Is BET the New KKK? My Response to Dr Boyce’s Controversial Article

Just read this article by Dr Boyce called ‘BET Has Officially Become the New and Improved KKK‘..The title is no doubt provacative and so when I peeped it, I just knew he was gonna go in BET executives and raise the level of conversation.

I gotta say I was disappointed.. The article focused on Lil Wayne and his lyrics and how he had gotten the most BET Award nominations of any artist. There was no mention of the key decision makers.

I was even more disappointed when I peeped the follow up video where Boyce attempts to explain in more detail why he took shots at Lil Wayne and that he much he loves Hip Hop.

Its not that Boyce was incorrect in taking Wayne to task for some of his more unsavory lyrics. Artist are not immune to criticism and being challenged. But lets be honest, that happens all day everyday. People buy the albums, listen to the songs and express their opinions.. It was dope. It was wack. It gets 5 stars, 4 stars, 3 stars..

There’s an abundance of websites and blogs that put out album reviews. Lil Wayne routinely gets smashed on. He routinely gets praised.

There are also scores of radio shows where folks routinely weigh in on the merits of a particular artist. Conversations around Lil Wayne are not uncommon.

My point here is this…if  Lil Wayne who Dr Boyce says he likes and listens to everyday, needed to be publicly checked for his off color lyrical content, there was ample opportunity to do so..Dr Boyce didn’t have to wait for the BET awards to come down on him..

I feel Dr Boyce missed the mark by not calling to task and specifically holding accountable the ‘KKK-like actions and decision making of BET senior executives like Debra Lee, Scott Mills, Stephen Hill etc….Why not make them household names and encourage folks to push for them to change their ways?

We should know the names and numbers of anyone who’s actions are on par with the ultimate goals of the KKK which is to destroy and forever eradicate Black people. (Folks can peep the list of executives who runs BET on their ‘media room fact sheet’ HERE ).

Forget Lil Wayne for a minute.. Let’s find out why BET president Debra Lee (pictured left) allowed Lil Wayne the platform? What was her decision making process? Who did she have sit around the table and weigh in on the production of the show?  Are their standards that would lead to an artists not being given the exposure on BET?  For example, If Lil Wayne was an avowed child molester would he have been honored or would he have been shunned?

Dr Boyce noted that he called out Lil Wayne because of the tremendous influence he has on young minds. That’s understandable..At the same time we have to note that Lee and her staff also allowed singer Chris Brown to perform. The man who made headlines for viciously beating his ex-girlfriend Rhiana also has influence….We saw Busta Rhymes performing and he’s been arrested in past for assault.

By granting these artists a worldwide audience are equally harmful messages being sent? But really the lesson that all of us need to know both young and old alike, is the how corporate power works and its relationship to Lil Wayne, BET and larger Black community?

Hence we need to discuss whether or not an artist like Lil Wayne is yielding so much power and clout that he can show up at the BET offices and force Debra Lee (pictured left) or show producer Stephan Hill to put him on the air?

We should be asking does the buck stop with Debra Lee and her staff or does she have to answer to Viacom executives like Sumner Redstone (pictured right) and Phillipe Dauman who own BET?  Did they call her up and force BET to grant Lil Wayne a platform? In short who was really calling the shots and what do we as consumers do about this?

(You can peep the executives at Viacom which is home to VH1 and MTV over HERE . You can also peep the record setting amounts of money these Viacom executives make HERE. It’s a lot more than Lil Wayne..)

I liken the whole scenario to this.. If I was hired to babysit your kids and decided to show them x-rated movies, upon finding out my misdeeds who do you as a parent hold accountable? me the babysitter who presented the movie or the adult TV stars?

Lil Wayne put out a product which again, can and should be challenged but that’s the easy way out.. It’s harder to but necessary to take the fight to executives at BET who for whatever reason decided to honor not only Lil Wayne, but artists who are similar in terms of having questionable product.

I feel Dr Boyce should’ve smashed directly on them and lit a fire under their feet. Don’t let them hide behind the BET logo.Name names… And yes if the price you pay is these  BET executives don’t ever invite you back on their shows.. so be it.. No one said speaking truth to power is easy..

Something top Ponder

-Davey D-

How Did Senator Edward Kennedy’s Work Affect Young People?



Almost every politician likes to utter the cliches of ‘helping’ or reaching out to the young people. Very few do more than roll up take a few pictures and bounce until the next photo op. Very few have taken the steps to craft legislation that would lead to young people being empowered. The conventional wisdom is that young people don’t vote so why bother doing anything for a segment of the population that doesn’t vote or put much pressure on to move in a particular political direction. Such was not the case with Ted Kennedy. He took that aspect of his career very seriously.

