Black Entertainment Television – For Americans Only?

While I was building our tribute to 80-years-young Bruce Forsyth, I came across this 1978 picture of him with Derek Griffiths (A Royal Shakespearean actor who is a children’s TV legend) and Kenny Lynch (a popular entertainer). It really took me back to a time when, as a child, I’d find myself shouting: "Mum, quick! There’s a black man on TV!"

It was that rare an occurrence; a thing of wonder – like Halley’s Comet.

Years later, at secondary school, I discovered it was a shared cultural experience; we all laughed about it, thinking we were the only ones who’d done it at that time.
Then I found out that Asian kids used to do it with their equivalents too. I thought back to that era when Viacom announced they’d be launching their Black Entertainment Television (BET) network in the UK. BET will make its debut in Britain on February 28 to more than 8.8 million digital satellite homes on BSkyB. We’ve gone from ‘spot the black face’ to ‘spot the white face’ – how ironic. But is it necessary?

BET is the most prominent US network covering black American entertainment and culture. In Britain, no direct rival of BET’s size exists although Trouble, with the likes of Girlfriends, In the House, My Wife and Kids, The Hughleys and The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, is giving it a fair whack.

Having watched BET whenever I’ve holidayed in the States, my concern is that BET UK will not speak to black Britons. Programmes such as those listed above invariably present an American model of ethnicity, not a British one. Just because we have the same skin colour, doesn’t mean we have an identical experience. Black Americans and black West Indians and black Africans and black Britons – some similarities, some key differences. Just like the English and the Scots. Or the English and the Welsh. Or the English and the Irish (when my parents arrived here, signs for accomodation often read: ‘No blacks. No Irish. No dogs’).

As if to confirm my worst fears, BET International General Manager Michael Armstrong said: "For the UK version of BET, we will be giving BET’s US content a regionalised look and feel that reflects the UK marketplace, and as we grow and develop the channel, we look forward to partnering with the UK creative industry to give BET an even stronger British accent." In other words more US imports; the more things change, the more they stay the same. The UK can look forward to shows that include American Gangster (narrated by Ving Rhames, it profiles some of black America’s most infamous gangsters) and, rather bizarrely, Lil’ Kim’s Countdown to Lockdown. This programme, about the last 14 days of the rapper’s freedom before she headed to jail, first aired two years ago! What’s the bleedin’ point of screening it now?

Armstrong insists, "We think we will be filling a void that has been in the UK for quite some time. We will super-serve the black British, Caribbean and African communities but we also have programming that is acceptable to all lovers of black culture." I agree that there’s still a long way to go with regard to decent roles for black actors and ethnic minority programming in general, but black culture doesn’t begin and end with American gangsta rap and dumb American crack dealers in jail. I identify with neither, seeing more of my family’s experience in Channel 4’s classic sitcom Desmond’s (starring the late, great Norman Beaton). And until BET UK serves me up something like that, I won’t be watching.

Today I am mostly lovin’ – The Big Match Revisited on ITV4. Arsenal in our eye-bleeding green and navy away strip in 1983!

Today I am mostly hatin’ – Omigod. How awful, how cringe-inducing were huge chunks of BBC1’s Happy Birthday, Brucie? I wouldn’t feed that script to my dog and Jon Culshaw doin’ the Anfield rap to Brucie’s catchphrases will give me nightmares for years to come.

To my Spurs-supporting mate famouseccles; the ideal outcome for me would’ve been both your lot and Chelski losing. However, I will say one thing: it was a good comeback and you actually defended solidly. Fancy a lasagne on me?  

MSN Editor Coops
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82 Responses to Black Entertainment Television – For Americans Only?

  1. karen says:

    I wonder what would happen if I suggested WET (White Entertainment Television)???

  2. kaia says:

    Karen, Thats the whole point, TV is WET! When was the last time you saw a black person in a lead role?

  3. Kandii says:

    dnt go orn makin a fuss ova it..
    its a channel that everyone can watch.. the programmes & the movies orn this channel relates to everyday problems in life that no-ones tackling .. or trying to get over! im 18 & i love this channel when i go to america.. so dont go & try making it a racial issue just because of the name of the channel thats just pointless & a waste of your time rele! watch wats orn the channel not the name .x. GET OVER IT!!

  4. Coops - says:

    With respect Karen, black people are definitely under-represented in some respects of TV. There are over 30 Asian channels on cable and satellite; BET UK will make the grand total as far as black channels are concerned……one. Hardly threatening really, is it? BET UK isn\’t a channel catering exclusively to black people – as BET International General  Manager Michael Armstrong said: "We will super-serve the black British, Caribbean and African communities but we also have programming that is acceptable to all lovers of black culture." If you like black culture, this channel may be for you. I hear where you\’re coming from, but the reason why Viacom are launching BET UK is because they\’ve identified a gap in the market that isn\’t being filled by terrestrial TV or other networks. However, my objection isn\’t a colour one – it\’s a cultural one. Where are the British programmes?

  5. Unknown says:

    Im sure BET used to play on Cable TV back in the early 90\’s.  I loved it then and love watching it when abroad.  It is only one channel, and there WILL ALWAYS be other races appearing in the shows, so ultimately it must be a good thing for a lot of black people to have something they can see everyday that they can also strive for.  BET is a American challenge, if we want to see black british tv shows, we need to tackle the government, come on we pay TV licence too. There have been some, but not enough and not for long enough….Bring – Empire Road, No Problem, The Real McCoy.

  6. Leon says:

    I think in many ways this is a liberal opportunity for Black people to identify exclusively with a channel that is broadly catered to our needs. Black culture has an influence in the UK and I hope this will be a chance see some of the positive things that we contribute. My only concern is, as suggested it becomes a dumping ground for old, or B list programmes, it would be all to easy to have shows of that ilk wash up on our shores. Fresh exciting, educational and progressive shows would be welcomed, not just a glorified music channel. Its a long time overdue, i think it will work. As stated there are channels for almost every niche you can think of so lets see how this fits in.

  7. Coops - says:

    Hello Misty, BET did indeed play here in the early 1990s. I remember watching it as a Videotron subscriber (remember them?). However, it was the US version that was broadcasting in the UK back in the day. It would\’ve been nice if they\’d launched BET UK with at least one British show – is that too much to ask?  Memories! I remember watching Empire Road – that was good, if memory serves. Joseph Marcel was a member of the cast long before his Fresh Prince Of Bel Air "Master Will" days. I also recall No Problem (with Janet \’Silly Games\’ Kay and Judith Jacob in her pre-EastEnders days), The Real McCoy (Curtis and Ishmael!), Black On Black (with Craig Charles reciting his poetry), The Fosters (including a very young Lenny Henry), Blouse And Skirt (Gina Yashere and Curtis Walker) etc.etc.etc.

  8. john says:

    In response to karen (25th Feb) re WET – You have it already, it\’s called ITV1

  9. stuart says:

    THE DESMONDS!What a legendary show!"PORKPIE!"I used to love the Fresh Prince and Lenny Henry and Black on Black!. I agree with your points completely, the multi ethnical society of Britain isnt represented as wholely as it should be. Its pretty hard for producers to figure it out though, unfortunatly nowadays we have to appeal to such a wide range of audiences that we get lobotomys like big brother and all other reality/soap shows. The problem is you cant just stick black, asian, white into boxes as its a pretty broad spectrum("like you said some similarities, some key differences. Just like the English and the Irish or the English and the Scots or the English and the Welsh.") This is why i am looking forward to internet TV with its capabilities to to even impress the most individual individuals tastes, but until then i shall stand up saying that TV really is cheap and dull nowadays even for a white, middleclass 24 year old British guy! Go out and play some football in the rain or something!

