“Nappy-Headed” Imus VIII: Next Target – BET?

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This is fascinating. What began as a simple, caustic and repugnant remark by a wrinkled radio host has evolved into one of the most intriguing experiences of my career. This isn’t about Don Imus anymore. It isn’t even about the noble young women who put remarkable faces on the ugly words Imus uttered.

Right now, it’s about how we got here and where we go now to ensure – as much as humanly possible – that we never go here again. It’s being referred to as a “tipping point,” a time when our collective consciousness simply said, Enough. No longer would the language of hate be tolerated. No longer will the words we’ve become densitized to be tolerated.

Not from Imus.

Not from anyone.

Enough.

“Imus in the Morning” is a wrap. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not in two weeks. But the show is toast – later if not sooner. Long before that happens, though, the calls will be made to those who helped lay the groundwork for the ugly language that got us here – among them, the music industry.

And one of the first calls I make is to Debra Lee, CEO of BET.

Why? Because for decades now the network has been ground zero for the language and terms that had become so pervasive a wrinkled white man thought it was okay it use them on national radio and television. In the wake of recent revelations, how can the network – along with its new siblings, MTV and VH-1 -still justify airing videos that glorify “bitches” and “hos?”

BET Founder Bob Johnson, in an interview on MSNBC, offered the same lame response he offered a decade ago in the midst of criticism about the network’s content. He said he’d long ago gone to the music labels and said BET would air cleaner, less offensive videos if they’d produce them.

In the same breath Johnson said Imus should be fired, he said he was not accountable for the content in the videos that ran on BET.

That may have flown for many years. But it ain’t flying any more.

If BET is reading the winds of change, Lee will announce soon that the network will not longer glorify misogyny and refused to air music videos and programming that degrade black women.

As I said, this is fascinating.

This is what I mean: A Philadelphia radio DJ as fired today for being stupid. Last week, this might have been considered funny.

Ghettonation author Cora Daniels: “I’m a Nappy Headed Ho.”

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42 thoughts on ““Nappy-Headed” Imus VIII: Next Target – BET?

  1. safecruise says:

    Now posted at http://www.safecruise.blogspot.com

    NBC Fires Imus for Bad Joke But Will They Cancel Royal Caribbean Ads because of Threat Aimed at Sexual Assault Victim Who Testifed before Congress
    NBC News dropped Don Imus yesterday, canceling his talk show on its MSNBC cable news channel a week after Mr. Imus made a racially disparaging remark about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.
    >http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/business/media/12dismiss.html?ref=sports
    By BILL CARTER and LOUISE STORY
    Published: April 12, 2007

    We agree that the comment made by Imus was atrocious and unacceptable. However, we do not feel he meant any harm. He has been one of the few lone voices in the journalistic desert to speak his mind and many times get at the truth. Because of his conversational style and passion, he has let thousands of listeners and viewers listen in on normal conversations with dozens of smart and experienced journalists each morning. People who may not want to get their news and information from the magazine and talking head format of network and cable news shows. Maybe we should fire Bill Maher again.
    If NBC has the balls to fire Imus, then they should also refuse to run advertising from media or record companies that make a profit from the sale of degrading comedy and music albums and CD’s. They should also refuse to run advertising for the Cruise Lines who actually do harm to people.
     They tried to prevent a sexual assault victim from testifying before Congress and were a party to a threat made against her. Safe Cruise: Speaking with the Enemy: Royal Caribbean Flys its True colors http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicsasusual/2007/03/nightmare_on_th.html
     There have been no convictions of sexual predators on cruise ships for the last four decades.Safe Cruise: Perfect Record: Not One Single Conviction for Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships in Four Decades
     They have understated the number of sexual assaults. http://www.sacbee.com/111/story/147483.html
     Their crewmembers work under sweatshop conditions. http://www.waronwant.org/?lid=2900 Safe Cruise: Florida Today Exposes Carnival “Sweat Ships”: The Under Belly of the Cruise Ship Industry
     Corporate fees paid to Liberia by Royal caribbean Cruise Lines helped finance the armies of Charles Taylor, one of the worst war criminals in history. Safe Cruise: Did Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines Help Finance Death and Destruction in Africa?
    NBC Fires Imus for Bad Joke But Will They Cancel Royal Caribbean Ads because of Threat Aimed at Sexual Assault Victim Who Testifed before Congress
    NBC News dropped Don Imus yesterday, canceling his talk show on its MSNBC cable news channel a week after Mr. Imus made a racially disparaging remark about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.
    >http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/business/media/12dismiss.html?ref=sports
    By BILL CARTER and LOUISE STORY
    Published: April 12, 2007

