There From Here

Start Here…Get There

  • Follow Me on Twitter

  • Recent Comments

    WeAreAvant on Getting There: Tavaghn “…
    Avant on Guest Post: Part II Strengthen…
    Yasmin (Arrows With… on Getting There: Howard Jean Spe…
    Getting There: Tavag… on Getting There: Tavaghn “…
    Julie on Guest Post: Hey, Gen Y, Are Yo…
  • July 2009
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS My Blog

    • There From Here Has Moved!
      Until I can get a re-direct working, please note that I have moved to my own domain at Advertisements
    • #GenYChat with Josip Petrusa
      On Wednesday June 9, 2010 #GenYChat will have a guest moderator: Josip Petrusa! To participate in the discussion, click this link. We will be discussing the GenY Catch 22: Getting experience without having experience and dealing with the consequences. For transcripts from previous chats, please click here
    • RTOD: Domain Name Pain
      I‘ve been going back and forth with myself for a little while now regarding the purchase of a domain name. I started this blog a year ago to give myself the opportunity to finally get serious about what I wanted to do with my life. I feel that I’ve done a consistent job with this […]
    • Gen Y: How Do You Handle Promotions?
      The situation: You have experience at a certain level of authority within a company. You are being offered a promotion by a different company that is in the same industry but has different products. The question: If you’ve never worked with the products, how do you convince yourself, and, thus, the company offering the promotion, […]
    • Guest Post: Hey, Gen Y, Are You Afraid To Network?
      I’m a Gen Y job seeker. Unemployment data tells me I’m not the only one. A recent Pew study shows that 37% of 18-29 year olds are out of work! But the career and networking events I go to tell a different story. Networking, networking, networking. We’ve all heard endless times how it’s the best […]
    • Getting There: Howard Jean Speaks Part II
      Getting There is a series featuring interviews from Generation Y young people who are breaking stereotypes and not only working hard to achieve their own definition of success but working to improve the lives of others around them. Mr. Howard Jean, Director of the Call Me MISTER (CMM) Program, works to improve the lives of […]
    • Getting There: Howard Jean Speaks Part I
      Getting There is a series featuring interviews from Generation Y young people who are breaking stereotypes and not only working hard to achieve their own definition of success but working to improve the lives of others around them. Mr. Howard Jean, Director of the Call Me MISTER (CMM) Program, works to improve the lives of […]
    • Getting There: Tavaghn “Montsterr” Monts Speaks Part II
      Getting There is a series featuring interviews from Generation Y young people who are breaking stereotypes and not only working hard to achieve their own definition of success but working to improve the lives of others around them. Among other professions Tavaghn “Montster” Monts is Vice President of My Life Keys where he works as a Motivator […]
    • Getting There: Tavaghn “Montsterr” Monts Speaks Part I
      Getting There is a series featuring interviews from Generation Y young people who are breaking stereotypes and not only working hard to achieve their own definition of success but working to improve the lives of others around them. Among other professions Tavaghn “Montster” Monts is Vice President of My Life Keys where he works as […]
    • Talking About My Generation Y
      Generation Y gets talked about quite frequently. We’re lazy, unmotivated, listless, unproductive, blah blah blah. Frankly, I’m none of these things. I know many more GenY’ers who don’t fit this stereotype, either. Hiring managers, why are you consistently hiring the same type of GenY young person if business claim to despise having them in their […] […]
  • Previous Entries

Dear BET, Why Do You Hate Us?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on July 28, 2009

This is a letter written to Black Entertainment Television (BET) by a fifteen year old who wants to know why BET does not promote positive images of Black people, choosing only to exploit the negative, profit-making images. I did not edit the content, spelling or grammar of this letter.

Dear Debra Lee,

I’m Janita Patrick, a 15-year-old African-American female from Cincinnati. Recently, I watched the 2009 BET Awards and felt the strongest urge to reach out to the program. My family is of the typical middle-class variety; both parents and four brothers. See, I’m a junior in high school (got skipped), so naturally EVERYBODY in my age group watches BET. I’m used to seeing the sagging pants, tattoos, lack of emphasis on reading and respecting women that makes up your videos. People in my class live this out everyday, while teachers tell us that we’re acting just like the people in your shows.