  10. stuart says:

    Oh yes and great blog! Its a good read from all the way over here in Laos
    Take it easy

  11. Coops - says:

    Stu in Laos – easy geezer! Pull up a chair and stick around. "Porkpie!" indeed. It\’s a shame that terrestrial TV, or indeed satellite/cable, hasn\’t invested more in UK sitcoms or dramas akin to Desmonds. Although presenting a black family, it had universal appeal – like The Cosby Show. Don\’t get me wrong, I love American shows but at the end of the day, I\’m a proud sarf Londoner and I want to see Britain represented on BET UK.

  12. Amaechi says:

    The amount of british, black orientated programmes we have is absolutely disgusting. We have enough US imports. They are great, don\’t get me wrong, but hard for us (black british) to relate to.

  13. Nikki says:

    I do understand what Karen said, Because people seem to assume \’Black\’ and \’White\’ are the only two ethnics in our society, but they aren\’t. I had a similar discussion a few weeks back on Black History Month in the US, I don\’t agree with it, why can\’t they integrate black history into the current syllabus because around this time there are more racial attacks then at any other time of year. If I were to suggest a MidEast History month I\’d be called a terrorist, and a White History month I\’d be called a supremecist (I think I\’m just screwed over to be honest XD), when the only blacvk student at my old colege wanted something he got it, because my college looked good saying they had a "wide range of races and ethnic minorities" present (that was a load of bull) but when I asked to put a "Happy New Year" poster up for the few other Iranian students I got told that I couldn\’t as "other students may find it insulting to their beliefs" -_-
    Back to the topic of TV, I don\’t see why we need this channel, we already get the good African American shows on Trouble (I love My Wife and Kids XD), and being honest, I feel that trouble is the only channel that doesn\’t portray African American\’s as gangsters and troublemakers :/ Get Lenny Henry and the other brilliant minds on this channel and I\’d consider watching it, but I don\’t want to watch some crap about a stupid rapper or gangsters! I\’m insulted for you that TV producers only think of that when they think "black persons" because I can relate in what they think of "Middle Eastern persons" (no I am not a terrorist. I do not want to bomb anything. I don\’t want anybody to die and I am not Muslim.), stupid stereotypes.
    Problem is, if they were going to make a predominantly black show produced in Britain, I have a feeling it\’d end up being a Black Eastender\’s or something, which is entertaining, but doesn\’t relate to those of us who aren\’t in that situation!
    sorry for the rant 🙂

  14. karen says:

    My point is, there are Music of BLACK Origin awards – not music of white origin awards – that would be racist.  A Federation of BLACK police officers – white police officers have to make do with a bog standard one and now we have BLACK entertainment TV.  Why does there have to be separate issues for black people?  When Desmonds, Cosby show etc are shown on standard channels, there\’s no outcry that they\’re on WHITE channels, so why does there need to be a "special" channel?  I thought in a "multi-cultural" society everyone was supposed to accept everyone elses culture?

  15. Coops - says:

    Karen – the day institutionalised racism fully disappears from various bodies, that\’s the day when separate entities for various ethnic minorities will have no place in society. I look forward to that day. With regard to the MOBOs, it wouldn\’t exist if The Brits did more to reflect music of black origin. There isn\’t even a dance music category these days fer gawd\’s sake!
    The reason why BET UK is coming here is because, as far as Viacom is concerned, there is a gap in the market and they intend to fill it. As I said previously, there are over 30 channels on cable and satellite catering for various sectors of the Asian community – there is currently nothing like this scale for black people. As BET International General Manager Michael Armstrong said: "We will super-serve the black British, Caribbean and African communities but we also have programming that is acceptable to all lovers of black culture." There you go: it\’s a channel for anyone who\’s a fan of black culture – irrespective of colour. I don\’t disagree with its existence in principle, but I do want to see British shows on the channel as soon as possible.

  16. Patrick says:

    Who gives a damn. Let us do what we want. In this short time on earth, let\’s do as we please. Problem with there being no "MOWO" awards? Go and do something to take your mind off it. Live long. Make friends. Dance happy. Give respect. Earn kudos. Laters.

  17. Gary says:

    Racism will still exist until the day comes when we are human; not black, not white, just human.

  18. James says:

    Karen, the problem is that no minority is fairly represented by BRITISH TV. Most of you woud argue quite reasonably that there is a high number of asian and arabic TV channels on Sky. However, with the exception of Al-Jazeera UK, most of these are imported channels from overseas. BET UK would be, as Viacom correctly identify, a unique gap in the market. If we were to be truly multi cultural, there would be have to be programming for all races and religions on the BBC, ITV, 4 and Five. But there isn\’t. It\’s not as if there are any specialist channels either. Given that there are huge numbers of Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Blacks, Asians and more living in what is by definition a Christian country, there isn\’t even specialist shows for them. Let\’s face it, the only religious programming is Songs of Praise. But if we were truly a multi cultural place, there would be other shows catering for the other sections of society.
    I don\’t want to appear racist in any way, far from it, and as a Jew myself am somewhat concerned by the lack of shows and channels catering for the non majority. But it would appear that sadly the only way forward is for networks like BET to exist. So whatever your opinion may be, the fact remains that until the terrestrial networks change their programming line ups to reflect our diverse culture, this is the way forward. I truly hope BET can tap into the UK market successfully, and not just screen endless repeats of "The Fresh Prince" or other US imports.

  19. Unknown says:

    I would like to know who will this channel be mostly aimed at, will it be Carribean or African Brits? From a demographic point of view it would make sense to target a demographic of  young 2nd generation African Brits as this is a younger and increasingly more numerate group. The Carribean demographic is older and declining, most Carribeans do not come to Europe anymore.  The reason why there are so many Asian oriented channels i.e Indian/Bengali/ Muslim is because demographically and financially this group is more viable to an advertiser. Also there is the fact that Black Brits are generally more culturally intregrated into British culture than African Amerricans. Someone made the point of  once having \’No Blacks, Dogs or Irish\’ although the Race Relations Act was implemented in 1965, Racial segregation was never enshrined in UK  law as in the southern states of America. 

  20. Sarah says:

    I agree that there should be more representation for blacks. You\’re right, there are way more Asian channels – but for the most part, Asians are less integrated into British society than blacks. Black culture has even become a part of white culture and vice versa. However, "Asian culture" still very much represents the countries and traditions from which Asian people have originally descended – and unfortuanately, they are still very much separated from mainstream British society and it is not entirely the fault of white people in the UK!
    However, whilst not denying that racism exists in any way, shape or form, I believe that it is a positive thing how "British" black people are – I notice way more cultural differences between black Americans and white Americans.
    I think white Brits are quite tolerant compared to some countries and black people in the UK seem to feel the need less to distinguish themselves from whites, which can only be a positive thing! Without sounding corny, we are all people after all. It really annoys me when black Americans on T.V. come out with things like: "stick to your own kind" and put each other down for appealing to a white audience – you wouldn\’t get that in the UK, thank God. 
    However, as long as it doesn\’t become an "alternative" channel for blacks, it can only be a good thing.

  21. Jamal says:

    Karen,  I honestly think that you have it all wrong. There are no MOWO\’s because the award shows are already that. There is no Federation for White police officers, becuasre when the Federation for Police Officers was first started, there was only WHITE people on the force, therefore no need to classify. So when the governemnt finally decided to put up a front and allow Black people and other ethnicities into the mainstream, there was a cause to cater to their needs. Britain still has racism, and as much as the deep south of the United States, just the racism here is institutionalised. You probably don\’t notice it because it doesn\’t relate to you.

  22. Nicholas says:

    I always feel slightly uneasy with comments like this: "Racism will still exist until the day comes when we are human; not black, not white, just human". I think it\’s because your skin colour is part of being human, it\’s a part of your identity as an individual and as a part of a group. I agree that in no way should someones skin colour detract from or add to someones humanity, but it is one of the factors that goes into the construction of what it is to be human. Combating racism isn\’t just about deciding that everyone is the same, it\’s about realising and accepting that we are all different and all of equal worth.

