Sunday, March 23, 2003

Black History Month in Review

Well we've gone through another black history month none the worse for wear. Why we dedicate a month to black history rather than incorporating it into it's appropriate place with the rest of history is beyond me, but the thing I want to talk on today is BET. BET is the initial black TV channel. I say initial because it has had competitors (all gone now) and is about to get more (Read More Here). But what is it about BET that has given it such staying power? The rich and powerful of the black community have long derided BET and its programming choices (those horrid rap videos glorifying sex and violence mainly). Yet this channel is dominate, and has dominated the market. This channel has focused so solely on these videos that they even got rid of their news sections. I must ask, Why? What makes their market such that anything other than those videos fails? Is it the market itself? Or are the programmers offering programming to the lowest common denominator?

If the latter is the case then why did those other ventures into black entertainment channels fail so gloriously? If the former is the case, why are the leaders of the black community surprised that violence is so rampant in their communities? They cannot complain about the overwhelming black prison population until their culture, as evidenced by their programming on their entertainment channels, stops glorifying violence. Now this is not to say that violence and crime are due to the music, the problem rests more in the broken hmes, single family homes, and children being raised by grandparents than due to music. The music is just a cultural thermometer for the social ills that plague the community. Instead of celebrating history, should we not be tryin to chane our present?