All Articles Tagged "BET"

UPDATE: BET Responds To Gabrielle Union’s Lawsuit Over Being Mary Jane Contract

October 12th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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BET has issued a statement in response to Gabrielle Union’s lawsuit:

“While we hold Gabrielle Union in the highest esteem, we feel strongly that we are contractually well within our rights and are committed to reaching a swift and positive resolution in this matter.”

Sources tell Deadline the Network plans to respond quickly in court as well.


Just as we were getting started for the next season of Being Mary Jane, we’ve learned that all is not well behind the scenes. Gabrielle Union is suing BET and Breakdown Productions for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation.


When Union was first approached to star in Being Mary Jane she was hesitant to commit to a TV series because of the schedule, but “BET’s then-general counsel Darrell Walker assured Union’s representatives that the actress wouldn’t be required to appear in more than 13 episodes per season — but a corporate policy required her performer agreement to include a provision allowing for a minimum of 10 episodes and a maximum of 26,” The Hollywood Reported stated.

According to Deadline, that’s the matter the actress took issue with.

“Although BET represented and assured Ms. Union before she agreed to perform in Being Mary Jane that it would never produce more than thirteen (13) episodes per season of the series, BET now wants to shoot twenty (20) episodes of the series back-to-back and cram all of the episodes into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract, with no additional consideration, and to deprive Ms. Union of her agreed-upon compensation for the next two seasons of Being Mary Jane,” the suit reportedly states. It is outrageous that BET would treat one of its biggest stars in this manner after all she has done to support the network and contribute to its success.”

Because season 1 of the show only had eight episodes and season 2 had 12, Union’s legal team renegotiated her contract so she would be paid for 13 episodes, even if BET didn’t order that many. “In 2015, her contract was amended again to include an executive producer credit and to require that at Union’s request a BET executive be physically on set during taping, according to the complaint,” THP said. “The suit also claims that Walker has been appointed the executive on set despite no longer being a BET employee and having no authority to act in response to production issues.”


The other issue is Union is to receive a pay raise with each season, and if season 5 episodes are pushed into season 4, she won’t get that increase.

“By way of example, for Season Four of the Series, the Agreement provides that Plaintiffs are to be paid $150,000 per episode for a minimum of thirteen (13) episodes of the Series, and for Season Five of the Series the Agreement provides that Plaintiffs are to be paid $165,000 per episode for a minimum of thirteen (13) episodes of the Series,” the suit states.

It’s for that reason that “Union is seeking general damages of at least $3 million and a declaration that BET cannot seek more than 13 episodes for any season of Being Mary Jane,” Deadline reported.

According to THP, taping for BMJ didn’t begin filming until just last month and Union wasn’t notified until a week before principal photography began that BET was going to run all 20 episodes as season four. This comes out just after Union’s cover for the November 2016 issue of Essence in which she talked about being added as a producer on the hit BET series, saying:

“For the first time in my whole career, I’ve actually been invited to the writer’s room. I walked in there as if I was meeting the Pope.

“I don’t just want to be a hired gun. I want to have a little bit more control over the narrative. The only way I can be empowered to do that is to be a producer. Now with as many projects that will have me, it’s part of the deal.”

Unfortunately, it sounds like BET doesn’t quite want to own up to that deal.

Trailer For The New Edition Story Is Out And We’re Fangirling Like It’s The ’80s

October 3rd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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The New Edition Story

Be honest: When you initially heard a New Edition biopic was being made by BET, were you excited about it?

If you weren’t, checking out the first full trailer for the three-part miniseries (you read that correctly) might get you there. I know I’m fired up, and I’m not even really a New Edition fan.

BET released a short scene from the movie last week featuring Ricky Bell (played by Elijah Kelley), Ronnie DeVoe (Keith Powers) and Michael Bivins (Bryshere Y. Gray of Empire) of Bell Biv DeVoe clashing with a solo Bobby Brown (Woody McClain) after he takes up all the stage time at a joint concert. Singer Luke James is also a part of the film, playing Johnny Gill, and actor Algee Smith plays Ralph Tresvant.

In BET’s official trailer, we get to see a young New Edition starting their career in the ’70s in Boston, singing “Candy Girl,” reaching the top of the charts. Then we see them as young adults in Hollywood, signing terrible contracts, competing to be front and center in the group, physically fighting, and dealing with a flourishing Bobby Brown.

The New Edition Story is set to air on BET on January 24, 25 and 27 and looks to be quite entertaining. We’ve all heard about the behind-the-scenes drama, but it’s a whole other thing to actually see it play out. Plus, I must say that I’m loving the way the film seems to be shot (and the eye candy I’m seeing).

Check out the trailer below and start getting your watch party plans together in advance.

