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by Dr. Boyce Watkins
This week, TJ Holmes, host of the new BET show “Don’t Sleep!” took a trip to Power 105.1 in New York City to speak about his new show and the challenges of developing a new audience. Charlamagne Tha God, one of the hosts of the show (“The Breakfast Club”), sent me a copy of the interview (which you can see below), for he shares my concern with what BET has chosen to become.
I’ve respected Charlamagne since I met him in 2006, when I appeared a few times on the Wendy Williams Experience. He treated me with tremendous decency long before anyone knew or cared who I was. He’s also an honest advocate for the challenges of the black male in America, which makes him an important ally in the struggle for black liberation and advancement.
I watched the interview curiously, impressed by the honesty with which Holmes went about sharing his challenges with the new show, and how his network is both supporting him and fighting with him. His courageous decision to speak so honestly about the difficulty of developing quality content and a good audience for BET gives an inside look at how hard it can be to rise from the gutter once you’ve become committed to making it into your home. Sadly enough, BET has defined itself to be the White Trash of Black America, appealing to the worst in us, lowering IQs and killing dreams like a KKK firing squad in front of the house of Malcolm X.
Someone needs to take on BET, and it needs to be all of us. BET is owned by people who care almost nothing for our community, for their only goal is to maximize the bottom line. The problem is that it’s difficult for TJ Holmes to compete with Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz (author of the song with the brilliant chorus, “All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe”) or any other form of buffoonery the network could be putting on the air. So, the good folks at both BET and Viacom (their economic plantation owners) must be compelled to consider a double bottom line, where they are reminded of the value of inspiring young black people with positive role models and a reclamation of black intellectualism on mainstream TV.
BET is the psychological drug dealer, standing on the corner, “clocking the dough,” with the “Big booty hoe” in the front seat of his Mercedes. He may not be bothering you, but he’s got his eye on your children when they get out of school. He’s showing them flashy cars and handfuls of money, to convince them to skip college so they can become drug dealers or drug addicts. Largely due to the existence of BET, we’ve got an entire generation of black youth who’ve become addicted to the drug of counter productive buffoonery, and TJ Holmes is part of the rehabilitation process. If BET really wants to improve, they need to let this brother breathe.
Even Adolph Hitler understood that he who controls the media, also controls the mind. So Hitler would surely be applauding the achievements of BET, for the network has contributed to black psychological and actual genocide through the rejection of education, increased drug/alcohol consumption, higher HIV rates and the glorification of handgun violence among young black men. Even BET founder Sheila Johnson has admitted that the network has played a role in harming our children, so if we love our children, we will fight to the death to protect their well-being. In black America, we must go to the corner and kill, incarcerate or control our psychological drug dealers. If we do not, our community’s demise is imminent.
TJ’s interview can be watched at this link.