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Shame On You, BET!

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Dr. Janet Taylor: I watched the recent BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards Show, held at the Shrine Auditorium, for two reasons. The first was obviously because I wanted to watch the tribute to the recently departed Michael Jackson. The audience, including myself, was not disappointed. From Beyonce to the surprise appearance of Michael's sister, Janet, the awards show touched the hearts of millions. The second reason that I tuned in was for the live acts. There is nothing like listening to singers in real time.

lil wayne and drake on BET

Now, I enjoy rap, with the exception of rappers who use lyrics to degrade, defame, or threaten others. In my opinion, the music is not productive and I frequently will simply turn it off. On the show, when rapper Drake appeared sitting down to rest his torn Achilles, I was like, OK ... pretty tame. I don't have a problem with Lil' Wayne; he is creative and his writing is brilliant at times. However, his song "Every Girl" is offensive and disturbing. Here are the shocking lyrics -- read them with caution. Perhaps, they are what our kids are used to. I have teenagers, girls no less, who have heard the song and like it. My problem was with the preteens who were proudly onstage, shaking their groove thang to this misogynistic, disrespectful song. It was ridiculous. Debra Lee, the CEO of BET, also the mother of two children, should be asking herself who approved this and how these young girls were allowed to be a part of this "act."

It is time for perspective here. In the minutes that were wasted onstage during this song, almost four women were forcibly raped in the United States. The age group of 13-17, to which these young "dancers" belong, has the highest number of victims of forcible rape at 32%. Women who are sexually or physically abused just once in their lifetimes are more likely to experience a poor range of physical and mental health outcomes.

Why are we as women and mothers passively allowing our young girls to be utilized as sexual entertainment? We need to wake up and understand the importance of what we expose our children and teens to. Surely, you would not pop in porn for movie night with your family, so how can one justify the bright idea of preteens rocking out to hardcore rap under the watchful eyes of the adults in the audience?

The negative portrayal of young women and girls can lead to unequal power in relationships, influence sexual behavior, contribute to violence against women, and challenge what are acceptable norms and behavior within gender. I am not making an indictment against rap; my issue is with the producers who allowed this debacle to happen.

Find the clip (we tried, but it looks like BET has pulled it from YouTube), and talk to your daughters and sons about the song and the "dancers." It's an opportunity to hear their feedback and share your own thoughts and experiences.

For the record, my girls thought that it "was strange" and inappropriate. They were embarrassed for the girls. I agree.

** Editor's note: We contacted BET for a comment. They have yet to get back to us.

next: Candy Spelling: Wishes for Michael Jackson
37 comments so far | Post a comment now
ame i. June 30, 2009, 11:08 PM

I agree with the other Amy. I doubt I would, but if I ever found lyrics like that on my kids’ Ipods, they would be in trouble. I don’t see the point in rapping or singing about genitals, the N word, etc.
The kids listening to such sad excuses for music are probably not going to end up going to college and/or working with my kids anyway, so if their parents allow it, I really don’t care.

Janiqua June 30, 2009, 11:19 PM

If you want to see this trash for yourself- here is the link (since they took all the videos down off youtube)

I read the lyrics- disgusting. these are basically porno lyrics. No kid under 18 should be listening to this music.
No self respecting woman should be listening to this.

reenie July 1, 2009, 7:23 AM

If this is what passes for entertainment then I fear for our youth in general, and our society as a whole. Since wen is it acceptable to denegrate an entire gender simply for the gratification of another? When I see lyrics such as these it makes me wonder just what kind of message we are giving our children. It amazes me that the same people who sings this song and market it to naive teens will then turn around and complain when these girls are raped and beaten by their boyfriends…the message given was telling them that violence towrds women is acceptable!
With teen pregnancy at an all time high, we as parents have a responsiblity to keep this crap from ever seeing the light of day. This is the youth of tomorrow and from some of the response I’ve seen here, I have every reason to fear for it.

We can do better, much better.

chris July 1, 2009, 8:31 AM

I agree with Reenie. I get the whole Freedom of expression but why wouldn’t we want better for our children then the messages that are being put out there by these so called artist. The black community (esp. the women) need to step up and tell their men and children that degrading their women is NOT acceptable! It’s because of the indiffernce and acceptibility of lyrics in music like this that our young girls feel that they need to be sexual so early and left with babies to raise while still babies themselves. And Yes, I know it’s our job as parents to teach/raise our kids but come on the pressure and influence that our kids are subjected to are out there everywhere today - much more than when I was a kid.

Monica July 1, 2009, 2:41 PM

Really BET should be ashamed. I don’t watch BET much anymore. Its just as bad as MTV now. I didn’t watch the show but I went on BET and looked at some of the clips from Janet and Ne-yo in their tribute to MJ. And I stumbled upon the clip of Lil Wayne that I had her about on a couple of blogs. I was upset and embarrassed. Young girls on stage while he talking about doing every girl in the world. He must have been serious when he sang that song because for sure he knocked up to young ladies at the same time. The more I hear about that little sea urchin he makes me sick. On top of that Bet would put a song like that on the show that was more than half way bleeped out because it was so vulgar. If they know that young children are more than likely to watch the show why the heck would they even put him in the line up? Its a matter of common sense BET. This was not a R. Kelly concert. What was up with that?

Jenni July 1, 2009, 11:48 PM

I am broadminded but this is disgusting. Shame on BET. It seems to me that so many ‘songs’ these days are demeaning to women in general. As for some of the female entertainers, they aren’t much better the way they suggestively ‘dance’ with overt sexual moves going on.

Mollie July 4, 2009, 9:02 PM

I think it’s very sad that the Mother of Bahja would spread such news throughout the internet. The Mothers these days! That childs personal business with her father is none of the worlds business. But these Mam’s these days feels it’s about them and will do anything to bring their “Baby Daddy’s down” including spreading news that concerns their child. From my source, Shamra knows why he isn’t around, and the fault is not all his. The person at fault is her. I think pwople should hear John John’s side of the story. Look at what type of Mother she is. Letting her child go on stage like that. I have even seen pictures of her children in see through tu tu’s! Right name for the group, OMG!

maydrian July 26, 2009, 8:08 PM

Why is it that you ladies comment and blog things like this. Yes the show that was performed was not logical for kids to listen to but that does not give you the right to talk about the rappers. you all are acting like 12 and 13 years old girls.

OMG is Right! July 31, 2009, 3:53 PM

The awards were horrible! Refering to the comment, “Why are we as women and mothers passively allowing our young girls to be utilized as sexual entertainment?” … When are we going to get our Mothers to have the right concern for our kids period? I was readinf the, “Sandra Rose” message boards, and it saden me to read the comments she wrote that came from Bahjah’s mother, Shamra. From all that was going on with the performance, she could only attacked her Bahjah’s father? Is that as far as her mind could take her at that moment when all that was going on with her child?

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