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BET CEO Debra Lee Says The Network Has Improved Its Image

Submitted by on April 13, 2011 – 8:39 amOne Comment

BET has been under fire for its portrayal of African-Americans for what seems like an eternity and rightfully so. But the network has vowed to clean up its image as of late with new programming and an initiative to no longer portray women in a negative light. Whether you believe them or not, BET’s CEO Debra Lee says the network has improved its image and “the criticism has gone away” thanks to shows like The Game and Let’s Stay Together.

“I think the criticism has gone away. The first thing I did, which was in the works anyway, was to create more original programming that shows different images of women,” Debra told FOX Business, explaining her agenda once she took control of BET. “Our sitcoms have started doing that. We’ve got more documentaries. We’re going to get into the drama business.”

Lee also says the network is taking a harder stance on how women are portrayed in videos. Songs like Ciara‘s “Ride” and Rihanna‘s “S&M” all were shut down by the network.

“We’ve gotten more strict on what we allow on air,” Debra said. “We used to live by broadcast standards, but as the hip-hop industry got a little more risqué we actually had to bring that back some and say just because it can be on the air doesn’t mean it has to be on the air.”

Strangely enough, these are videos by women that don’t necessarily depict women in the light that viewers were concerned about when shows like Unkut aired. But I digress…

Obviously, this is a tiny step in the right direction. But the question has to be asked: “Why did it take so long?” Not to mention the fact they’ve pretty much ruined The Game and Let’s Stay Together is a relatively uninspiring show. However, neither show is “damaging” to the network’s image when it comes to degrading black women. If that’s the goal, they are moving in the right direction. But BET still has a long way to go before it is a reputable network African-Americans can be proud of. Because, as of right now, it’s still BET and it’s still busy chasing the carrot set forth by MTV and VH1.

Will BET ever be respected again?

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