Putting BET’s Business in the Street
Andreas Hale, former Executive Editor of Music for BET.com, got the pink slip this week and tried to take the company down with him. After nearly a year at the urban entertainment network, the executive left his post by sendingto industry friends confirming what many critics of the network have long suspected: BET is a hot mess.
And while the angry rants of a fired employee make for an unreliable account, given the general public dissatisfaction with BET’s programming, the disparaging accusations against the network seem to have some resonance of truth. Hale summed up his experience as a BET insider with the following:
“The truth of the matter is that everything that you thought was wrong with BET is true. […] We have all always thought the worst, but to actually see it in action is another thing in its entirety.”
Ouch. The former executive went on to say:
“I could no longer be critical of this company without accepting the opportunity to change it when given. Although I was hired to bring about change, I was systematically shut down. I wasn’t hired to make noise, I was hired to be silenced.”
Well if that’s the case, Hale certainly isn’t keeping quiet now. In addition to the negative noise he’s created over the past week, the former editor also hinted at possibly writing a tell-all book in the future. Clickto read the full letter from Andreas Hale. Then let us know what you think. Are you surprised to hear about the scene behind the scenes at BET?
Update: Maia Campbell Finds Help
Last week we told you about the video featuring Maia Campbell that went viral on YouTube, showing the actress in an agitated state from either mental illness or substance abuse. We asked you to join thousands of other fans who were praying for Campbell and sending positive vibes her way. Well, this week we’re happy to report that your prayers have been answered and the young actress has entered into treatment, according to family friend Nancy Carter who is currently the executive director of NAMI (the Nation Alliance on Mental Illness) Urban Los Angeles. In an email to Black Web 2.0, the site that initially debunked rumors that Campbell was simply a drug addict and illuminated her ongoing struggles with mental illness, that Campbell has been diagnosed with bi-polar/manic depression. Unfortunately, her condition has been aggravated by substance abuse, leading to behavior mimicking schizophrenia, as evidenced in the video that has made its rounds online.
We invite you to keep Maia Campbell in your prayers, as Carter hinted at the difficulty of treatment and Campbell’s tumultuous history with remaining in a program. For more information about mental illness and its impact on communities of color, or to support research for mental health advocacy, visit the NAMI Urban L.A. website. And, if you feel so led, you can send a note of encouragement to Maia Campbell via Black Web 2.0 at [email protected].
It’s ‘The Tyler Perry Show’
If you couldn’t turn away from the news coverage of President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night, you probably missed an address from the second most recognizable black man in America: Tyler Perry. The I Can Do Bad All By Myself filmmaker aired a one-hour special on TBS, with appearances by Taraji P. Henson, Gladys Knight, and Pastor Marvin Winans, who all star in his latest film. The special served mainly to promote the movie, which hits theaters nationwide this weekend.
Intriguingly, Perry recently told press that hosting a talk show is something he might entertain doing every week. After watching the Atlanta-based filmmaker “get his Oprah on” before a live studio audience, we suspect Perry might actually make a compelling television host. He was all charm and sincerity on the special, with a nice balance of Madea-esque humor mixed with spiritual depth. And since almost everything Perry touches turns to gold, if he gets serious about doing a talk show, it’s sure to be a success. What do you think? If Tyler Perry had a regular talk show, would you watch?
KRS-One: Hip-Hop Apostle?
Pioneering hip-hop artist KRS-One is releasing a new book this fall called The Gospel of Hip-Hop. The 600-page book is modeled after the Christian Bible and said to serve as a life-guide manual for ‘Hiphoppas,” the term KRS-One uses to describe members of hip-hop culture. Including a hodgepodge of philosophy on faith, peace, and self-reliance, KRS-One hopes to help Hiphoppas change their circumstances to live a life that encompasses what he’s termed the H-LAW (Health, Love, Awareness, and Wealth).
This isn’t the first time KRS-One has talked about hip-hop as a religion. Back in 2000, he spoke with Beliefnet about what he called the Temple of Hiphop, a group whose membership included Lauryn Hill, Kid Capri, and Busta Rhymes among others who declared hip-hop their life. KRS-One, whose real name is Lawrence Krishna Parker, described the Temple of Hiphop as a “hip-hop preservation society.” He said, “We believe that not only is hip-hop divine, but the temple is divinely ordained, because we accept it as that.”
The Gospel of Hip-Hop is a continuation of the Temple of Hiphop ideals, as well as KRS-One’s 14-year study of the music subculture. The rapper claims, “In 100 years, this book will be a new religion on earth.” Bold statement.
We’re not so sure KRS-One has stumbled onto the next Nation of Islam or anything, but his language does strike us as sounding a bit cultish. It is interesting, though, to ponder the idea of hip-hop as more than music. It has already evolved into a culture that transcends race and class, but at what point does the music evolve into a religion? Should we be concerned about false prophets springing up from the world of hip-hop?
I don’t know about you, but it sounds to us like KRS-One is ascribing to hip-hop the kind of faith and devotion that should only belong to our Father in heaven. Perhaps he’s found a purpose and fulfillment in hip-hop that he’s been unable to find anywhere else. I’m sure there’s millions of young men and women in our cities, suburbs, and rural communities who may have a similar testimony. Still, KRS-One and each of us need to step back from the idols we’ve embraced in life and realize that anything that’s righteous and true is a gift from above, not from Jay Z or Lil Wayne.
KRS-One photo by Lieve Neven from Wikipedia.