    We agree that the comment made by Imus was atrocious and unacceptable. However, we do not feel he meant any harm. He has been one of the few lone voices in the journalistic desert to speak his mind and many times get at the truth. Because of his conversational style and passion, he has let thousands of listeners and viewers listen in on normal conversations with dozens of smart and experienced journalists each morning. People who may not want to get their news and information from the magazine and talking head format of network and cable news shows. Maybe we should fire Bill Maher again.
    If NBC has the balls to fire Imus, then they should also refuse to run advertising from media or record companies that make a profit from the sale of degrading comedy and music albums and CD’s. They should also refuse to run advertising for the Cruise Lines who actually do harm to people.
     They tried to prevent a sexual assault victim from testifying before Congress and were a party to a threat made against her. Safe Cruise: Speaking with the Enemy: Royal Caribbean Flys its True colors http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicsasusual/2007/03/nightmare_on_th.html
     There have been no convictions of sexual predators on cruise ships for the last four decades.Safe Cruise: Perfect Record: Not One Single Conviction for Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships in Four Decades
     They have understated the number of sexual assaults. http://www.sacbee.com/111/story/147483.html
     Their crewmembers work under sweatshop conditions. http://www.waronwant.org/?lid=2900 Safe Cruise: Florida Today Exposes Carnival “Sweat Ships”: The Under Belly of the Cruise Ship Industry
     Corporate fees paid to Liberia by Royal caribbean Cruise Lines helped finance the armies of Charles Taylor, one of the worst war criminals in history. Safe Cruise: Did Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines Help Finance Death and Destruction in Africa?

  2. Robert Johnson made it quite clear that he felt no social responsibility to the African American community, and for him to get on MSNBC with his mock outrage turned my stomach. I have never, ever, in any type of weather, agreed with Armstrong Williams, but tonight was a first. Robert Johnson sold out black folks for pieces of silver (a billion dollars worth) and has no place in the dialogue, unless he wants to give a mea culpa ten times as large as Imus. Hell, Imus was an old white man with a tired schtick. Johnson should apologize for providing the platform. His “I asked the record company to stop giving me these videos, but I had to play them” reminds me of one of my uncles when it comes to why he stays on drugs. “I told my drug dealer to stop giving me these drugs so I can stop taking them.” Why not make an executive decision and forgo profits? Naw, old Robert found out that no matter how much money he has in his pocket, when it’s bloody, it stays bloody, no matter how much he’d like to revise history.

  3. Juan says:

    How does one make a non- degrading video of Nelly’s “Tip Drill?” I don’t think it can be done, with those outrageous lyrics.

    BET puts it on the air because it is cheap programming which does not cost a lot as there is zero production costs in putting together 106 and Park.

  4. What Bob Johnson started and to that extent Debra Lee continues is nothing short of deplorable. Nothing that Bob Johnson says surprises me after his statements at Wharton Business School’s African American organization in which he openly declared his unwillingness to reach back and help someone else up the ladder. He was only interested in working with others that could help him grow financially. Johnson is all about Johnson, much like the so called ‘artist’ like Snoop Dogg who even after attaining wealth continue to put out misogynistic and negatively charged ghetto lyrics.

    Yes, let’s turn our attention to BET, MTV and the other peddlers of hate promoting content.

  5. Dear Aunaetitrakul says:

    Yeah…the next target should be the rappers, BET and MTV because they are the ones that teach the young generation to use these degration terms to insult people. Let’s do it.

  6. Leon Wynter says:

    Oh yessss, Roy. You have put your finger on what this Imus thing put it’s finger on. And I celebrate the truth of your observation that this is about MUCH more than one wrinkled white man.

    Take 2 of 3 points (in raw form) I plan to make soon on “The American Race.”

    2- Imus brings us even closer to a real showdown about the rot that ghettoized popular culture has caused. Racist or not, Imus was doing his version of what almost every white entertainer does to signal he’s hip or knows what time it is or is outrageous. He went ghetto. Some whiteboys do it with deliberate self-parody. Others do it with cold blooded intent, and let the chips fall where they may depending on who their trying to impress. But after Imus the stakes have changed, forever, I hope.