  23. Bekki says:

    I watched BET when I was in the states a few years ago and I agree with Coops, what does it offer for us black Brits to relate too? I do love Fresh Prince et al on Trouble but they are mostly repeats, comedies and AMERICAN.
    As I black Brummie, I\’d like to see some factual and educational programmes made on our shores and maybe my home city- how radical would a black British drama be?? Look at our theatres, they manage to put on Black performances with a lower budget than BET have.
    Also, when I had Sky before switching to a freebie box, there were a couple of black channels, one was African and had dramas, music etc. I watched some of the plays – and felt I could relate more to those shows than I could to the Americans. For one the women looked normal and not weaved-up , light-skinned, size zero models. I\’m not hating… you know what I mean!!
    So, I\’m all for BET coming across the pond, if it promotes black British culture – outside of music, comedy and sport – that can be enjoyed by all.
    One last thing… I understand some people feel like a black channel is seggregating us from the mainstream. But like a few people have said – we\’ve been brushed aside from the mainstream channels for too long. I\’m a reporter and have interviewed a few black celebs who all agree that they feel they aren\’t getting the roles they deserve, still a lot of type-casting going on that\’s not representative of our society. BET should hopefully allow black actors/producers etc a chance to show their worth.

  24. Peter says:

    I dont know what youre complaining about, there have been plenty of blacks on TV, presenting TV programmes, sports programmes, reality Tv programmes, eastenders at the moment has about 6 black characters. There have been exclusively black drama programmes too made by the BBC, you obviously dont know about it. Black culture especially music is part of mainstream culture now and you have specialised music channels that reflect that. The african community is far underpresented than black caribbeans, I dont know what youre complaining about, it is the muslims and the chinese community that are completely underpresented on TV, not black caribbeans.  

  25. Jennifer says:

    O my god we have BET UK When was this launched and how do I subscribe, Other than colourful TV which is on the internet there nothing for black people in this country except racist stereotypes served by white TV executives.

  26. Coops - says:

    (no name), BET UK launches on Friday 28 February – speak to your cable operator or check out Sky for details. (no name), in all the years EastEnders has been on TV, it has consistently failed ethnic minorities in terms of convincing characterisation. Denise Wicks (played by Diane Parish) is good. I like her; I know people like her. Most of the others are awful. But anyway, as I keep saying, Viacom is convinced there\’s a gap in the market and that\’s why they\’re launching a UK version of BET.

  27. kap says:

    B.E.T in the uk….its only on cable or sky so what the big deal? if "we" didnt have it there be next to know black people on tv in the uk.the bbc which we (the general public)pay for has a habit of bringing in many washed out u.s drama with one or two none white faces in then the next time you swicth on again its gone.Me from being form both sides of the pond i cant wait to see more b.e.t for the simple fact it might show some of those so called tv chairman that the kumars and reruns of the desmonds or not enough.and dont get me started about the brits awards!!! so i do belive there no need to panic cos in a few month from now there will be some bogus claim the the figures are not big eoungh so the had to scrap the channel in the that space it maight not be there for long.

  28. darren says:

    I agree, there isn\’t enough colour on TV.  But I don\’t think a "black" channel is the way to go.  Things like this just cause divides….  but what needs to happen is just more integration of colour in to general channels on tv.  I believe that creating things like B.E.T or channels aimed at a certain colour of skin, is why America is how it is. 
    It will happen on tv, people will just be seen as human, instead of a colour.  I like my country.  I don\’t think there is huge amounts of racism going on,  maybe older generations, but isn\’t this expected???  When they were a child, it was mainly a white country. 
    You can\’t change peoples views over night, but generation ater generation, and people will be seen as human instead of a colour.

  29. Gary says:

    For goodness sake, this \’we must have channels especially for us\’ rubbish is gettingout of hand. Look at the BBC asian channel?! …whats wrong with BBC1 and BBC2. Just because they have a higher percentage of white people? surely that reflects the UK! this great island we live on is predominantly white, and so what? it has been for centuries. This is not racist, its just a simple fact. The UK media is probably one of the best in trying to enforce equal rights in its broadcasting throughtout the world. I cant imagine many \’white channels\’ in developed african countries. This also carries into everyday life and employment. Cab drivers are nightly complaining because minorities are receiving funds and extra help in learning the knowledge!! the same go\’s for the recruitment of emergency services. At the end of the day, it should be a level playing field and best man for the job!… So please, stop the contstant whining, its annoying and ultimately boring.

  30. Coops - says:

    (no name) who left a comment on 29 February at 13:19, I think you\’re being a tad unfair. I\’ve read through the comments and I haven\’t detected \’constant whining\’ – just reasoned opinion from people on both sides of the fence. Still, let\’s see if BET UK will be a viable commercial propisition and let\’s see if Viacom is right about the UK\’s void with regard to programming for lovers of black culture.

  31. Blue says:

    So where\’s Eskimo TV, Native American TV, Maori TV, Outer Mongolian TV etc? "Political correctness" is way out of control and it sickens me. I prefer actual factual correctness, thanks. Great Britain is a white country, that\’s not racist that\’s fact. Like Africa is a black country, Japan is an oriental country and India is an asian country. (I know Japan is actually asian too but I said oriental instead to distinguish it.) Has Africa got too many blacks in its country and on its TV? Has Japan got too many orientals in its country and on its TV, has India got too many asians in its country and on its TV? Us whites are Great Britain\’s indiginous race and we deserve the same respect as other countries races do in their country. It\’s not racist that there are more whites on the street (well, in some places, whereas in others you\’re lucky to see white people!) and on TV, it\’s just natural as it\’s our country. Also we get attacked for stereotyping other races yet here we have BET with programs showcasing gangsters and rappers in prison. As BET claims to showcase black culture and we always hear about how blacks are so proud of their culture then that must mean blacks are proud of criminality, right? I think certain black people along with the politically correct of all races should pay more attention to people like Bill Cosby instead of attacking him for "betraying" black people, things I\’ve heard him say sound spot on. Talking of Bill Cosby, we keep hearing about how things are so much better now and that we all used to be so racist yet over 20 years ago I used to sit down with my parents and happily watch The Cosby Show and we didn\’t see it as a "black" sitcom, just a sitcom. It wasn\’t about a poor black family living in the ghetto dealing drugs with gansters it was about a well off family in a nice neighbourhood who happen to be black. The only drugs in it I can remember were the legal medical ones Dr. Huxtable (Bill Cosby) prescribed to his patients, lol! One last thing I\’d like to point out is how hypocritical people can be, I\’m not going to talk about all the racism against whites (that\’s too obvious and I\’m sure me pointing it out again won\’t change a damn thing), I\’m talking about people both black and white (or of any race) mocking Michael Jackson because his skin has changed colour. Make all the nose jokes you want but having a go at someone because their skin changed colour (which IS because of vitiligo) is racist isn\’t it? I mean we keep hearing how we must not judge or attack someone based on the colour of their skin yet virtually anytime Michael Jackson is in the media there are "Michael Jackson is white" jokes and insults. It\’s both racist to him and to us white people because not only are you attacking him for the colour of his skin but also implying that having white skin is inferior!!!

  32. Tope says:

    To the person who wrote
    I prefer actual factual correctness, thanks. Great Britain is a white country, that\’s not racist that\’s fact. Like Africa is a black country, Japan is an oriental country and India is an asian country.
    For a start AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY. Being Nigerian and therefore an African, I\’m sick to death of people calling Afica a country. When Geography A level students are writting in their exams Afica is a country, then there is something seriously WRONG with this country. By the way Africa is a continent if anyone didn\’t know.
    Imust admit that I am sick of black people being stereotyped, as I am British aswell and have grown up in Britain I am no stranger to what the average Briton thinks balck people are; whether we are poor and starving, gangsters, singers sprots peopple etc. \’Black\’ people or people of African descent (being politcally or factually correct whatever u like) are PEOPLE NOR STEREOTYPES, and I think its about time the media stopped with the stereotypes because it is extremely misleading and completely WRONG. Especially with the misrepresentation of Africa because Africa is NOT POOR!! And if u disagree I think u should go and see for yourself instead of believing what some morons on t.v tell u.  