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of Being Mary Jane

August 19th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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Being Mary Jane may no longer have creator Mara Brock Akil at the helm, but the show will live on thanks to BET and the many dedicated fans. Since its inception, the network’s first scripted drama has ranked as the No. 1 one scripted cable series among Black viewers in the demographic of 18 to 49, most of whom are women. And with just cause. With a full-fledged, flaws and all lead character like Mary Jane Paul, beautifully played by actress Gabrielle Union, and a commitment to discussing issues that affect Black women, BMJ is one of the most fascinating TV series the network has produced in years. Click on for some secrets behind the making of Being Mary Jane.

Good TV: Roland Martin To Appear On Wendy Williams Show To Discuss Comments On Race

July 11th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Wendy makes a living being controversial. But it seems she might have finally taken it too far when she shared her thoughts on actor Jesse Williams’ acceptance speech for his BET Humanitarian Award.

While most people applauded the speech, Wendy took issue with it, wondering why we have institutions like HBCUs and the NAACP.

As we’ve reported before, Williams said, “On the other hand, I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically White college. We have historically Black colleges. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP.”

She was dragged from here to kingdom come on social media; but perhaps, it was TV One host Roland Martin’s response that was the most scathing. In addition to telling Wendy to “stick to gossip,” calling her ignorant and suggesting she hadn’t read a book, he also told her “shut the hell up,” all while reminding Williams that the NAACP has always been a multiracial organization. He mentioned that we have “historically White universities,” we just call them universities because in this country, White is seen as the default.

Well, according to The Wrap, Wendy has invited Roland to appear on her show so they can discuss her comments further.

The talk show host made the announcement to her studio audience today. She said that she had been educated by Martin over the weekend, during “a very interesting conversation on the telephone regarding race.” She then said that Martin would appear on the show this Thursday to have “an open dialogue.”

“He’s educated me quite a bit and I hope you can do the same for all of us and we can begin to heal and stop,” Williams said.

Wendy told her audience that she was the one who initiated the conversation.

“I reached out to him over the weekend and we had a very interesting conversation on the telephone regarding race and so I said, ‘You know what? Why don’t you just come to the show?’” she said. “So I’ve invited Roland to the show. He will be here to have open dialogue. Roland will be here on Thursday, so I look forward to this.”

So do we.

10 Times BET (And Other Networks) Threw Shade

May 26th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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If you’re going to throw shade, you want it to be epic, especially if you’re throwing shade on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other forms of highly visible social media.  Shade is the not so secret key ingredient to countless diss tracks, Twitter beefs, and celebrity feuds.  There’s no magic formula, but the right amount of shade can also translate to countless views, likes, retweets, follows and overall activity all up in your mentions (not to mention, news stories on all of the entertainment shows).

No one is safe from the shade.  I repeat.  No one is safe from the shade.  Case in point: TV networks are even getting in on the action.  Whether they’re dissing other channels or fellow competitors, awards show performances or rehashing old celebrity beef, numerous popular TV networks have proven that they’re perfectly capable of stirring the pot with epic shade and disses.  Sometimes the disses work, other times, they backfire.  Here are some prime examples of shade thrown from the most unexpected of places–your favorite networks.

Jesse Williams Produces And Stars In New #BlackLivesMatter Doc

May 17th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Jesse Williams Produces And Stars In New #BlackLivesMatter Doc

Source: BET

In this day and age, when artists and entertainers are all about their paper, it’s rare that you come across famous folk who are willing to speak out against the injustices so often perpetuated against our community.

But that’s not Jesse Williams.

He’s out here on the front lines, caping for our people, telling the major news outlets Black Lives Matter, he was on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri. And he didn’t give up his commitment to teaching and educating young Black children, specifically boys, even after he stopped teaching and started acting.

The man is brilliant and just what we need in these times.

Thankfully, his work has not stopped.

Williams will also be executive producing a documentary called Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement.

Stay Woke which will air on BET on May 26th chronicles the Black Lives Matter movement from the hashtag to the on-the-ground work of protesting in cities across the country.

Williams also appears in the film with other activists like DeRay McKesson, Johnetta Elzie, Darnell Moore, Michaela Angela Davis, and the co-founders of the movement, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors.

The film will be directed by Laurens Grant, the woman behind The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution which aired at Sundance and then later, on PBS.

In a recent interview with Huffington Post, Williams talked about the importance that both Black women and members of the Black LGBT community played in the movement.

“There’s simply no movement, there’s not even a semblance of a movement without black women and black members of the LGBT community,” Williams said. “We as men, in particular black men, are constantly supported, nurtured, forgiven, apologized for, led, followed and coddled by black women and they get very little in return.”

Yes, God.

There’s nothing like a Black man who gets it and is not afraid to speak truth to power.

“Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement” airs on BET on May 26 at 9 p.m. ET.

