know that controversy sells.
It’s no mystery that the BET Award show has been losing ground year after year, so this was a strategic publicity move by the network to try and spark interest back into the failing award show.
In addition, look at the this year’s category for Best New Artist and the artist, Justin Bieber, is matched up against, Melanie Fiona, Young Money, Wale and Nicki Minaj. Â The lack of star power makes the Best New Artist category the perfect fit for a wild card selection.
BET network is just being consistent to what they are accustomed to doing over the past few years because this wouldn’t be the first time they nominated a Caucasian artist.
Bieber’s nomination is no different than when Justin Timberlake (white singer) and Robin Thicke (white singer) were bothÂ nominated for BET Awards. Â Another notable white artist to receive BET recognition was rapper Eminem.
So over the last few years, BET has made a conscious decision to appear colorblind rather than stick to the networks demographic base which is Black entertainers entertaining on television.
So I thank BET executives for attempting to be consistent however I criticize them for not properly highlighting artists that deserve to win awards. Â It seems as though BET only judges based on popularity rather than talent and overall ability.
If BET wants to truly be colorblind than they need to allow more nationalities to participate than just Blacks and Whites. Â What about Latino artist like rap artist Pit Bull? Â Pit Bull has dominated radio air waves for the past two years.
In addition, if the network wants to stick with its adapted colorblind mentality than why not highlight a plethora of white artists that we as black people have been known to support? Â Artists such as Tina Marie, Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Joss Stone, and Adele.
Justin Bieber is being sold as a “cross over act,” but who gave him this title?
That’s why P. Diddy came out publicly to support the nomination. I mean are we serious? Diddy is the best they could bring for urban support? Â It’s like white America thinks Diddy is the Al Sharpton to represent all black music issues. Â That’s when I threw my hands up on this topic. Â i mean come on, P. Diddy is supposed to make us calm and cool? Â What nerve!
Bieber’s nomination has nothing to do with whether or not he actually appeals to us (black people). Â It’s only about ratings and exposure for the network. Â As long as BET has us (black people worked up about the issue), they know that we will tune it to watch the show. Â That’s all that matters for BET are the ratings.
This is the primary reason why I miss the world famous Soul Train Awards and the support of Don Cornelius. Â Don always represented what Black people stood for and the sound we made at the moment.
Don made it mandatory to highlight African American achievements in music because main stream media more often than not lacked a color conscience. Â African Americans are usually left on the outside looking in. Â We never receive the proper recognition from mainstream award shows like the Grammy’s and the American Music Awards.
That’s why I feel that all Black award ceremonies should feature only black acts because the only reason for a “black award ceremony” is to highlight African American achievements and accomplishments.
In a perfect world we would all have the same opportunities everyday but that is not the case in the world we live in.
We live in a color conscious society which is why the birth of a BET (Black Entertainment Television) was and is so vital to the struggle of black people. Â We have to see ourselves in our own light. Â Not through the lens of white men but through the lens of black men.