  33. ruth says:

    I have read a lot of things on this blog and I will give my opinion as follows:
    1. To the person who said africa is a country, please go and enlighten yourself and brush up on some simple knowledge. Africa is NOT a country, it is a CONTINENT. I am from Nigeria. That is a country. For example, england is a country, Europe is a continent. U get??
    2. To the ignoramus who was writing about eskimo tv and all that, are u serious? pls show me the eskimos and Native Americans in Britain. You intetntionally chose to use that as aexamples bcos u knew how silly it would sound. In America for example, if they wanted television programmes that catered for their tastes, they have a right to. It is called freedom of choice. In Britain, there is a significant, Black, Asian and other ethnic minority population. I do believe that having BET, asian channels etc might not be the ideal, but at the end of the day, the \’mainstream\’ (read white) television channels in a lot of ways do not cater to these parts of the populace. U say Britain is a majority white country, I do not disagree with that but then if u are using statistics, assuming as a rough estimate, in UK whites make up 60-65% while all other ethnic minorities make up the rest, then on TV most of the pple we see would be white but 4 out of 10 should therefore be non-white. That as we all know is definitely not the case. When I watch tv, I sometimes still find myself doing the \’spot the black face\’ thing the blogger wrote about.
    3. someone wrote about having \’white channels\’ in africa. well using nigeria as an example, the population is 99.98% black so u would expect that 99.98% of the pple u see on the channel would be black. If u go to south africa where the population is about 10% white, you would expect that roughly 1 out of every 10 person u see on tv is white. i have never been to SA (south africa) but when i watch their channels (when in nigeria) i see loads of whites being represented. infact in my opinion, a lot of tv roles i see blacks playing on SA tv is still rather stereotypical. 
    4. to the person who said u can\’t change pples views overnight. yes u r right but what do u want to happen? for all minorities to just sit and wait for everyone else to come round and stop being ignorant? NO. i choose to live my life to the fullest and not according to how an ignorant or discriminatory society feels i should. progress has happened but as far as i am concerned, it has been too slow. way too slow.
    5. as for the MOWO comments….please get real. what do u think the BRITS are? name how many black or asian musicians u know hav won brits. some say that they are awarding the music that is in the charts, that \’pple\’ listen to, that the \’mainstream\’ listens to. when i watch the brits (which btw get more n more boring each year), a third of all the nominees are pple i have not heard of. do i complain? no. why? bcos i know that i probably don\’t listen to the kind of music they sing and so i probably would not have heard of them. on the other hand, when i watch the MOBOs, i can identify with it cos i also listen to alot of the music they represent. there are also some musicians there i have not heard of much bcos i also don\’t listen to their type of music but it is still catreing for other ppls tastes. when i watch some asian music channels, i think \’hmm who is this\’ but then again it doesn\’t cater to me but it caters to others. on the other hand i might see something there that i enjoy. if pple don\’t want these channels then include these shows on the so-called mainstream ones. some pple complain that it just feeds segregation but yet they cannot give any other reasonable solution. for eg there is this new rnb singer. i think his name is jay sean. every single time i have seen any reference to him in the mainstream media, it ias always, \’new asian rnb sensation\’, \’british-asian usher\’ etc. why cant he just be an rnb singer? y pigeon-hole him? ppl do that but then when they have an asian music channel they complain.
    6. as for the stereotypes that blacks complain about, this is one point that might offend some blacks but i will still say it. personally i think that what BET in the US has become today is a shame. when it started it was a positive thing that was supose to cater to black youth in US but now what kind of shows do we see there? u have some glorified music shows (which are probably the better things shown), then u see nonsense like \’HOT GHETTO MESS\’. what exactly is the point of a show like that? as for things like american gangster and the rest, i don\’t believe there is anything wrong with a show like that as long as it is just done as showing history or something that occurred but knowing how some black pple do things (pls no offence bu it has some truth), it will probably be done in a way that it is glorified. to tell u the truth i don\’t think i am too interested in BET if it will be anything like the US version and/or if does not concentrate on being black-british-centred. as for fresh prince, i love the show but they already show it on virgin tv so whats the point. all those other old shows like cosby were good but why cant new shows be made? why cant new black entertainers be given a chance and new shows being put out there?
    ……just saying.

  34. ruth says:

    p.s. sorry for the long post below.
    see ya

  35. Coops - says:

    Foxycleopatra and (no name) of Nigerian descent  – to the former, rant on girlie! You expressed your views very well so don\’t worry about the length. To the latter, thank you for your comments also. Food for thought from both of you.

  36. Coops - says:

    Oh dear (no name) who left a comment here on 02 March at 17:36 and followed it up with a couple more posts – take a deep breath and relax mate. I\’ve had to delete some of your post, not least because you made an allegation about Stephen Lawrence that is libellous. I think you\’ve allowed your emotions to run away with you. Interesting though that to me, and perhaps anyone who thinks like me, BET UK\’s divide is a cultural one, whereas to you, it is so obviously a colour one. Of course it isn\’t practical or possible to properly reflect or cater to each and every single culture in the UK. That\’s why there are publications or channels meeting this need instead. And that\’s where BET UK comes in…I disagree with elements of what you say – by the way. But I guess you know that already, don\’t you?  
    (no name)02 March 22:43
    I just wrote a long post and the damn thing crashed. GRRRR. 😦 I can\’t be bothered to type it all again so here are the basics. OK, so I should have written African countries not Africa, so what? I made my point. I\’m pretty sure there are eskimos, native americans, maoris and outer mongolians living here so my point is valid. Minorities are just that, a minority, we are the MAJORITY and the majority should rule. If this country is too "white" for you then you know what you can do don\’t you? LEAVE! We shouldn\’t be made to feel like the strangers in our own country. There are plenty of black BRITS award winners (let alone nominees) so stop moaning: Kanye West (who incidentally threw a tantrum at another awards show because he didn\’t win saying stuff like "give a black man a chance" LMAO!), Lemar, 50 Cent, Beyonce, The Sugababes (1 of them is black), Ms Dynamite (who\’s half white but counted as black of course because the the white half of mixed race people is almost always totally discounted. Why doesn\’t anyone ever call a mixed race person white?), S Club 7 (well, they were 1/7 black, lol!), So Solid Crew, Destiny\’s Child, Shaggy, Kelis, Spice Girls (they are half of a fifth black, lol!), Macy Gray, Des\’ree, The Prodigy (at least 1 of them is black, maybe more I\’m not sure), Finley Quaye, Shola Ama, Gabrielle, The Fugees, Massive Attack (some of them are black), M People (the singer\’s black, not sure if the rest are), Lenny Kravitz, Prince and Michael Jackson of course. (Or doesn\’t he count because he\’s got vitiligo so his skin\’s turned white?) Shall I go on? Finally, as for the police having institutionalized racism, well I don\’t know about that (the BBC documentary was so biased, where were the black and asian undercover reporters investigating racism against whites from black and asian officers?) but the police are just institutionally currupt and basically a criminal organisation these days. The whole police force needs to be replaced by a new organisation that are held fully accountable to the rest of the public. I intened in some small way to be part of the creation of this organisation but that\’s not something to talk about here. Talking of the whole "institutionalized racsim in the police" thing, I\’m totally sick of hearing about Stephen Laurence so will everybody black and white shut the hell up about him? There have been plenty of unsolved murders that we don\’t hear about every 5 minutes. Where is all the coverage on the large number of white people killed by black (or any other race) people in racially motivated attacks? I don\’t think it\’s a stretch to say that the systematic destruction of British culture is leading to the destruction of British society and it\’s got to stop. I\’m sick of it!
    Yes I know I spelt corrupt and intend wrong, it\’s dark and I just typo\’d. I can spell.

