Better to be 1st Among the Gauls Than 2nd Among the Romans
Again, I do not mean to whistle past this graveyard but this channel perpetuates a certain black caricature and stereotype and everything that is not integral to the decency of being black. Instead of being the promoter of all those things central to us, BET is into playing second fiddle and also the classic blackface – pun intended – to an audience in need of the ephemeral fix! All the while, the new owners sitting up in Viacom reap the profits off a channel that caters to a Black populace.
In essence, hyperbolic as this may sound, this is the new way to mentally enslave rather than empower people of color. How soon we forget that BET gave many a currently successful black artiste their 15 minutes of fame when MTV shut the doors on them!
Additionally, a look at how many formerly venerable Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in the United States; and once prestigious universities in Africa and the Caribbean are ghosts of their former glory is a foray into an infuriating sellout! Rather than continue to innovate and ensure that they effectively competed for students like the mainstream universities, many of former august institutions – save for the big Morehouse, Hampton University, Spelman College and Howard – have been reduced to deputies and wards of either the federal or state government – dependent on the people’s teat for financial handouts!
These former giants of Black Ivory Towers have fallen on hard times simply due to financial mismanagement and poor leadership. They were managed by an old guard who held on too long to the fight for equality and affirmative action – choosing to solicit government protection instead of aggressively innovating to solidify their unique position as the bulwarks of Black America. And thus, they may not get a share of the US$1.1 trillion market potential.
Furthermore, while the HBCUs were uniquely positioned to take advantage of the collaborative opportunities that had arisen in both Africa and the Caribbean Universities, mainstream universities took their place and now, someone else is creating new opportunities for Black entrepreneurship, agriculture, innovation and technology. And that someone is not any of these institutions that were happier to receive a so-called ‘whopping’ US$228 million injection from the US government. How whopping can this kitty be to all 97 of those beneficiaries? As if to show their misery, the athletics departments in most of these former producers of the world’s sports elite have been reduced to having their football teams [if they have one] shucking and jiving and acting as tackling dummies for Major Division 1 football programs in order to raise cash for their cash strapped athletic programs.
Caesar would, if he could, turn in his grave!
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. African entrepreneurs and philanthropists like Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote and Sudan’s Mo Ibrahim are using their unique position of being in the rising African market to go global and export Africa to the world. They are the ones leading the way for both Black America and the Caribbean.