Cleaning Up Black (Entertainment) Television | Arts Feature | Indy Week
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Cleaning Up Black (Entertainment) Television 

As a means of making BET a more responsible network, Jocelyn Womack recommends the following changes:

· Increase positive programming to counteract the negative images. Womack says MTV does a great job of balancing its "trash TV" by producing shows like True Life and Flipped and by involving themselves in community awareness campaigns like the current "Fight for Your Rights" campaign, and previous campaigns like "Rock the Vote." Regarding BET's safe-sex campaign, "Rap It Up," she says, "Rap It Up is very impressive, innovative and they even advertised it on 106 & Park and Rap City, but they need to do more." As the only network dedicated to and for blacks, Womack, like Scott and Kenney, says BET has a greater responsibility to do these types of programs, whether they want to or not.

· Get rid of video programs like Cita's World and spring break-themed "Spring Bling." Give better time slots to, and increase the marketing of, youth issue-oriented programs like "Teen Summit." "It [Teen Summit] used to be a program with an audience, that showed a connection to the community. It no longer does that. ... 106 & Park has a cult-like following. Why not get AJ and Free to promote Teen Summit or some of the other non-primetime news and public affairs programming? Kids would watch it then."

· Change the video rotation and give lesser-known artists a platform to showcase their work. "In recent years BET has strayed away from some of the programs like Video Soul and Video LP, that gave artists a chance. They have given in to the top 40 rotation and become just another video-playing media network."

  • Hip-hop historian Jocelyn Womack recommends changes to make BET a more responsible network.

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