  37. Rob says:

    I disagree with such a television influence, "Black Entertainment" I say this because I don\’t think there should be "White entertainment" or "Red Entertainment". The law that allowed such a name was moronic.
    No offense, take Eminem for example, growing up wearing medallions representing "Black Power" \’me an ma man howard would go to the mall with them all over our necks like we\’re showing them off,
    Not knowing at all we was being laughed at, homie you aint even half black homie let me grab that\’
    Black people invented NOTHING, White people invented NOTHING, etc etc. Being human is having the natural progression to adapt social activities it\’s what sets us aside from the other species.
    Can this be resolved by just changing the name?
    No it is the people behind the influence and their beliefs, obviously they think the world would be a lot better if we were all "Black."
    Wandering off topic here: 
    I know a "Black" man and an "asian" \’ish looking man who both have so many freaking children with MANY MANY multiple partners, to promote this form of ignorance disgusts me, I don\’t hold it against them. In fact in an ironic sense both fella\’s I have learned a lot from. 
    Yet I strongly feel people should bring a child into the world, when ready to read his/her every actions/reactions where fit to improve moral fibre in how to deal with the world and how to address money issues where needed especially in the land of TAX.
    Faithless was the first I believe to sing that, "The mind is a weapon of mass destruction."
    In the end, there must be, "One Love" or many innocents will fall off the world, when we should be gathering those vast amount of minds to address the the same problems. The Internet is the most significant global community available. Whoever spends more time with the TV is a slave to moral dependancy.
    No offense ^_^ 

  38. Coops - says:

    YewJay, thank you for your comments. I have edited parts of your post due to the fact that elements of it weren\’t on-topic. Feel free to express a point of view on the topic of a UK version of BET.  
    YewJay03 March 14:15( don\’t think there should be \’Black Entertainment\’.  I don\’t think there should be a \’Black Police Officers Association\’.  Anybody who suggested a \’White\’ version of either would be accused of racism!  

  39. Drew says:

    First of all, although we are Americans, we still celebrate our heritage. White Americans also distinguish themselves as Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, German-Americans etc. If you notice, St Patricks Day in NYC and Boston is much bigger than in Ireland. Black Americans does not forget about their culture and heritage. This is the same reason why there is Black BET. Same thing with Asian Americans. Yes we\’re all proud be Americans, but at the same time, we don\’t forget our own heritage.
    As for racism, it\’s everywhere also in Britain. I have relatives in Britain, and I can tell you they\’ve faced discrimination. So, I wouldn\’t say it\’s not as bad as America.

  40. Coops - says:

    Hello (no name) in America. Thank you for your comments. I holiday in parts of America every year and I see what I see through the eyes of someone who\’s lived in South London all her life; I can tell you that racism is no better or worse here than in your country. But my objection to a UK version of BET remains intact – if they\’re just gonna fill it with yet more US imports, I wish they wouldn\’t bother.

  41. Tia says:

    I partly agree with no name 2 march 22:43, but only about saying the majority of England is white. However, from there, I don\’t agree at all. How can you say all them things, about black people leaving if they are unhappy with our ways. At the end of the day, England is a country, not a colour, and I understand the want for a black tv channel. White people don\’t rule England just because there is a majority of white people here, and most english white people will find if they trace back their ancestors that they come from other countries anyway. There is a wide range of cultures in England. Not everyone fits into the categories on tv. Obviously, the ideal thing would be to bring in more black people into our regular shows. However, thats not happening. I personally don\’t like to think of people as black or white though, people are people, and yes, we all have different cultures and ways, but we all have the same feelings and emotions, and rights, we are all human. Now I\’ve said that, I\’m probably going to end up doing it!
     I think maybe a black channel would paint an image of your \’average black person\’ when in theory there isn\’t one, just like there isn\’t your average white person. However, it might teach some people that not all black people are gangsters or rappers like in american shows.
    I think I might enjoy this channel. Because it would be nice to watch something other than hollyoaks, or eastenders, that might actually entertain us more than the broing rubbish we get now! These people speaking about white awards etc, I get what you\’re saying, and I used to agree, but, we already have them, can\’t you see, that they have these black awards etc, and because of this no black people win the others. Infact, they made the black awards because the majority of winners were white, and it was unfair.
    In an ideal world, white and black people would be able to share channels for programmes, and

  42. Tia says:

    (pressed enter by mistake, i\’m blonde hehe) anyway…
    In an ideal world people would be able to share channels for programmes, but this doesn\’t happen. The majority of programmes we watch are filled with white people! If there is a want for a black, british channel, then we should have one, afterall we have so many other channels, those who don\’t want to watch it are hardly going to be affected!

  43. flisskat says:

    Slightly off topic, but you know, I hadn\’t even considered that Trouble could be thought of as a \’black\’ station. –
    looking at your list of shows just now though, i\’ve just gone \’ohhh yeah, I guess they are all about black familes\’ in realisation.
    to be honest I always just thought of them as american, when will smith goes off to live with his rich uncle
    I just assumed he represented poor america, and the banks were rich america, I know they did \’special episodes\’
    about racism, I\’m not colour blind or anything, but if you\’d asked me to describe the show, i\’d have said american sitcom about a young guy that goes to live with his posh family and thier english butler, ask me about desmonds though, and I\’ve had said sitcom about black english folk. Ah well, just thought i\’d share.

  44. Coops - says:

    Thanks for sharing miaw. Interesting….

  45. david says:

    I\’ve just watched a program on bbc news on the E24 section talking about the BET channel and whoever was interviewed was such an idiot!!! The best quote was \’ I want to see more black faces on TV\’  I\’m sorry but i\’ve never heard such racist comments. If i were to say i wanted more white faces i\’d be labeled a racist by everyone!!The only way racism can be banished is by EVER RACE looking at a face and seeing a human not a colour.  It saddens me to think that the most racial thoughts come from black people, but they do!!   White people dont care about seeing black, Asian, whatever!  But it seems Black people have a problem looking at white people!

  46. Alastair says:

    I dnt think there is anything wrong with a tv channel that caters for black communities in the uk, however if it is simply another channel which shows programs that lets be honest do very little to inspire anyone to believe that they can achieve then whats the point. The majority of tv programs that have black people in them are stereotypical characters, how is a young person of any ethinicty supposed 2 think they can achieve if they are lead to believe that someone of their race can only become a rapper or sportsman. The new channel should try and give the black community more role models in a variety of professions.

  47. Coops - says:

    dutchman, I watched that very same report. The man interviewed by the BBC was comedian Junior Simpson. I don\’t always agree with him but he\’s entitled to his views. On this occasion, I know what Junior was trying to say. His comments were made in the light of Lenny Henry\’s own scathing view widely reported a few weeks ago; remember, Lenny Henry\’s observations come from being on the inside so if anyone should know what they\’re talking about, it\’s him. Why not read what Lenny Henry had to say here? Do I agree with Lenny? Well, I can understand his frustration…

  48. Burt says:

    Sorry I can\’t say I have any identity with American black culture even after spending quite some time on the other side of the pond.  What i can say is it looks like more sub standard American sitcoms and soaps though. When your kids ask you to cut up there steak for them cause they dont eat with a knife I can only say enough. Some one must be able to produce good quality british telly for all the citizens of the British Isles.

