In 2001 media giant Viacom purchased BET or the Black Entertainment Network from then owner and entrepreneur Bob Johnson. This was huge on multiple levels. Since BET was the premier network for African Americans, covering roughly 88 Million american households, there was an opportunity to see even better content backed by big money. If you’re unfamiliar with this legendary channel stop reading now and end on a happy note.
For those of us in the know, Debra Lee took over as chief operator and while a successful talented woman she was, her direction for “our” network slowly led to its decline. Over the last decade programming became repetitive, lack-luster, or overall just bad. There were small attempts to try and retain some of its former glory by airing some fan favorite/cult classics. Unfortunately there were so few of those that viewers were subject to seeing John Singleton’s (R.I.P) Baby Boy on repeat at least four times a day. There was hope when the powers that be decided to take on more scripted series such as Being Mary Jane or picking up CW’s The Game ‘s eighth season. By then they had already culturally become just a nostalgic reference to our childhood.
Fast forward almost a decade and it seems the legendary network is refusing to go out without a fight. It’s honors show The B.E.T Awards has had its hit and misses over the years but remained a staple, even if you just tuned in to see a few performances. That’s certainly not enough to save a network, given most of the mainstream celebrities began to abandon showing up, but it seems as though that may be turning around. Sunday’s 18th annual event not only brought out major players in full force (Rihanna, Diddy, Mary J. Blige, and Cardi B to name a few) but also had a pretty well structured program with adequate promotion behind it. Dare I say they are turning over a new leaf to return to its former place in our hearts? Of course it’s still too early to determine so we’ll hang tight and circle back on this once we know. Check out the performance below if you missed the show, it’s worth a watch.
Written By: Haus of Blog Chief Editor | George Robinson IV