    3-Credit for how it has really blown back must go to the untiring efforts of the womens NCAA and WNBA to present their athletes in the squeakiest of squeaky clean lights. It has been said that if you’re black you have to be twice as good to get half as much. Same for women ballers, only three times as good. They play their hearts out, keep their public noses clean, and they try real hard to look good–even ladylike– in their appearance on court. Which doubles back to the vicious blow to the scalp Imus gave them.

  7. Imus Has Legs, And They Run Toward B.E.T. et al

    I hate it when things move so fast that I can’t claim credit for my best navel gazing. Before I could get it out of my journal and into the blog, it may in fact be coming to pass that

  8. Et Tu, Snoop?

    Ooooooh: no less than Snoop Dogg has been moved to issue a defensive disclaimer on the misogyny tip in the wake of the iMuss. And did you hear about the Allentown, Pa. rock-jock who got fired for having listeners call

  9. Juan says:

    The only thing I don’t like about this Imus slippery slope is that it is going to bring back parternships like Tipper Gore, Bob Dole and C. Dolores Tucker. And entertainment is going to be sanitized to the nth immediatley after this… The pendulum is moving in one direction.

  10. James Jett says:

    I would like to add something here to help people understand, but maybe I shouldn’t comment because YOU have said it better and completely. I will said it anyway: my five Granddaughter!

  11. What Imus said was wrong….OK fine, so is most of the crap I hear on other talk shows-conservative and otherwise and certainly, what I hear on hi-hop and urban stations. I Imus has aplogized…too much, in my opinion. OK, he said it. Punish him, censure him. Deny him two weeks pay and have MSNBC pull the plug on a little watched simulcast effert. Fine. Do what we must….BUT .. I do not want Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson-two of the biggest Media Whore’s on the planet to become arbiters of radio content. More often than not, they only cry foul when a camera crew is present,

    lauriekendrick.wordpress.com

  12. JANE RYAN says:

    HAVE AE LOST OUR MINDS,I WAS ON THE SELMA MONTOMERY MARCH IN 1965,I AM SO ASHAMED AT THE OVERREACTION TO IMUS.I HAVE BEEN LISTENING AND WATCHING IMUS FOR YEARS.HE IS OPIONATED ,BUT MY GOD,LOOK AT ALL TGHE GREAT TGHINGS HE HAS DONE AND IS DOING FOR CHILDREN REGARDLESS OF RACE ,COLOR ARE CREED.HE HAS ALSO WOKED FOR AUTISM AMND VETERANS AND ANILMALS.SO WE ARE SO PC THAT WQEV OVERREACT AND THE MAN IS FIRED.AWFUL

  13. IMAGOD says:

    A chance for Jessie Jackson to become relevant today. He should organize a march saying that we will not tolerate such images and attitudes toward women (esp young black women) to be shown on a station called “Black Entertainment Television”. If the march takes place, i’ll be there.

  14. Bill Leslie says:

    Tipping point? Nigger please!

  15. missmonika says:

    great post!

  16. Daryl says:

    Mr. Robert Johnson although an astute business man, has held the African American community in contempt with the obscene video content that he has allowed to air on BET. He certainly did set the tone. Mr. Johnson has displayed a disregard for clean family programming. I was really dismayed and angry when I watched his outraged concerning IMUS ignorance. Rats always jump offer of a sinking ship. I’m not having any of it Mr. Johnson. Now it’s time to target the music industry that promote and distribute non edifying rap music. It has destroyed the spiritual and social character of our young people. To be honest, all of us have been way to quiet for far too long!! Let’s put a stop to this madness now!!!! Let’s save our seed.

  17. citiguy says:

    somebody fire Bill Leslie please…

  18. Aman Ajani says:

    The images and language in hip hop is degrading and dehumanizing to women but to simply point the finger at hip hop is to not deal with the bigger issue at hand. Media/Entertainment in our society lost it’s morals and values a long time ago. The last time I checked hip hop didn’t create our misygonistic culture nor is it the only outlet that perpetuates it, so it will be impossible to convince hip hop artist that they need to be held to higher morale standards then Hollywood, magazines, TV, etc. Hip Hop is simply a microcosm to society, violence and misgyony sells on Madison Ave then it’s going to sell on 125 too. You have to change the whole climate of the society before you can expect a change by a community within it.