Watch The Extended Trailer For Kelly Rowland and Frank Gatson’s “Chasing Destiny “

March 30th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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You’ve probably heard by now that Kelly Rowland has enlisted the help of legendary choreography Frank Gatson to find the next girl group. The duo plan to audition girls from across the country to not only create a group but receive a record deal from Epic. Rowland says she’s staking her reputation in the industry on this project so it has to be right.

Naturally, we were all a little curious about how this whole thing would work out. Well, BET released an extended trailer earlier today giving us some insight into the upcoming series.

Check out the trailer for Chasing Destiny, produced by Rowland, Gatson and her husband Tim Weatherspoon below.

The series airs Tuesday, April 5 at 10:30pm, following Black Girls Rock.

Tracee Ellis Ross Returns As This Year’s ‘Black Girls Rock’ Host

March 13th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

After hosting Black Girls Rock last year alongside Regina King, our favorite girlfriend Tracee Ellis Ross is making a fabulous return to Black Girls Rock as this year’s host.

The BET Networks and Beverly Bond-powered annual show is what #BlackGirlMagic is about — “representing a revolutionary landmark in media as it delivers edifying, entertaining and inspiring content honoring the nexus of achievements made by powerful Black women and girls.”

This year, ShondaLand producer and writer Shonda Rhimes (Shot Caller Award), R&B legend Gladys Knight (Living Legend Award), The Walking Dead actress and Eclipsed playwright Danai Gurira (Star Power Award), award-winning actress and activist Amandla Stenberg (Young Gifted and Black Award), and Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi will all to be honored at this year’s exciting event. And of course, there will be some special musical performances, too.

“I am so proud to once again host “w!™”,! Ross said in a press release.

“What an incredible night celebrating Black women in a show dedicated to Black Girl Magic. Powerhouses Debra Lee, CEO and Chairman of BET Networks and Beverly Bond, CEO of ‘Black Girls Rock! ™’ are true examples of Black Girls who Rock. I’ve proudly hosted this show since before it was televised, and it’s been an honor to be connected to this show for so long. In its 10th year, this show is of utmost importance in today’s times as it highlights positive reinforcement and representation for young black women. I am looking forward to once again being a part of such a wonderful night celebrating the beauty, talents, and accomplishments of black women – it will be a show to remember!” 

Black Girls Rock will be taped on Friday, April 1, 2016 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ and will air on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. ET/PT.

I’m Siding With Gabrielle Union Over Janet Hubert When It Comes To Stacey Dash

January 30th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Splash News, FOX News, WENN

Splash News, FOX News, WENN

When I was younger my mother used to tell me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say to not say it at all. I didn’t always stick to her words, but over the years I’ve come to understand her advice to an extent. However, in the case of ridiculousness that is Stacy Dash and her Black History Month and BET comments, some things must be said – without calling someone out of their name at the very least.

Many people sounded off on Dash’s comments, but of course those that were heavily spotlighted in the media were those reactions of celebrities. Earlier this week, Gabrielle Union flawlessly shaded Dash by simply asking, “Who is Stacey Dash?” after an Associated Press reporter asked for her opinion on the comments made by the actress.

“Is she like related to Dame Dash? Was she on Roc-A-Fella (Records)? I heard of a crazy once. Maybe last week? But I don’t know what her name is. Yeah, I mean, it’s like why there’s a need for The Birth of A Nation and why there’s a need for the Country Music Awards and the ALMA (American Latino Media Arts Awards) Awards,” she continued.

“If you don’t see yourself reflected in mainstream awards, you tend to create your own,” Union said, adding, “The more that we focus on inclusion and a true representation of this country, I think that crazy lady will have less to say.”

While Union kept the gabs sweet with a hint sass, reading Stacey to filth quite comically, Janet Hubert took a different approach during a recent visit to HuffPost Live.

“Somebody needs to slap the little bit of black she got on her off of her, okay?” Hubert said. “The little bit of black she got on her, off of her, because girlfriend has worked on BET more than most actresses have.”

Hubert went on to explain that she was suspicious of Dash’s intentions. “I think she’s just saying this kind of bull because she wants sensationalism and she’s working for Fox and she needs a job and she’s making a check,” she said. “And she’s bringing controversy to herself. Stacey is a bit of a media ho.”

Although I don’t agree with Hubert calling Stacy a “media ho” per se, I can say that the remainder of her comments were honest.  But in the midst of her interview, I found that Hubert’s ho commentary backfired, detracting from any point that she had. Sure, Stacy said something that was hurtful regarding our community and those whose talents are being dimmed, but when is retaliating with a word as such any better?

What are your thoughts?

How #OscarsSoWhite Reminds Us Mainstream Media So White Too

January 25th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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If #OscarsSoWhite got you pretty ticked off, wait until you discover how mainstream media ain’t all that colorful either.

