By Kailei Richardson
When I read on Target Market News that it wasn’t CNN’s “Black in America 2” that took the #1 spot of black households last week but rather it was BET’s “Tiny & Toya,” I was more than heated! Maybe it was my disconcertion with BET and/or the lack of diverse images of Black Americans on television; or maybe it’s the unfortunate reality that though the most powerful couple in the United States is educated and Black, the media continues to perpetuate the stereotypes.
So why is it that shows like Tiny & Toya, Flava of Love, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta receive higher ratings than CNN’s “Black in America 2,” TV One’s “Unsung,” or former sitcom “Girlfriends”? Is it that less stereotypical images of blacks are not considered compelling TV? Or is it that the demand for more positive images is just not there? Perhaps Centric’s upcoming Keeping Up With the Jonses and some of OWN‘s programming will generate more ratings than its predecessors, but only time will tell. In the meantime, tell us what you think!
Last night, Jamie Foxx played host to BET’s annual music awards celebration. In light of Michael Jackson’s passing, the folks at BET changed gears to put on a show that would reflect and honor his memory. If you were on Twitter or Facebook then you know just how many people were updating their status or tweeting in real time throughout the program. Did you watch the show? If so, what did you think about it?
If you have not seen it yet, BET has a new show as a partnership with Procter & Gamble called “My Black is Beautiful,” under the same name as a site P&G launched to celebrate the “beauty of every African-American woman.” Hosted by actress Tasha Smith, the show covers topics related to black women’s beauty including Michelle Obama’s influence on black beauty, colors to complement black women’s skin tones, hair trends, positive body image and self esteem. I must say, I was excited to see such positive programming on BET. I went to their website to see what additional content and information they had related to the subject matter and was surprised at what I discovered. The show’s homepage on BET.com includes an image linked to the latest episode (OK, makes sense). Underneath that was a section on “More on Skincare” (Great! Maybe I can learn something). Also in this section was an image of Meagan Good with the caption, “Avoid these hair and make up faux pas”. I clicked on the image and discovered that these were not tips on what not to do but rather harsh commentary reminiscent of the “Fashion Police” cartoons I used to see in the back of hair magazines back in the day. Statements like “Wake up Golden [Brooks]! Put on a little mascara already!” and “What is that on Mel B’s head? Is it a hat, a honey bun or a turtle?” Though I am guilty of occasionally checking out gossip blogs that certainly have made statements more severe, my disappointment came primarily from the placement of this content. Here they are celebrating “Black beauty,” but in the same breath, on the same page, blatantly criticizing the same beautiful black women. Is tearing each other down so commonplace and “normal” that we can’t even have one Web page of positive images and content about black women?
A couple weeks ago BET launched Harlem Heights, its new reality series featuring attractive, upwardly-mobile 20-somethings living in Harlem. With a huge product integration deal from J&J and lots of shots of local hot spots, Harlem Heights has often been compared to MTV’s The Hills.
Now that it has been on for a couple weeks, we want to know what you think about BET’s attempt at showing the “young black elite.” Do you think Harlem Heights is win for BET? Do you think it is a positive portrayal of Black America? Let us know your thoughts!