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Rodney HoRodney Ho

Stacey Dash fires back at BET: the network lies to black people

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WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 07:  Actress Stacey Dash attends the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party at Pacific Design Center on March 7, 2010 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 07: Actress Stacey Dash attends the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party at Pacific Design Center on March 7, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com originally filed Friday, January 22, 2016

Actress and Fox contributor Stacey Dash is clearly relishing the firestorm she created by calling for the end of BET and anything that focuses on African-Americans such as the BET Awards or the Image Awards. After her initial statements this week on “Fox & Friends,” she has doubled down in an essay on Patheos called “How BET Lies to Black People.”

When she initially said BET should go away, BET sent a Tweet reminding her she worked on BET’s “The Game” in Atlanta and facetiously asked for the check back. In her essay, she called that “throwing shade.” Indeed!

She then threw plenty of shade herself:

Thank you for reminding me, since most people have never heard of that show.

Why?  It’s on BET.

Quick.  Name the top shows on BET.

Drawing a blank?

I think I’ve made my point.

That depends on the audience. I’m sure plenty of black folks know this show:

Being mary jane season 3

And this one:

Real husbands

She thinks awards should be given on quality without using color of one’s skin as a criteria. (BET Awards don’t just give awards to black entertainers but entertainers that black people like who sometimes are not black like a Sam Smith or Justin Timberlake.) More from Dash:

My problem goes back to the notion that every area of life needs to break down exactly according to demographic ratios except in those areas in which black people have decided they want to have their own space.  I don’t have a problem with black people having their own space.  I have a problem with the folks at BET absolutely freaking out when other institutions don’t match up to what they think is best.

Dash spent a few months in 2011 working in Atlanta on “Single Ladies’ for VH1. VH1, a sister station to BET, actually targets blacks and much of its viewing audience is black. It’s fair to say it competes with BET without the strictures of the fact it’s known as “Black Entertainment Television.” VH1 airs “T.I. & Tiny,” “Basketball Wives,” “Love and Hip Hop” in all its iterations and the not-so-subtlely-named “Black Ink Crew.” Most of VH1’s primetime shows do better than those on BET. (Last week, VH1’s average primetime audience is 632,000 and BET drew 491,000.)

The show “Single Ladies” focused on two black women and one white woman in hip Atlanta circles. That show lasted three seasons on the network. The only scripted show on its current lineup is “Hit the Floor,’ which has two blacks and two whites as its leads.

VH1 does air some shows without black leads such as “Mob Wives” but its newest scripted effort “Hindsight” (a series shot in Atlanta with only one black regular) failed to make it to a second season.

BET started as a black-owned network, a haven to provide TV programming for an underserved audience. For the past 16 years, a huge conglomerate Viacom has owned the network, purchased for $2.3 billion in 2000.

Its scripted and non-scripted original shows do feature non-black folks on occasion but are cast mostly with blacks. Currently, the network’s scripted slate is pretty light. Besides the successful “Being Mary Jane” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” it recently debuted a new sitcom starring Brandy called “Zoe Ever After.” The first three episodes averaged 750,000 overnight viewers. That’s a little less than “Real Husbands” and “Being Mary Jane.”

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