  19. yourblankfile says:

    I honestly don’t see how you can say that Imus has caused us to reflect on where we are as a society on racism. Look at this rationally. He got fired for what he’s done, which by the way has impeded freedom of speech and will give no one the chance to argue the words he’s said. And now everyone is supposed to be happy and it’s gone. Far too much self righteousness in this article. Imus didn’t start an uprising, Articles like this did.

  20. […] April 12th, 2007. And just when I said the fight with BET was a fight for another day, the “tipping point?” This is fascinating. What began as a simple, caustic and repugnant remark by a wrinkled […]

  21. Queenie says:

    Robert Johnson knows how to respect black women about as much as Mr. Imus does. Even if you want to buy his argument that he’s not responsible for the content his network shows (which, um, whaaaaaa?), ask the players from the Charlotte Sting just how much he respected what they did.

  22. […] “Nappy-Headed” Imus VIII: Next Target – BET? [image] This is fascinating. What began as a simple, caustic and repugnant remark by a wrinkled radio host has evolved […] […]

  23. d21llama says:

    The white people have spoken it is now time for the leaders of the black community to clean up and take responsibilty for there side of the street!

  24. outeasy says:

    110% with you. See http://outeasy.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/al-sharpton-called-me-a-baboon/
    I guarantee the real, hard core racists will re-emerge soon over this. 😦

  25. abu ameerah says:

    I agree Roy…the reaction to the whole Imus affair has been “fascinating” — however, it raises far more questions than answers. Even Hip-Hop is now feeling the heat, so to speak.

    Let’s be realistic for a moment…Imus wasn’t fired because of his inflammatory (if not altogether racist) remarks. He was fired because major corporate sponsers pulled away from his show.

    Ultimately, it’s the bottom-line that mattered not whether or not someone was “Nappy”…

  26. Lo says:

    I think we should all remember BET is owned by Viacom and I think there is a connection to what BET is now and what it was 20 years ago.

    Let’s also look at people like Snoop he come out to pooh pooh Don Imus, hmmm, what label is Snoop on. He’s on Universal and MSNBC is a joint between NBC and Universal
    http://www.hollywood.com/news/Snoop_Dogg_Rappers_Hos_Are_Different/3679198

    To me this all points to this is more of a question of corporations and their control of everything we do in regards to entertainment. They can fire Don Imus and scapegoat him all they want, but I know the truth. This is a culture created and cultivated because there are three or four people owning every freaking thing and that has taken the humanity out all for the almighty dollar.

    MSNBC wants everyone to focus on Don, because it takes the onus off of them. They didn’t do anything. MSNBC is completely innocent and it was some wild cannon that caused all of this, that evil Don Imus.

    Don Imus is a powerless old man. Getting rid of him and not talking about MSNBC and CBS does absolutely nothing. Not talking about the connection that MSNBC has in providing funding for some truly vile music via Universal home to such acts as Emimen, Snoop, Ja-Rule, Jay Z…

    And Viacom (CBS and Viacom used to be committed partners, but they broke up for now…)look at what MTV has become. A reality show with a music backdrop piece of crap.

    Maybe big companies shouldn’t be able to own every thing. Maybe since they don’t know how to treat people or humanity there needs to be a movement for BET to not be part of Viacom, maybe it will be smaller, maybe people will make a little less money, but wouldn’t that be better. The “president” of BET has no power. The “president” of Def Jam has no power. To use the vernacular of popular hip hop artists they are just a bunch of “hoes” working it for their pimps corporate America.

    This is why they can’t do anything and they won’t answer anyone’s questions or give very half ass answers, because they are not in charge. You know why there is a “President” of BET and Def Jam, so you won’t bother the real guy who has the juice questions. He’s a little busy thinking of new ways to screw everyone.

    Lo

  27. newhoosier says:

    Funny, I just wrote about Robert Johnson and Imus too! I saw Johnson on MSNBC the other night with Armstrong Williams. It’s nice to see contrarian viewpoints on hot topics.

    And David Gregory (who does a bad Chris Matthews) actually called out Robert Johnson for promoting the same hate-filled ideas. It was funny to hear Johnson come up with a canned response.

  28. Thomas Nikl says:

    I agree with you that the BET folks are as guilty as Imus, though my perspective, personally, is that people should be able to say whatever they want. If people don’t like it they can tune out, and if enough people don’t like it, then the show will bust on it’s own.

