Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Dear BET and Parent Company Viacom:


It is with great regret and deep sadness that I write this letter and open public plea to our number one network for African-Americans that being Black Entertainment Television, i.e., BET, recently purchased by media giant VIACOM.
During the last six days, since the crisis of Hurricane Katrina, the BET Network has operated under business as usual and a slight reference to a benefit concert nearly 10 days after the storm?
Folks, we need media coverage from BET now, today, hour-to-hour, 24-7, day-in-and-day-out!
If we are going to blast President George W. Bush for conducting business as usual, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) head Michael Brown for not moving fast enough, we have to hold ourselves just as accountable and look at whether BET is moving too slowly and conducting "business as usual."
I love BET, but given this catastrophe and the aftermath affecting people that look like me, I had to make this last minute desperate and urgent plea to BET and out-going Chairman/owner Mr. Bob Johnson, BET Program Executive Stephen Hill and the new Viacom leadership (which owns BET) and/or anyone else in charge at the network.
My humble and passionate request: shutdown regular programming and go live with Ed Gordon, Michelle Miller, Jacque Reid or ANYONE to encourage, guide, inform, update, locate, inspire and FIND our missing, displaced, broken and scattered black people. The network can also help those of us around the country in a concerted, organized campaign to feed, house and clothe the disenfranchised.
Our people are dying by the thousands daily in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and most likely even in Houston after removal from the disaster areas due to poor health, infections and the heat, among other factors.
CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC and other networks are providing daily, 24-hour coverage, but the very network that we love, which is supposed to represent us is still running Comic View, 106 & Park, Access Granted, my beloved Bobby Jones Gospel show and other black programming in reruns.
For example, as I write this letter on Sunday afternoon, September 4, 2005, the BET network is airing reruns of the Stellar Awards, Access Granted, the 100th re-broadcast and airing of the 2005 BET Awards, seemingly in a 'business as usual' programming schedule. The Awards show is great, but we need to turn off the entertainment and deal with humanity.
Please, I beg you BET and Viacom, go live with your broadcast from New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Biloxi, or somewhere in the damaged disastrous areas and galvanize our people, instruct our people and again help our people find each other. As a black network, this is the most responsible thing you can do at this critical hour.
Specifically, we need the BET Network to be a source of direction, a pivotal point for the organization of relief efforts, helpful websites, monetary contributions, benefit concerts, and most importantly, a communication source for our brothers and sisters in the disaster to find their relatives and locate each other.
And, indeed I realize a BET benefit concert Friday, September 9, 2005, is a great effort, but more action and information is needed now and we don't have 5 days.
You have networks like Fox with Geraldo, Greta Van Sustern, and Bill O'Reilly connecting displaced families with rescuers and family members.
You have CNN with Larry King hosting three hours specials, and ABC's Ted Koppell calling leaders to action and on the carpet. I am certain if the top brass at BET organized, our black staff reporters would do the same and have even more compassion and help the cause.
Again, I regret to write this email, but as an African-American, and long-term viewer of BET, it is imperative that we hold you accountable during this crisis which is adversely affecting our people with the same standard we are holding the other outlets and leaders.
Please cancel all programming, get a crew down there, and Shoot! I'll even leave my job and volunteer to help you, if necessary, and bring my staff with me to help organize our efforts.
History will look back at Bob Johnson and the BET Family and network and ask: Where were you? What did you do as a responsible media outlet? Did you help people or do business as usual?
Right now, the sad message you are sending is: it's Business as usual!!!


Sincerely,
James L. Walker, Jr., Esq.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BET did what all the other black folks are doing. Leaving it to the white man to take care of it.

6.9.05  
Blogger MALIBU JONES said...

Ok Anonymous- not all black folks are leaving it to the white man to take care of it, I have no problem busting you, any white person, or any black person in the ass, for that matter, you see, the blacks I know take care of things themselves, don't need white man help, I am probably the minority, but DO NOT MAKE A BLANKET STATEMENT LIKE THAT

7.9.05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok malibu then answer the charge provided in the letter. Why did BET continue to operate as normal? Where were the black leaders, all the black stars, entertainers, political and religious leader before all of this took place?
I know where, doin the bling bling. New Orleans was very poor before all of this.
While athletes are driving Hummers and Diddy is promoting his clothing line and black mega church pastors are stepping in gators, these people were living in poverty.
After the cameras stop rolling the ones you see now T.D. Jakes comes to mind will go back to ignoring black people like they did before.
And for your information I’m not white if that is what you are thinking.

7.9.05  
Blogger MALIBU JONES said...

I really doesn't matter what you are, I felt you made a stupid comment and I answered it, Why more media coverage? Don't you feel it hard enough without another newcaster in these people faces all the damn time, BET is owned by VIACOM, VIACOM makes the decisions, not Bob Johnson, would having BET down there make any type of difference, The people need help, not another new station in the way, True New Orleans has poverty, but so does Washington DC, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, why blame black entertainers and athletes, I will say this and it's unfortunate, Most blacks will not help their own and that's tragic, look that the number of black colleges that are failing, the alumi will not give back, Now there are some, but not a majority.
Now I don't profess to be a "smarter than the next person" type of individual, but I do try to think things out. And I think you are way off base, but enough debate, MOVE ON

7.9.05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stop the self righteous crap. my point had nothing to do with media coverage it was merely symbolic of the whole situation. the vast majority of the rescue personnel, medial workers, shelter organizers and other volunteers are white, yet people want to talk shit about how racists this country is. i stand by my statement and unless you have been elected as blog mayor i think we are free to post comments and if you think they are off base then just say so if not then you move on.

8.9.05  
Anonymous RON MEXICO said...

AMERICA, AMERICA, LAND OF THE FREE, I have been reading thru several blogs and basically some responses are dumb as shit. Not saying yours Malibu and Anonymous, Both of you make some good points in your statements, it sounds like Anonymous, you got salty because Malibu his a sore spot, and Malibu, you got a little pissed becuase Anonymous may have called it right? Did Kayne West get it right? Whether he did or didn't who really gives a shit, the man is a rapper, he doesn't represent anyone, does Puffy, Oprah, anyone? Who does BET represent? Snoop, you really need to go back to the more entertaining blogs, some of this deep shit is giving me a headache
don't get me wrong, it's very educational and informative, but a lot of people that answer and write responses would probably shut the fuck up if approached outside of this forum, See me, I will talk direct, e-mail, phone, blog, however and whatever it takes. At the end of the day, all a man and woman has it their voice and self respect. All Jokes aside, this is a terrible American tragedy, not black tragedy, not white, but American, and everyone needs not to forget that. I'm out, I have a game on Monday night

8.9.05  

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