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BET Comes To South Africa on TopTV While BET Founder, Sheila Johnson Is Ashamed Of The Network…



Filed under : Africa, Pop Culture

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One of the reasons why I decided to share with you guys U.S television network, BET co-founder, Sheila Johnson‘s recent comments on her views on BET is that BET will be broadcast (again) in South Africa beginning MAY 1st via a new pay channel by On Digital Media (OND) called TopTV (no confirmed date for the actual launch however company’s media relations advised that the launch will be staggered throughout the month of May)…

BET used to be aired in South Africa on DSTV but was pulled from the South Africa’s channel boutique. However DSTV gave Nigeria & Ghana access to BET for whatever reason.

Now I, personally do not watch BET nor am I a fan of the network…but then again, I am not much of a TV watcher either!

So when I ran across the article regarding Sheila’s sentiments regarding her once-upon-a-time “baby“, I thought it was very instructive & insightful…

“Don’t even get me started…I don’t watch it. I suggest to my kids [a twenty-something daughter and a college-age son] that they don’t watch it… I’m ashamed of it, if you want to know the truth.”

Johnson—who was at the Tribeca Film Festival this week for the premiere of The Other City, a searing, but ultimately hopeful documentary she produced about the AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C.—says BET is making matters worse, and potentially contributing to the spread of AIDS, by promoting promiscuous, unprotected sex in raunchy late-night rap videos.

“When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news… I had a show called Teen Summit, we had a large variety of programming, but the problem is that then the video revolution started up… And then something started happening, and I didn’t like it at all. And I remember during those days we would sit up and watch these videos and decide which ones were going on and which ones were not. We got a lot of backlash from recording artists…and we had to start showing them. I didn’t like the way women were being portrayed in these videos.”

Johnson says she no longer has any connection with BET. “I just really wish—and not just BET but a lot of television programming—that they would stop lowering the bar so far just so they can get eyeballs to the screen. I know they think that’s what’s going to keep programming on the air; that’s what’s going to sell advertising. But there has got to be some responsibility. Somebody has got to take this over. Because with all the studies that are out there, this is contributing to an atmosphere of free sex, ‘I don’t have to protect myself anymore.’”

There! She said it. No holds barred! And my concern is that this which we call “entertainment” is now being exported to South Africa in particular & Africa in general – we have enough issues as it is to allow additional disfunction…just sayin’!

For the full article, click here.

Let us know your thoughts on this matter….


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Muah & ♥ ya for it!


farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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  • http://www.blacktree.tv Tony

    How ironic. She is just saying what many of us already feel in regards to BET. I used to LOVE everything about BET. From the programming choices to the sense of pride it used to engender. I remember BET news and respectable figures like Ananda Lewis, Donnie Simpson and Jackie Reid on the airwaves. Then…it changed and I want to say that is has much to do with its sale to Viacom in 2000. There does not seem to be any lengths that they will not go to be like its sister network, MTV.

    This has caused the “soul” of the programming to be lost. Everything that BET took years to build has been lost. The same respect that it held dear has been replaced with a look of disgust. SOMETHING needs to be done and its seems to be the rise of other networks, both traditional and new media that will again find the pulse of the people and capture the audience that Ms. Johnson fears is lost for good.

    Nice article!

  • Allegro Dinkwanyane

    People seem excited about this TopTV but I’m not convinced yet. And as for BET…I’ll hold my thoughts back ,for now…