BET Steps it up; Mandela removed from US terrorist list

Well, wait, I was about to do a quick blog announcing the Hip Hop Vs. America that was showing again debating the sexes.  It was hosted by Cousin Jeff last time, and they had the reincarnation of Frederick Douglass, Michael Eric Dyson on the show going against T.I.  and Nelly  and that episode garnered much respect for me towards both Nelly and T.I.   But, as I went online to get correct showtimes for the show, and also some info so I could write about Baldwin Hills and I came across this story entitled “Mandela Removed from US Terror List”:

Following a national outcry which even included comments of outrage from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the United States government will finally remove former South African President Nelson Mandela’s from a U.S. terrorism watch list. The international icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner’s treatment by the U.S. government urged lawmakers to introduce a bill to take him off the list. President Bush signed the bill Tuesday. “He had no place on our government’s terror watch list, and I’m pleased to see this bill finally become law,” said Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Mandela, the former head of the African National Congress, was the jailed for 24 years during the heyday of apartheid, the South African regime’s longtime system of racial separation that was brutally enforced by the White minority government for 46 years. South African dubbed the apartheid-fighting ANC a terrorist group. Thus ANC members were denied U.S. visas, without special permission. Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and, four years later, apartheid officially crumbled, but the leader’s name remained on the U.S. terrorist watch list. Under the new bill, both the State Department and Homeland Security Department have the power to dissolve the restrictions against Mandela and fellow ANC members. “What it will do is make sure that there aren’t any extra hoops for either a distinguished individual, like former President Mandela, or other members of the African National Congress to get a U.S. visa,” State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

I guess I’ll overlook the fact that it was published as one paragraph (**rolls eyes**), but rather worry about it’s content.

Anywho…

On Saturday, July 6th, BET will be doing the second installment of Hip Hop Vs. America tackling this idea of black women vs. that of black men within the micro and macro-culture.  I’m interested to know who they have on the show this time, although I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who can go blow for blow against Dyson.  Hopefully I’ll be able to catch some of it tomorrow, but I’m going to be in Philadelphia all of next week and clearly the people I’m with won’t give a damn about me missing this small piece of black American culture.

Also, I wanna talk about this idea of Baldwin Hills.  I think because of the dearth of black people given my current sichy-ashun, I’ve watched wayyyyyyyyyyy more BET than I ever had.  I used to, and still will when necessary, criticize BET because of just how pitiful the programming is (I still won’t talk about the clips of the BET Awards and AfterParty at Ciroc that I caught), but I saw glimmers of light in Baldwin Hills.  Duh, it’s the answer to MTVs Laguna Beach and I think I’ll take this moment to criticize because I see an opportunity.

Are those who are involved in the creative process at BET only worthy of imitation.  First they copied Real World  and called it College Hill making a mockery of what it means to be from an HBCU and now they copied Laguna Beach and have Baldwin Hills, what Wikipedia calls “the black version” of Laguna Beach.  Don’t get me wrong, I can identify with “Baldwin Hills” and “College Hill” on many levels, and I’m glad for the programs, but damn, why we always gotta be a day late and a dollar short?  Is it that MTV created the niche for the programming and BET merely filled it?  Or was it really that BET followed MTV?  I’m not sure, I’d love to get some feedback on this one

And there’s also this first in BET programming that has sparked my interest and I’m anxious to hear more about it.

BET is making the first scripted series in its 28-year history, a sitcom about a group of black slackers.

“Somebodies” is expected to premiere in October, Reginald Hudlin, BET’s entertainment president, said Wednesday.

As the first cable channel geared to blacks, BET featured a lot of music programming, syndicated fare and reality shows, but it was criticized for not spending money to produce original programs.

Hudlin’s announcement of “Somebodies” was timed to coincide with the network’s presentation of its fall plans to advertisers Wednesday night.

“Somebodies” is based on a 2006 film that was in the Sundance Film Festival. The series will be produced by Pete Aronson and Warren Hutcherson, executive producers of “The Bernie Mac Show.” It will be set and filmed in Athens, Ga.

“For years people have wanted BET to expand the range of its original programming,” Hudlin said, “and now we are doing it.”

The network is developing several scripted shows, but this was the first deemed ready to go, he said.

BET — founded in 1979 by Robert Johnson, who sold it to Viacom Inc. for $3 billion in 2000 — will wait until after the major broadcast networks set their fall schedule before deciding what night and time “Somebodies” will air. “We’re a small network,” Hudlin said. “We have to look at what the big boys are doing, or else we’ll get crushed.”

However I am disappointed that this story was dated 2007 and I’m just now seeing adverts for the show in summer of 2008 and still the commercials just say “coming soon” not even in “coming in the fall” which of course, makes me nervous.  But it is a step in right direction.  Just hire back Jacque Reid and re-instate some sort of real news program and I’ll lay off of BET somewhat.

What’s your take on this idea of Nelson Mandela just getting off of a terrorist list by the US–was this merely a bureaucratic oversight or yet more instances of the pervasive and institutional racism that taints this country?  Also, what’s your particular take on that which is or was BET?

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

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2 thoughts on “BET Steps it up; Mandela removed from US terrorist list

  1. Michael Eric Dyson the reincarnation of Frederick Douglass? I would love to hear your rationale for this one…i love the hip hop doc and all, but this is quite a compliment!

  2. honestly, after reading Douglass’ 1852 speech about the Fourth of July to the Negro slave and finishing up “Is Bill Cosby Right?” and starting “Come Hell or High Water” I just realised that Frederick Douglass was one of the first, if not the first black cultural commentator/critique.

    I think those like Dyson, West, Randall Robinson, Carl Rowan (if I go back a lil’ bit) all fall in the vain of attempting to critically dissect that which is black culture in this American culture.

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