    Otherwise, who becomes the moral authority on what is allowed on TV and what is not? I really don’t want to set a precedent where anytime someone disagrees with you- or dislikes what you say- you lose your medium. Pretty soon the airwaves will just be silent.

    I don’t like what Imus said but if he was on the air this long, I’ve got to assume 99% of the time he had something worthwhile to say, and we all make mistakes. If we fire Imus, and the next guy, and the next guy, I just don’t ever see it ending.

  29. cambo says:

    Is this site satire or serious? A guy made some stupid comment. Big deal. Worry more about how the only media exposure most black people get is when they’re dangling a car’s hood ornament around their necks or having a tarp pulled over their heads after being shot in a drive by. No wonder nobody takes “you people” seriously. You can’t even tell what’s hurting your cause.

  30. denmark98 says:

    Imus is only the scape goat I think he is could do more for “the cause” then sharpton or jackson ever did….

  31. eteraz says:

    Check out my article on the Huffington Post echoing your thoughts.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-eteraz/dirty-hip-hop-and-whether_b_45710.html

    “The problem, thus, is very simple. If today’s minorities want to revive hip hop to the art form it once was, and the art form it can be, they have to take stock of their complicity in its misogyny, not in order to make white people less racist, but for the sake of their own dignity.”

  32. mysonabsalom says:

    Dude, right the fuck on.

  33. skoo402 says:

    Johnson said he’d play more sensible videos if they make them… well, they make them yet they’re not there. For example, rapper Murs just made an album last year without dropping a single n-bomb, yet I still see videos objectifying women. Groups like Little Brother can go a whole album without the mentioning of dealing drugs, but Young Jeezy finds it suitable to recruit white girls to promote a new track called “White Girl” which of course is about cocaine. Somehow cocaine and half-naked women are totally acceptable to present to the 13-18 demographic that BET aims itself to. Somehow Al and Jesse find it acceptable as well, since there’s no mention of picketing BET anytime soon.

  34. daxer585 says:

    Unfortunately, with the media it’s all about money. Whatever earns the most (inappropriate vids for BET) or however they can protect their assets (firing Imus) is the path they will take.

  35. Roy:

    Great point–check out my post about BET’s late examination of the N-word on http://www.mondaymorningmediaquarterback.com.

    Ultimately, both what’s censored and what is broadcast comes down to one color–green.

    BET Tackles the N-Word
    April 12th, 2007 by encinoman
    Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, and his ex-wife, who owns a WNBA team, blasted Don Imus. It smelled of hypocrisy, as BET devotes hours to broadcasting the very raunchiest of videos. Then I saw this. http://www.bet.com/BETShows/blackisbeautifularticle.htm?

  36. axewielderx says:

    It was just stupid in my opinion.If Imus was black there would have been no issue.It is a double standard and that is just wrong.

  37. Alexander says:

    Grey-headed, knuckle-headed, and retirement-headed Imus is a jock! There I said it!Words are powerful….aren’t they?! In one context they can mean your job…in another they can mean a laugh is coming from your lockeroom buddy.

    I feel a line in the sand has been drawn….and Imus made that line crystal clear…for now!

  38. […] pretty cogent bloggers have figured this out too: try Ballers, Gamers and Scoundrels, or […]

  39. shirley says:

    I boil inside everytime I see Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson speaking on any issue, because they don’t speak for me and a lot of blacks I know. They are not my representative.

  40. Gem says:

    Web Site Clearinghouse for Grassroots Efforts to Combat Misogyny in Music

    I think there plenty of us that are equally outraged about the portrayal of African American women in popular culture . Following the Oprah Town Hall meeting I decided to create a website to serve as a clearing house of all of the grassroots effort out there to combat misogyny in music. Whataboutourdaughters.org. I think that it is time to DEFUND THE WAR ON BLACK WOMEN! Period. End of discussion. This isn’t about artistic expression. This is about capitalism. People have a right to basically say whatever they want to, but I don’t have to subsidize it in any way. Hence the term “starving artist.”

    We started an online call-in talk show as well called “the Black Women’s Roundtable” Saturdays at Noon CST. Our topic this week is “Does Hip Hop Really Hate Black Women?” If you can’t listen live, you can always catch the archived show at blogtalkradio.com/blackwomen
    Whataboutourdaughters.blogspot.com

  41. Quinton says:

    cool picsxx

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