We are now living in a society where pre-marital, polygamous sex has become glamorized, and the purchase of high-priced luxury goods outweigh morals, ethics, and oftentimes common sense.
On any television channel at any time of day, you can find intimate sexual scenes or the suggestion thereof, vulgar language, and portrayals of excessive, irresponsible spending habits of young African Americans. While television stations may use this type of programming to increase ratings, they are also leaving a permanent impression on the minds of our youth.
While this type of programming has sparked controversy within the African American community and outraged many young adults, until recently not much has been done to create a difference and possibly counterattack the effect that these portrayals may have. BET Chief Executive Debra Lee, after being consistently, yet some say, appropriately attacked for the oversexed, booty-shaking visuals and negative images of women projected into the homes of millions on a daily basis, decided to take a stand and make a change.
In early March, BET sponsored “Leading Women Defined,” a two-day summit that gathered many of today’s most powerful and affluent African American women from around the nation, to generate a positive change.
“We’ve been really concerned with trying to show different facets of Black life; I think Black women really want to see themselves as professionals, as mothers, as daughters. We want the whole spectrum of our womanhood to be reflected.”
This change of direction at BET may be the reason for the new video-banning trend that has swept the network. Two female R&B artists have had their videos removed from the network. Recording artist Teairra Mari video “Sponsor,” which has been noted as lyrically insinuating that women should find a man to “sponsor” their lifestyle, in return for sex, was one of the first to be axed, since the summit. Shortly after that, female artist Ciara, whose latest video, ‘Ride,’ is visually and lyrically risqué. It also contains sexually seductive dance moves and extremely suggestive subject matter.
The decision to remove these videos has sent fans into an uproar. They have gone as far as creating a twitition (an electronic petition created via twitter), and have made this statement, “We have been recently notified that Ciara’s new music video, “Ride,” is not being shown on BET, because it’s too sexual. Note that they play Trey Songz’ “I Invented Sex” [where he is having sex with women in the video], as well as his “Neighbors Know My Name” [where he is having sex with a different woman].
While all of the aforementioned are slightly too raunchy for television, BET has not banned the Trey Songz videos. For this, the fans argue that BET has a double standard.
For years, many have argued that BET’s programming has shifted, especially with the loss of shows like “Teen Summit.” Perhaps, this is Lee’s attempt to reform the images of women portrayed on the network. If so we must accept her attempt. After all, change must start somewhere.
Although we all may know right from wrong, and have the ability to decipher appropriate behavior from inappropriate, there are those younger than us who may not. As they are our future, we are held responsible for them.