  49. Jeanette says:

    I\’m amazed at so many people coming on here and spouting statistics from heaven knows where.  Black people of any origin still only number about 1 – 1.5 million in the UK (source: the last census).  93% of the population is white – an overwhelming majority in anyone\’s books, so it\’s hardly as if there is a take over going on here.
    I can understand the intention of BET – catering to a community with a common experience.  In that sense, it\’s no different from a channel that might want to broadcast exclusively to deaf people.  And therefore I don\’t feel threatened by it.  However, I agree it will run into problems if it doesn\’t target the actual communities it wants to reach based on culture, rather than skin colour.  It stands to reason that a person with an African background is likely to have totally different cultural mores, standards, beliefs, etc. than someone with a Carribean background and different again from someone growing up in the US.
    That said, I wish all minorities could just get more access to such programming through mainstream media – not least for the fact that it might cause people to be exposed to other cultures.  I worry that we\’re gradually going to move to a system where people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds will be able to go from cradle to grave living parallel but completely separate lives.  It will be possible to go to school, have access to exclusive media, live and work while spending time only with people of your own ethnic/cultural background.  I\’m not favouring integration into one amorphous mass, just teaching people more about each other\’s cultures to improve understanding.  It\’s possible to maintain more than one cultural tradition without threatening other ones and I think the media could have a big part to play, if things were done well.

  50. donna says:

    If minorities want their own t.v channels to watch soaps, news, factual programes etc that they feel are more in touch with their own lives, they should just do it and not make it a debate.

  51. Andi says:

    I really hope that this Tanya Svetlova woman is joking. I am black and I can assure you I don\’t leave hairs in the sink. How uneducated and ignorant must one be to judge a whole race based on one experience (which seems already rather far stretched if you ask me…)
    Back to the topic, black people in Britain are a minority and there are always things to cater for the minority, that\’s just the way things are. For example, there\’s the BBC Asian Network, I don\’t remember anyone moaning about that. If people want a Black Entertainment Channel let them have it. If they want a French TV station, let them have it. If people with red hair want a channel, go for it! What on Earth is the big deal?
    People using the argument "why isn\’t there a white TV channel?", well think, since we live in a predominately white country (despite what the Daily Mail claims) the majority of faces on our TV and people represented are white anyway. It is not racist to have a Black Entertainment Channel, it\’s just the same as having a local newspaper circulated in the black community, or having a beauty magazine for black people. I personally read magazines such as Glamour and Cosmo and Vogue which are predominately white and I can say it\’s a bit annoying when they give free make up samples in colours that only white people can use, ie foundation, so if I can find a magazine that suits me and caters to my needs such as hairstyles and make up, which mainstream magazines don\’t cater for, I don\’t want to be accused of anything.
    If white people want their own TV channel then let them have it. White Entertainment TV, go for it…but forgive me if this sounds a bit harsh, but it would be a bit pointless. Why do the majority need their own TV station that caters only for them? Think logically. It\’s like in America, there are hispanic TV stations for hispanic people, mostly in spanish. Is this racist? No.
    When you live in a country that has a vast majority of people of a certain nationality or colour or whatever, then mainstream entertainment will represent this majority more. There\’s never going to be more black people on TV than white people, because there\’s always going to be more white people than blacks in this country (again, don\’t listen to the Daily Mail). However, when there is a significant majority, it\’s necessary to cater for them also. Therefore, I think this station is a good idea. As long as it doesn\’t alienate people. For example, the majority of my friends are white, and they love "black" comedies such as Fresh Prince and asically everything on Trouble, so I think they would be an audience also. However, if there are going to be programmes about "black power" and how to stand up against our white slave masters, then that\’s alienating people and that\’s something I don\’t agree with.
    I just wish that people would stop moaning about blacks and other minorities taking over and whining about "why isn\’t there a white tv station…why isn\’t there a white police association…why isn\’t there a white this, a white that…???"  Please take some time to think logically about this…

  52. Andi says:

    I just actually read the article now. My earlier comment was a response to previous comments and not the article itself, sorry.
    In response to the article, I\’m in agreement with the editor. A lot of what will be shown will be pointless to black british people, or black people in britain (there is a difference) and there is the danger of stereotyping. I don\’t want to watch self indulgent rappers going to jail. Not for me thanks, and I\’m sure other black people feel like that. A British version of the station would be more suitable.  I don\’t want to watch programs about American Gangsters, what exactly would be the point of that? In addition, that only serves to highlight the bad parts of black culture and history and also might alienate people. If the station is going to be based around things like this, then I shan\’t waste my money. If a station targetted at a black audience is to work, the main point for me is that it doesn\’t alienate other people and that it doesn\’t just give people more reason to stereotype.

  53. FunkRock says:

    Oh my god…what is the big deal people?  Its just a TV channel.  If you don\’t want to watch it, then don\’t…turn it over and watch something else.  It\’s that simple!I don\’t complain at any of the international Sky channels, be they Welsh, Asian, African or whatever.  I fail to understand why people are so offended with the concept."It
    stands to reason that a person with an African background is likely to
    have totally different cultural mores, standards, beliefs, etc. than
    someone with a Caribbean background and different again from someone
    growing up in the US."I do, however, agree with the above comment.  The broadcasters need to get it right.  I also agree that if the UK version contains purely American imports, then there wouldn\’t be much point in airing it because the black british people wouldn\’t relate to it.Just my tuppence worth.

  54. Coops - says:

    Tanya Svetlova from Russia, nice to hear from you (even if I didn\’t agree with what you said). I had to delete your comments as they were off-topic. Please feel free to comment, but try to stay on-topic.

  55. Beth says:

    Personally, I\’m sick of things being divided and separated into categories according to race. Or more to the point, black or white. As far as I can see (and its something i\’ve been noticing for a few years) were in danger of swinging the pendulum and racism wll turn to white people. White people are already being pushed aside (in the UK at least) to make room for other races to make them all "comfortable".
    Racism is a complex thing but I do think that creating these specifically "black" things (channels, awards, etc) is just going to make racism worse. All it does is highlight the fact that our skin is different. It completely defeats the very ideals of people who fought so hard for equality, i.e. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela etc. They fought for EQUALITY not for people of colour to be placed on pedestal. I don\’t agree with it at all.
    The very idea that a black channel should exist horrifies me.
    As for the colour of my skin, i\’ll let you guess for yourself because I believe its the character not the colour that matters.

  56. Beth says:

    Another thing, to add to what KP said, its not just a TV channel. It starts with small things like a TV channel then it builds and builds. Soon we\’ll be saying "Oh its only one school why does it matter if its a black only school, if you dont want your kid going there dont send them there." We have to watch the small things before it gets out of hand. As the saying goes, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. Its the smaller things that count.

  57. Coops - says:

    (no name) who left a comment here on 14 March at 23:17, I hear what you\’re saying but I can assure you that BET UK is nothing to worry about. For a start, it will comprise 99% US programming. Unless it offers something different, it will just step on the toes of satellite/cable music channels like MTV Base or entertainment channels like Trouble. I\’d be very surprised if it commands the audience levels of Sky One – on that basis, you\’re probably worrying unduly.

  58. Beth says:

    Its not an unnecessary worry. Trouble and MTV don\’t refer to themselves as "BLACK" entertainment channels. Its also not about the number of people who watch it, its the principle. It may be a very mild form but its segregation and I hope many people of all racesa come to realise that we cant categorise things by the colours of peoples skin.

  59. Ian winfield says:

    What is TS saying, that there is no hope for the TV station here,as a person of the other race I see a place for the  less domiant artist to come out(the hip hop group).They are trying to be expose,to show the british population that there is other hardcore music to rival the american hip hop.
     Why not ask the young getto hiphop singer if it is good that BET is coming to Britian?

  60. Clint says:

    I direct this to no name and others of that ilk; why was BET formed? "You running and you running but you can\’t get away from yourself". We did not create the problem. We have no choioce to find a solution! I am sure people like you would be happy to pigeonhole negroes into an even smaller crevice. Respect the bold statement that we can be the masters of our destiny – we are not just the hired entertainers who have to enter via the servants entrance, eat in segregated places and be happy to fit into a stereotype. I am sure you don\’t complain that British TV is too white, blacks have insignificant roles, Australian TV represents one group etc. Work with facts and not your inherent prejudice and self loathing.

  61. Connor says:

    can i ask where the WET is ? white entertainment channel

  62. G says:

    to be honest i am fed up with being led by america isnt it time that britain was led by brits?

