Does BET Have a Bias Against Dark-Skinned Blacks?
From The Grio –The exit of Terrence J and Rocsi Diaz from the long-running 106th and Park has entertainment-hounds wondering who will be the next to take the helm of the popular BET show. 106th and Park is uniquely positioned, as the only relevant countdown music video show of its kind still on the air, to break new talent and try to recapture the attention of music-loving teens. The challenge — finding fresh, relatable hosts that will keep kids tuned in.
But some are wondering if BET will reflect the diversity of its audience in its hosts. With Rocsi and Terrence (until recently) leading one of network’s more popular shows, and the launch of a new program with former CNN journalist TJ Holmes, there’s some concern that BET may be signing on with the old, pervasive and troubling adage, “Light is right.”
The question is whether this criticism is fair, or even accurate. So let’s take a look at some of the faces BET has chosen to represent the network over the years:
Before Rocsi Diaz, Free was the natural-haired, around-the-way-girl that early 106th and Park audiences fell in love with. With co-host A.J., the two became a relatable team that helped usher the show to its early success. Another BET icon is the chocolate-hued Donnie Simpson, host of the 106th’s precursor, Video Soul, who was eventually succeeded by the energetic Sherri Carter. There was Rachel Stuart of Caribbean Rhythms, with her exotic features and Jamaican lilt. BET even went into virtual reality for a moment, with Cita, the 3-d computer-generated host of the daily video show, Cita’s World.
Award shows and special programming have been sprinkled with hosts and red-carpet reporters of various hues. Both Danella Sealock and Toccarra Jones have served as correspondents for BET’s The Black Carpet, while celebs such as Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett have served as host for the annual BET Awards. And comedienne Mo’Nique hosted her eponymous late night talk show on the network for two seasons.