In your shows. That struck me as odd, because I would think that with your show being the primary outlet for black entertainers and musicians, and considering the context of blacks in this country, there’s a social responsibility factor to consider. I would never blame BET alone for the way a great deal of my classmates act and talk and dress. Everybody makes their own choices. However, if anybody is aware the power of television on impressionable minds, it’s the people running the television operations. If you are not aware, then perhaps you shouldn’t be running the operations.

Guess who watches your network the most? Not those who are intelligent enough to discern foolishness from substance, but those who are barely teenagers, impressionable and believing. It’s awfully cruel to plant seeds of ignorance in fertile minds. You know it’s really bad when the co-founder of BET, Sheila Johnson, said that she “really doesn’t watch it” anymore.

I am constantly fighting against the images and messages put forth on your program. What made you think that it’s okay to bring my classmates on stage to dance behind Lil Wayne and Drake to a song talking about boffing “every girl in the world”? Why does reality train wrecks have to thrown in our faces? Are you aware of the achievement gap going in inner-city African-American communities? A report from America’s Promise Alliance, a non-profit group started by Colin Powell, recently stated that 47 percent of high school students in the nation’s top 50 cities don’t graduate. (Fifty-four percent of males of color in Ingham County graduated from high school, compared to 74 percent of white males). This isn’t because of BET per se, but I don’t see any episodes on your show doing anything to counteract this disturbing trend. In fact, your show is a part of this cycle of media depicting us at our worst.

My older brother told me something about profit being the number one goal for every business. I’m not sure I understand what that means, but I do know that your shows have to be entertaining enough to generate viewers, which is how you make your money. But surely our culture is rich enough to entertain without anything extra to “boost” ratings; why the over-the-top foolery? I listen to classmates talk about Baldwin Hills like it’s the Manhattan Project. It doesn’t take much effort to produce a throng of degenerative reality shows, nor does it take much to eliminate socially conscious shows off the air. MTV isn’t much better, but since when does two wrongs ever make a right? It’s one thing for white television shows to depict us in a particular way, but for black television shows to do it is baffling.

Why do you hate us?

All of the values that my parents seek to instill in me and my brothers seems to be contradicted by a more powerful force from the media, and your show is at the forefront. Your network is the only network that features rap videos and shows exclusively to children of my color. I know that you have no control over the music that the artists put out, but you do have influence as to how you air these videos. I’m sure if a stand was taken to use the talent in your organization to actually crank out thought-provoking entertaining shows and videos, then artists will follow suit. Being that they need you as much as you need them.

There was one awkward segment in the BET Awards when Jamie Foxx singled out three black doctors-turned-authors, but the introduction was so powerless that many of the viewers had no idea who they were. Had they been introduced as Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, three brothers who overcame major obstacles to become a success without the use of lyrics that berate women, the sell of substance that destroy communities or through raps about loose gunplay, then maybe my classmates would have come to school talking about more than Beyonce, T-Pain’s BIG ASS CHAIN and Soulja Boy Tell Em’s hopping out the bed.

But they weren’t introduced like that. It seemed like a throwaway obligatory tribute to appease some irritated fans. It missed the mark. Big time. Ask Michelle Obama if she watches BET or encourages Sasha and Malia to do so. Ask President Obama. It’s a reason he is the leader of the free world, and it isn’t because of Buffoonery Exists Today.

You’d be surprised how smart young black children can be with the absence of Blacks Embarrassing Themselves. If your goal is to deter engaged, forward-thinking articulate black minds, then consider your goal fulfilled. It’s hard-pressed to think that your shows are working to promote cultural betterment. However, it’s quite easy to conclude that the destruction of black children through the glorification of immoral behavior and rushed production is by design. Poison is being swallowed by every viewer who adores your network, and the worse thing is, these viewers – my classmates – are not even aware what they’re swallowing.

There is nothing edifying for black women on your show. I don’t judge people who do throng to your programs though; I mean, if a jet crashes in right in front of me, I’ll watch it too. That’s why I don’t flip by your channel…I don’t even want to be sucked in.