According to a study released last year by the American Society of News Editors:

The percentage of minority journalists in daily-newspaper newsrooms remained relatively stable in 2014 at 12.76 percent even as newsroom employment declined by 10.4 percent, according to the annual census released Tuesday by the American Society of News Editors and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University.

This year’s census also found that the percentage of news organizations that reported having at least one woman among their top three editors remains steady at 63 percent. The number of minority leaders has dropped by 3 percentage points, with 12 percent of participating organizations saying at least one of their top three editors is a person of color. This was the second year the questions about women and minorities in leadership were asked.

Overall, the survey found, there are about 32,900 full-time journalists at nearly 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. That’s a 3,800-person decrease from 36,700 in 2013. Of those 32,900 employees, about 4,200, or 12.76 percent, are racial minorities. That’s a 0.58 percent decrease from last year’s 13.34 percent despite the substantially smaller newsroom employment in 2014.”

And this is not just an issue for old media. An investigation last year by International Business Times writer Brenda James, found many digital newsrooms are just as White and male as traditional media outlets.

Well, why should I care?

Glad you asked.

Well, beyond the clear bias in hiring practices, there is also the issue of representation. Particularly how stories are shaped and framed when there are few Black journalists, editors and producers present to act as watchdogs. For instance, let’s consider Hurricane Katrina and how the mostly poor and Black survivors were painted as looters and criminals.

Or how White perpetrators of mass violence are painted as troubled or suffering from mental illness whereas Brown and Black perpetrators are painted as terrorists and domestic threats to American freedoms and values.

Or how Black Lives Matter and other social justice protestors are routinely painted as thugs while the inane debauchery of mostly White people rioting after games and even pumpkin festivals, is framed, in most media outlets, as revelers who simply got out of hand.

Or Stacey Dash.

And as James noted last year in her IBT investigation: “Research by Nieman this year argued that diversity is not just a lofty talking point but an essential business strategy in a country that will be majority non-white in 2044. Stories of police killings of Black Americans in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore are only the most recent and jarring examples of how diverse newsrooms can be an asset for achieving fair and accurate coverage. It matters to audiences, too.”

Let me say it again: it matters.

It matters because those stories are how non-Black folks come to relate to Black people and it matters because it is how we too tend to internalize negative images and beliefs about ourselves.

Of course, some would say the answer to our continued misrepresentation in the mainstream media is to “not worry about what they do” and build our own.

But here’s the thing: Black folks have a long tradition of building our own media outlets. Who could forget the real Queen of Media aka Mrs. Ida B. Wells?

Anyway, while some areas of Black media are growing, including among the digital and television terrain, traditional Black media outlets in print and magazine have been on the decline for years, this according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

The lack of overall support by us, for us is part of the reason for the decline. But regardless of the medium, all Black media outlets struggle to get advertising dollars that are fair and comparable to more mainstream, less diverse media outlets. As reported previously by MadameNoire‘s contributing writer Chelcee Johns in the article entitled, Who’s To Blame for the Decline in Black Media:

Black magazines, radio, television and newspapers heavily depend on advertising to thrive, but what happens when it’s nowhere to be found? How are these influential Black mediums surviving with advertising dollars disproportionately going to mainstream outlets? And how are you, the reader and viewer at the center of it all, affected when these dollars decrease?

An October 2014 study released by Nielsen looked at the spending power of affluent African Americans in “African-American Consumers: The Untold Story.” Even though African Americans have an exponentially growing spending power said to soon reach $1.1 trillion this year, mainstream corporations only spend about three percent of their advertising and marketing budgets in African American markets.”

Without those fair and comparable advertising dollars, many Black media outlets simply can’t afford to provide the same coverage and/or quality as its White counterparts. That includes the ability to hire staff, pay for investigative reporting (that includes travels, food, research and room and board) or even put out a sufficient counter narrative attack to what is being said about us in the mainstream media.

In Essence, the reasons why #OscarsSoWhite are the likely reasons why #MSMSoWhite too. It’s not just about a stupid award show. But rather attacking a structure, which not only misrepresents the Black image in film, television and in the news, but also works to delegitimize and deny fair access to Black owned-entities, which stand a chance of competing.

In the media landscape, which once denied BET fair and comparable advertising dollars but will give Stacey Dash a platform to basically sh*t on BET (and the rest of Black media for that matter) for existing, it should be apparent that we can no longer remain clueless to how influential and interconnected both fights are.

Generally I agree with those who say we must build our own Hollywood (Although I also believe that the “Black Dollar” is largely a myth. However that is a post for another day – very soon). And yes, I also agree that we must build our own media, banks, schools, hospital, grocery stores, etc…as well. However we kind of have to check what they do too, especially if having “our own” will ever stand a chance of surviving.