  63. Beth says:

    This is 2 reality, i\’m not pigeonholing anyone. BET and MOBO is a form of segregation, i will stand by this as long as I live. I\’m merely stating the facts you have no idea what race I am seeing as I havn\’t stated it. Racism is a huge problem but I no longer see it as black people being suppressed. I see it as every race fighting to be on top, which is exactly how it shouldn\’t be. All those people fighting for equality back in the day would not have wanted it this way with TV channels, music awards, even national holidays putting other races above others. They wanted equality. Thats all I\’m fighting for. It saddens me that you see it another way. G, i agree, each country should be led by themselves. Connor I also agree, if white people had a music award show or a white TV channel they would be accused to be racist. Where is the equality in that?

  64. abbey says:

    I personal dont think there is anything wrong with the BET Channel, i think its a good thing actually to let black people have a channel of their own. 80% tv is mostly "white" anyways.  other cultures complain cause they feel there isn\’t enough Tv channels from other cultures and backgrounds, but the little you get you start complaining BET might be an american based tv channel but atleast its a start, more black tv channels will soon follow.  there is atleast 10 asian channels. its time we just celebrate eachothers backgrounds and cultures. If you dont like what u see, jus turn over the channel. plain and simple. 

  65. Kate says:

    Further to other comments on here, personally I find the concept of a black entertainment network insulting and racist.  Imagine the conceivable outrage that would ensue if a "white entertainment network" were launched.  I fail to understand the necessity for a "black-only" network, especially as the general population is colour-blind to racial differences in our multi-cultural society.  I think that services like this only heighten and encourage segregation, and that surely is a step backwards?I live in Slough, which hosts a diverse range of cultures and ethnicities, and I hold no prejudices against anybody.  I have friends of many different religious and racial backgrounds, and it makes no difference to me what colour their skin is.  It\’s not important.  Introducing a television channel that describes itself as appealing to "black people" is highly offensive to me.  So, skin colour is an important factor in your personality type and personal preferences, is it?  That like saying all caucasians like cricket and a sunday roast. 

  66. Max says:

    What black people need to do is to come together as a people, all of those people saying that black entertained network is insulting and racist are jokers.
    The true of the fact is that most black and white have different cultures and different tastes, so how come this is racist?
    The asians have all asians schools, the jews have all jewish schools, then why cant blacks have their own schools???
    To Tanya Svetlova from Russia, i would like you saying your comments to a black person face to face and see you getting smashed in the face, its quite easy to hide behind a computer and make racist comments.

  67. Greg says:

    Just in response to the people who have wrote where is the White English Network channel???
    everyday on television is WEN, just to excuse your ignorance why do white people (and i am white by the way) have this stock response to anything black.  "imagine if we had a white that they would go mental".  I used to be like you take some advice now stop being ignorant to skin colour and social construct and accept we are all the same and allow the ethnic "minority"!.  Look even the word on all our job apps, personal profile\’s puts them down beneath us, imagine seeing white minority on a survey………exactly  We seem to have everything as i presume most directors, producers, editors are white.
    we should allow black people these jobs and see how are terrestrial tv changes to move away from the ignorance of the world

  68. Coops - says:

    Big X, I\’m not defending Tanya Svetlova\’s comments, but I\’m unsure of her grasp of the English language. It really isn\’t worth getting steamed up over comments that are staggeringly ignorant. You don\’t really want her to get "smashed in the face", do you? It would probably reinforce her prejudices rather than alter them. Kate, (no name) and Connor, you made similar points so I\’ll respond to them. Firstly, BET UK is NOT for black people only. BET International General Manager Michael Armstrong said: "We think we will be filling a void that has been in the UK for quite some time. We will super-serve the black British, Caribbean and African communities but we also have programming that is acceptable to all lovers of black culture." If you are, in his words, \’a lover of black culture\’ (I have issues with his assertion of what \’black culture\’ comprises – but that\’s for another debate), this TV station is for you too. They are trying to be inclusive on the colour line (not on the cultural one though – irony of ironies). Now let me ask you all a question – do you guys ever go shopping in big supermarkets? Yes? OK. Do you ever shop in the \’ethnic foods\’ section? Do you buy egg noodles? Do you buy rice? Do you buy Supermalt? Do you buy Peri-Peri sauce? Do you pick up anything in the Kosher section? Do you buy Blue Dragon products? Black bean sauce? Vindaloo curry powder? Passion fruit? Mangoes? Years ago, none of the big supermarkets stocked the vast range of \’ethnic\’ products one can find today. The people who wanted that stuff had to go markets and specialist shops to get it. Clearly though, there was a demand – otherwise I wouldn\’t be able to buy all the above and more from my local Asda today. Are you against the big supermarkets selling \’ethnic\’ foods? Because BET UK is running on the exact same principle – except it\’s the market and specialist shop within the cable/satellite domain.

  69. RC says:

    Having picked up on this blog around five days ago, I went andsearched Sky for the BET channel. I\’d previously heard about it (years of watching  American shows and word of mouth), I finally got to watch it. To be honest it\’s a souped up MTV, after watching American Gangster {analyzing without glorifying} and getting previously unknown info on the Biggie/Tupac muders, and finally a documentary on the Gary Webb piece "Dark Alliance", I feel neither satisfied nor unsatisfied. I just don\’t understand why all the fuss? Surely the people who complain about a black centered channel are only just whingeing for the sake of it. Sky has what 900 channels for every race and natinality, I even watched the start of the Gulf war on Al-Jazeera before it changed into CNN/ABC/BBC Middle east. Hey a black guy who acknowledges other races ( Maybe i should run for president)!!!!!!!! LOL. But seriously apart from a few right on Black Panthers and Ray J ( asking for Bobby Brown to kick his A**), it\’s just another channel. Black Brits have a right to know what life is like on the other side of the pond. And who\’s complaining about a possible Native American channel ( they are actually real Americans are they not).
    So now that I\’ve watched TV from Africa, The Americas, Asia and Europe I think of myself as a well rounded individual who has better things to do than complain about any ethnic group having it\’s own broadcast media. The similarities in all channels are that men and women worldwide sure love a bit of drama, sex, intrigue and violence. Am I brain washed after watching all this ( hell no) And I\’m not gonna complain about Eastenders being a cast of mingers either. So may I prescribe 5ccs of getalife for whoever got anal expelsive over a TV channel and suggest that if your offended by such trivial things, then lock yourself in a dark room and play solitaire. Grow the hell up

  70. Dillon says:

    i think BET should stay in the USA unless its going to show things related to black people living in the UK we have very different issues compared to black americans i think it will actually bring down black britons and praise black americans eg we will be listening to more black american music and less black uk music its basically like saying britain has nothing for black people but america does it could make things worse and also what are we dogs we dont want americas leftovers i think the fact that they are giving us old programing is disrespectful at least be more up to date if we just needed a general black channel just to say we have one it would be easier to get one from africa  its better if we do our own thing we have a very different and uniqe culture compared to black people anywhere else in the world and we need to embrace that instead of becoming american

  71. Dillon says:

    and just to add one more thing for those who are talking about a white network and saying that BET is racist and talking about how integrated we are. Just letting you know black britons do need their own channel as much as you may say black people are already on tv check out bbc the ratio for reporters from white to black is 20:2

  72. Bekki says:

    In the words of Mr T, \’Quit your jibber jabber\’ moaners.
    Those people saying Britain is a majority white country, gold star to you but SO WHAT??? Continue to enjoy your majority white tv, BET isn\’t going to affect or change your life in anyway.
    To the person who said \’there are 6 black people on Eastenders\’ as a way to express how integrated the BBC (aka WEN) is… hahaha. Can you name them? I can actually only think of 3, or 4 if you count Winston!?!. But even so, are you trying to say we should be happy with any stereotypical non-white characters on British tv?
    If an American company can see a big enough market over here, for the MINORITY, then that\’s a fault of homegrown producers and programme makers for not filling that gap.
    I agree with no name (March 21 01.23), why when black people want something, white people complain \’if that was us they\’d be an outcry and we\’d be accused of racism.\’  HELLO! you can watch BET if you want!! Just like we watch mainstream majority white channels, your choice so stop moaning.
    I don\’t have Sky but I\’d be interested to hear any other responses from viewers of any cultural background on what types of programmes are shown on BET and if people think it\’ll be a success?

