Latifah Muhammad

BET Co-Founder Says Network “Reinforces Negative Stereotypes”


Sheila Johnson may have co-founded BET, but that doesn’t mean that she’s immune from criticizing the cable network. Johnson, ex-wife of founder Bob Johnson, gave her critique of the changes the network has gone through since being sold to Viacom.

During a speech for the Conversations and Encounters program at the Carmel Art and Film Festival in Monterey County, Calif. over the weekend, Johnson said that BET “reinforces negative stereotypes of young people, African-Americans in particular.”

Rather than using the network as an opportunity to be a positive voice for the Black community, Johnson explained that things have taken a different turn. “I think we squandered a really important cable network, when it really could have been the voice of Black America. We’re losing our voice as a race as a result,” she said.

“I’m really worried about what our young people are watching. There are so many young people who are using the television as a babysitter. We have parents who are not being parents and not monitoring what their children are watching.”

Has BET done more harm than help to the perception of the Black community?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Photo: News One

Comment Comments: 2 Tags Tags: bet, stereotypes, bob johnson

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  • kim

    Bottom line parents have to raise their kids not a tv program

  • This was obvious…something we all knew a long time ago. They should’ve took this into consideration when they decided to sell this who they decided to sell it to. BET (done by Viacom) is reinforcing the sterotypes that are going on in our communities, by showing negative images, that keep the cycle going. I’m actually looking forward to seeing what Magic Johnson can do with this Centric TV. I’ll leave with this…we need modern tv shows lie ‘A Different World’ and ‘The Cosby’s.’ Sure the parents should be raising our kids, but the kids have so much access to things these days, that they’ll find out about it anyway. BET is only apart of the problem, not correcting it.