Wednesday, February 21, 2018
How Black Entertainment Television "celebrates" Black History Month
So I'm back on the treadmill and Black Entertainment Television is replaying this excellent film, 2013's Twelve Years A Slave, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery some twenty years before the outbreak of the Civil War. Northup's narrative is a powerful indictment of the moral depravity of the slave-master relationship as well as being an uplifting tale of stoic determination in the face of despair.
And during commercial breaks, BET shows us advertisements for....this. A game show based on a board game in which black people test each other's "blackness" by asking trivia questions that I guess only people who are "really" black are able to answer correctly.
A few years ago, BET "celebrated" Labor Day Weekend by running the entire original Roots series- and airing the most obnoxiously racist Stepin Fetchit crap ads during every commercial break (and if you've ever watched BET, you know that there were a LOT of commercials breaks.) When I snarked on that atrocity I think I used the term "one step forward, two steps back." It fits here, too.
Hey, kids- sit yourselves in front of the tv and enrich yourselves by learning about the life of Solomon Northup, as told by Northup himself. During the commercial breaks, PLEASE mute the tv, or better yet, mute the tv and leave the room for 4 minutes or so to get a sandwich or use the rest room or- hey, here's an idea!- go to Amazon and order a copy of Twelve Years a Slave. It's a great read, and Northup's race isn't degraded and belittled and insulted in between chapters.