  73. Cherry says:

    Mmm.. mmm .. mmmm, I am shaking my head here thinking british TV has a long way to go. Perhaps there is a reason why there aren\’t enough of us on TV. Perhaps we\’re not good enough as actors, our comedies aren\’t funny enough, or we\’re just not beautiful enough. Who knows? Who cares? I don\’t see why in this day and age we should be constantly seeking approval from people who just are not interested enough in our culture (and yes \’Black\’ IS a culture). It\’s time we showed our own stories, sang our own songs, celebrated our own beauty. Until we embrace or own culture no one else will. This is where African-Americans have succeeded. Yes, they have their own problems but they are a major influence on American mainstream culture. And America is now on the verge of having a black president. YES we CAN!!!!  

  74. Beth says:

    I\’m not racist at all. I just don\’t believe in lebelling people. To Coops: there is no "black food" aisle in the supermarket or "chinese aisle" at least not in any i\’ve been to, it will usually just say what country the food is from, so I cant see your point with this comparison as people aren\’t specifically buying "black" food; as you undoubtedly know, black people come from many different and divers parts of the world, why are you so keen for people to see black people as all one type? Thats my problem
    Calling it a "Black" tv channel IS labelling. And labelling people is the very core of racism.
    I am not racist, the exact opposite in fact. And I believe its ignorance that people can\’t see what is happening. Racism is not getting any better, just sneakier.

  75. Tia says:

    I have no problem at all with a black tv programme, in fact, I think it\’s a great idea. In an ideal world, we wouldn\’t need it, we would just have more black people on mainstream telly. But I doubt that will happen due to some shallow people.
    But, I thought culture was more to do with where you live and were brought up. If I lived next door to a black person, and had done all my life, we had been to the same school etc, wouldn\’t we have the same culture? I thought it was British Culture, not Black or White culture. Oh well, maybe I\’m wrong, but wouldn\’t this fit in with all your comments about hoping it isn\’t all American shows, as Americans have different culture to us.

  76. Cherry says:

    Yes, culture does have a lot to do with where you live. BUT there is something universal about Black culture. For instance, White people (all over the world) are more likely to put their elderly relatives in nursing homes. This is not common amongst Blacks as extended families are quite important in our culture. White  girls are more likely to suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia, again this is because beauty is defined slightly differently in the Black culture. Note that black and Black (with a capital letter) do not have the same meaning. This is not saying that black people everywhere are the same but there is definitely more that makes us alike no matter what part of the world we are in. Like someone said earlier on, we tend to have similar taste. So, no, if you lived next door to a black person and had done the same things all your life, like attending the same schools, you still wouldn\’t have the same culture.  Why so much fear??? What\’s wrong with celebrating our Blackness? White people celebrate themselves all the time. I say a Black TV channel in Britain is LONG overdue.  Yes we CAN!!!

  77. Gav says:

    I have read this article and the subsequent comments very \’late in the day\’. I have to say if the top executives have named the channel as they have, then they know just how much flak they are gonna get and how many people will accept it. I have been recently revisiting my own understanding of Sociology and Economics and I believe that Class and how/where people perceive themselves is now the main problem rather than just race on its own. The fact that there is a television channel probably showing the types of television programmes I as a black person may find \’entertaining\’ but not necessarily interesting or useful does not fill me with fear. All it means is that the relevant \’pay-per-view\’ channel or "SKY" whatever it wants to be called thinks a good percentage of their potential paying customers may be interested in the entertainment value and advertisers will pay to place their products in the \’shop window\’ based on the assumptions that a certain group of people will be watching. Similarly I would only watch \’MTV Base\’ if I was able to justify paying £x for 1 channel. If it was free and I had nothing else to do it might be on all day (Channel U). So as far as I can see no-one is forced to do anything but people do try and influence us all. If I was easily influenced I would be demanding \’Roy Chubby Brown\’ or \’Jim Davidson\’ but I dont particularly like that type of humour. I love \’Chris Rock\’ and \’Richard Prior\’ but some would say they were racist and I am sure you will never see one of their performances scheduled to go out at 7:00 pm on ITV1 on a Saturday night either. There are a lot more interesting things requiring atttention going on in the world and the World Wide Web is an adequate source of information or entertainment for those who are able to access it. For me as a black man I would say that as long as I am aware of what has gone on in the past and is going on at the moment then I will make the right choices for my future (poetic) from the options available to me. Can I say that there are lots of people in the world being exploited for various reasons and as long as I and similar thinking others stay aware of these people then hopefully more of us can sleep better at night. I would say to anyone it would be just as good for you to watch, Discovery, History or whatever Channels to educate yourselves. Black Edutainment Television – For UK. Now there\’s an idea!!

  78. Coops - says:

    (no name) who left a comment here on 23 March at 00:56, with respect, you\’ve misunderstood my point about ethnic foods in supermarkets. I suggest you read it again as it is, in essence, an argument about demand and supply. And that\’s the very same reasoning BET made to support their decision to branch out across the pond. And where have you got the idea that I am "keen for people to see black people as all one type?" I have never said or inferred any such thing. Again, I suggest you read the comments again carefully. My objection to BET UK remains the one I made originally; I am not a black American. I am a black Briton. I do not see how BET can position itself as BET UK with 99% American programming. I hope I\’ve clarified my position.

  79. Tia says:

    I understand what you are saying Soul Sista, but I believe that appearance doesn\’t change who you are, so with that in mind, would that mean that someone with blonde hair has a different culture to someone with ginger hair, the answer is no. Although their ancestors may originate from other lands, we have lived similar lives, and probably have similar ideas. I have black friends and they talk about British culture, not black culture. Like I said before, I might be wrong, but this is just what I believe.

  80. Clint says:

    I grew up and attended school with people from many different ethnic backgrounds. I was always aware of the differences and the stereotypes. It seemed natural for other non black ethnic minorities to have their own and celebrate their own culture and moreover have a special allegiance to their mother country. Every group apart from black people are expected to determine their own destiny while contributing to the society they live in ; we still wear the yoke of slavery and we must be kept in our place. The crux of much of the complaints against any black worthwhile endeavour like the "MOBOs, black schools and now BET", is symptomatic of an inherent racist design for living which seeks to continually subjugate the black race and deny them a voice.
    It is arguable that BET at the onset will be mainly programmed with American programmes – would you expect MCds to sell a product that is completely new or to respond to the market demands and give you the tried and tested.
    White TV does not provide for the black community. And why should it? The black community represent a very small fraction of this society. They have no economic or political strength, representation or otherwise. The few black programmes or characters last a very short time and it is still significant that they are placed in menial roles.     

  81. michelle says:

    I too attended a school which was a largely White majority. To be more specific while ther were hundreds of White students, ethnic minority was arond 50. Not great. I suffered racism from staff and pupils. At one point i remember a teacher in a Geography lesson speaking about immigration. Her statement was, "Most people from Jamaica have poorly paid jobs and live in poor housing". As she pointed at me she asked " What do your parents do?" My response at the age of fourteen was "She has a better paid job than you". Defiant but true. My punishment (for telling the truth) was seeing the head mistress. My point is that racism is rife, and probably always will be. Our history as Black people must never be forgotten, but used to enhance and empower us not used as a limitation or barrier. Become part of the game and understand and influnce it. I have chosen teaching as my profession in order to enable me to empower and inform our children. Yes, it\’s a cliche, but knowledge is power. In order to get power we start with ourselves and pass our knowledge on to our children.

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