I have aspirations of acquiring a law degree and possibly entering the public sphere, so I can counteract conditions in my community perpetuated by the images on your channel. So I should thank you, because in a weird sense, your shoddy programming is the wind behind my back. And it is my hope that I can accomplish my dreams despite BET’s pictorial messages, because Lord knows it won’t be because of them.


Janita Patrick

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

11 Responses to “Dear BET, Why Do You Hate Us?”

  1. slow clap.

  2. Kevin L said

    From the mouths of children…

  3. Vicky D said

    To read this letter brings me great joy. This young lady couldn’t have said it any better as a mother of 2 a 2 years old and 3 years old boy and girl I thank you for taking a stand. I hope that the powers that be at BET make a change for the sake of our children. By the way I was on Teen Summit form 1996 to 1999 since the show went off air I stopped watching BET, at one point in time there was some hope for the young black youth of America.

    • Wow! Growing up, I used to wish that I could be on Teen Summit one day. Sadly, I lost that opportunity. I’d love to see BET return to being a responsible outlet for the Black community. Do they have the responsibility to act in place of parents, though? (Just playing devil’s advocate)

  4. Domonique said

    Janita Janita Janita!!! You read BET like Aesop reading a fable. Sadly everything you said was true. As a Ivy League graduate you inspire me!! It’s ridiculous how the vision of the Johnsons have been marred by delusions of profit margins. Kudos to you for taking action!!

  5. Denise said

    Janita, an amazing letter. I wish you every success, and I’m sure you’ll achieve your dreams (and more).

  6. Charles Hudson said

    Thank you, thank you and thank you again for speaking up, Janita Patrick. Everything you said is on point and it gives me hope for our future that people like you are setting out to shape it. I know how BET will respond; with a shrug of their collective shoulders while considering their profits. But there are many, many of us out here with you. Your family and friends are proud of you, I’m sure, for doing the right thing. I hope one day people like you either own BET, or force it out of business with constructive alternatives. Meantime, I urge everyone for whom your words resonate to keep away from them and keep their children away from them too!

  7. Well put…this gives me hope in our children’s ability to see through the nonsense and spiritual blindness.

    My next question is how can we position ourselves to be the positive alternates they are and will be seeking?

  8. Mel said

    I am pleased at the amount of people that are conscious of this horrid plot to create a mind controlled trap for impressionable youths to fall in. The young lady hit it right on the head, as “Black People” are depending on this media outlet to create a forum that speaks to the youth and helps to guide them, and I have been wondering why this is not so. Well I did my own independent study and search and I found that the typical Architype that is presented to our youth is the “Do What Thou Wilt” This is a qoute Aliester Crowley who is not only Barbara Bush’s Dad, but also he was known by his occult followers as the wickedest man to ever walk the earth. There is alot of information I could type here to help you better understand what this man has to do with HipHop or Bet, but I will tell you, look up these key terms “Boule” “Occult in HipHop” and hopefully you will start to see why it is important to be aware and not continue life with your eye’s wide shut.

  9. Steve B. said

    Bravo! A well-crafted, heart felt outcry for change that is exactly the type of bold “real talk” needed within the black community. My family recently had a similar conversation over the dinner table and it is letters like this that have the potential to go viral and force the executives at “Blacks Embarassing Themselves” to take a long, hard look at what their mission and vision for black entertainment ought to be. You can’t tell me that entertainment above the level of buffoonery and derision can’t also be extremely profitable, e.g. The Cosby Show, A Different World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Jeffersons, etc., to name a few. The precedents are numerous. Why don’t the executives at BET challenge themselves and their audience by airing some reality shows that highlight the aspirations of people like Janita who overcome the negative peer pressures of inner city schools and go on to pursue degrees in challenging fields. Or present a reality show about the many young black engineers, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and other professionals who are elevating themeselves and their young families into the middle and upper middle class, and chronicle their struggles with the cultural conflicts they face when reaching back to the old neighborhood? There are a plethora of stories within black America that should be elevated to the forefront to fight the negative stigma that has masked the achievements of blacks in America for far too long.
    No more excuses BET…its time for a change.

  10. Tracy said


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: