The King of Pop, Tributes, Minstrel Shows & The BET Music Awards

I admit that until last night I had never watched any of the previous 8 episodes of the BET music awards.  I’ve had no use for BET since they sold the soul of the original premise of the network from being a place where black folk can go for varying forms of entertainment and information, to that of mere entertainment (if you want to call it that) of booty shaking videos.   In the past perhaps I saw a clip or two of some performance or controversial moment after the fact, but since the focus of the show was to change in honoring the late Michael Jackson, I decided to tune in.

I appreciated the decision to change the show around and in such short notice it that said about about BET’s management and staff, specifically Janet Rolle the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.  She also happens to be a black woman.  I thought for the most part the producers and artist did a good job of honoring Michael’s fans and family.  Michael’s father Joe, was there from the start and sister Janet gave some heartfelt statements of gratitude in her own words.

Unfortunately, what started as an honorable show hosted by Jamie Foxx couldn’t  sustain the necessary class it takes to honor Jackson’s musical legacy and instead went to what I can only describe as utter niggerdom.  (By niggerdom I don’t mean color.  I mean ignorance) Lil Wayne and Drake  got on stage and made mockery of the show with their misogynistic over sexed rants within their so called performance.  That ruined the entire show.  What made these punks think it was proper to drop so much profanity that their words were blocked out every few seconds is beyond me. And that little reference to Michael Jackson afterwards was weak too.  I mean what the hell?  I just don’t see Mike figuring that to represent what he stood for musically.

Here are the lyrics to one of the songs.

What is really bothersome to me however; is the fact that the same black woman I mentioned above who was in charge of the performances and okaying the content allowed this to go on.  What is even more disturbing than that were the women in the audience who were singing and dancing along as these punks disrespected their very worth as women.  And we wonder why a Chris Brown can beat a Rhianna.  We participate in our own demise far too often.  That is another story.  I felt good watching the program all the way up until then.  And ever afterwards, there was nothing that could be done to revive what was dead. 

I tell you what.  I will never and I mean EVER watch the BET Awards again.  BET has failed the black community a long time ago.  And even after I stopped watching any of the programs almost 15 years ago, it’s clear that I didn’t miss anything at all.

Lil Wayne, Drake, you guys suck and you’re a disgrace.  You give minstrel shows.  Check your history!   In the words of Terrance Howard in crash.  “You embarrass me.  You embarrass yourself.”

Conflicts of Interest! I Don’t Want to Meet The Browns!

I admit it!  I have never watched a single episode of “Meet The Brown’s.”  But since I watch a lot of TNT when the NBA telecast are on, I am constantly bombarded with the stations advertisers who tell me the show is “very funny.” 

But I just can’t seem to bring myself to be interested in this show.   Every time I see highlights, all I see is Mr. Brown shuffling and clowning like Stepin Fetchit.  He looks like a joke who buffoons on the screen singing and dancing like Mantan Moreland and Sleep n’ Eat on Spike Lee’s movie “Bamboozled.” 

“Bamboozled” was meant to make a point about the images in African-American media, and how many of the same issues of yesteryear when all black people were allowed to do on movies and television was to clown and belittle themselves are still relevant today.  History shows that African-Americans shows are mostly always comedies with very little if any dramas.  Since the show City of Angels there have been no dramas on television with a mainly African-American cast.  In many ways Bamboozled seemed to make this point among others by being over the top in it’s parodies.   Or does it?  Tyler Perry’s play – turned movie – turned sitcom looks like a minstrel show just from the previews.  And it’s sickening to me.

I wonder as well why black folk have not had anything critical to say about it.  Perhaps it’s because we are proud of the success Tyler Perry has amassed in the industry.  I think most of us are proud of what he has been able to accomplish, but it seems to me like the motivation for money and acclaim is allowing him to do just about anything with this show.  And it’s like a dirty little secret that we allow it without protest.  This proves that Bamboozled is relevant though many of us critiziced it. 

I already touched on the Mudear thing.  I was fine with the original premise of the plays and I thought it made for good entertainment.  I am not mad about the movies either because it employed black people and allowed a black man to tell stories about black people.  My thing was that it’s just gotten out of hand. 

Other directors like David Simon who did “The Wire”, talked about how after he told the complete story in five seasons on HBO, he didn’t want to do a “Wire” movie or continue the series for the sake of making money.  He  didn’t want to sell out his contributions or cheapen the significance of his product. 

Perhaps it’s not a fair comparison because the two shows are different.  But I am so not impressed.  If anything I am totally disgusted with the way this show is presented.  I can only imagine the horrors of having to sit through hours of it on TV.  Often the network runs hours of the 30 minute show in marathon fashion on certain nights.

I like to laugh as much as anybody.  I can certainly laugh at myself and African-American stereotypes as well.  Stereotypical comedy done artfully is hilarious.  Stereotypical for the sake of feeding steretypes and getting paid is treason!

As black folk we should hold Perry accountable.  But unfortunately, the popularity of the program shows we may be participating in the demise of our own images.  And then we wonder why we are not taken seriously.  For all of our success, this show takes us backwards!