Our good friends at MTV lay out a few of Kennedy’s accomplishments with respect to creating and pushing bills designed to help young people. We hope folks take this to heart and commit themselves in following on those footsteps with the goal of taking the late Senator’s legacy to new heights.

-Davey D-

How Did Senator Edward Kennedy’s Work Affect Young People?

Late senator helped lower voting age to 18 and sponsored many college grant and loan programs.

By Gil Kaufman

Young people lost a key ally in the Senate with his passing

Young people lost a key ally in the Senate with his passing

Senator Edward Kennedy

was known for many things in his 46-year Senate career, including a tenacity that could put the fear into presidents both Democratic and Republican, a willingness to work with colleagues across the aisle to pass major legislation and a focus on improving the lives of children and young people. For decades, Kennedy, who passed away on Tuesday at 77 after a long battle with brain cancer, sponsored a number of bills that greatly enriched the lives of America’s youth.

One of Kennedy’s early triumphs was his participation in creating the National Teachers Corps, part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that helped to provide scholarships for teachers who agreed to spend two years working in economically disadvantaged communities in the U.S., training them to work in low income, inner-city and rural schools. Three years later, he also championed the Bilingual Education Act of 1968, which required schools to offer bilingual education programs.

 Another of his most lasting legacies for young voters is his amendment of the Voting Rights Act in 1970, which laid the groundwork for a constitutional amendment lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.

Kennedy was one of the key supporters of equal rights for female high school and college athletes under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which protected women from discrimination in educational institutions and increased opportunities for women to participate in college sports. In 1975, Kennedy was the original co-sponsor of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (later the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), which required free and appropriate education for children with disabilities in every state. He would also later sponsor legislation authorizing grants for early learning for infants and toddlers with disabilities and a child-care act for members of the military that is still considered one of the best child-care systems in the country.

Among his initiatives in the 1990s that impacted the lives of young Americans: the repeal of the ban on women serving as combat aviators in the armed services, an expansion of the early education Head Start program, a $500 million appropriation to expand the Summer Jobs for Youth Program and the establishment of the Direct Lending Program, which allowed the Department of Education to provide low-cost loans to college students to cover educational expenses.

The senator offered his crucial sponsorship to another important bill in 1993, helping to secure the passage of the National Community Service Trust Act, which created AmeriCorps, a program that offers educational grants for more than 75,000 students a year who agree to do volunteer service after college.

In one of his most controversial legislative initiatives, Kennedy worked with President Bush in 2001 to pass the No Child Left Behind educational act, an often-maligned bill that set standards for schools in an effort to close achievement gaps.

Long an advocate for an increase in the minimum wage — which affects many young workers — Kennedy finally succeeded in 2007 in passing the first increase in the federal minimum wage in more than a decade, from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. That year, he also worked on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which authorized the biggest increase in student aid since the G.I. Bill in 1944 and included a loan-forgiveness program that allows more college graduates to go into public service.

In one of his final efforts on behalf of young Americans, Kennedy co-sponsored the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, which expanded grants to low-income students, worked to reform the student loan marketplace, simplified the process of applying for federal financial aid and held colleges more accountable for their costs.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Check out The Southern Shift

Rap COINTELPRO XIII: MTV’s “Hip-Hop Cops: Is The NYPD At War With Hip-Hop?”

Cedric Muhammad

Cedric Muhammad

MTV should be commended for its recent look at something that we have been writing about for a couple of years – the surveillance of Hip-Hop artists by law enforcement. But the series doesn’t go far enough.

It has been a peculiarity, at least in our view, that the subject of law enforcement and Hip-Hop artists has been primarily reviewed from the prism of two major police departments – the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the New York Police Department (NYPD). Certainly there are logical and natural reasons for this. And for sure, any investigation of this subject should include those law enforcement officers and departments who have the most contact with artists at the local level. But the fact that the Notorious B.I.G.’s car was being followed by the FBI and ATF agents at the moment he was shot; the fact that the DEA was on the point of a major investigation of Rap-A-Lot Records and Hip-Hop legend Scarface (Read Our “Hip-Hop Fridays: Rap COINTELPRO Part IV: Congress Holds Hearings On DEA Rap-A-Lot Investigation”); the fact that the FBI and IRS were investigating Death Row Records at the height of the record label’s popularity and when Tupac Shakur was murdered; the fact that the FBI and IRS have been watching Puffy (P.Diddy) and Bad Boy Records’ business activities for at least 8 years; the fact that a government informant infiltrated the Wu-Tang Clan over two years ago and the ATF was offering convicts less time if they would implicate the group in gun-running (Read Our “Hip-Hop Fridays: Rap COINTELPRO Part II”); and the fact that federal law enforcement agencies are investigating the Murder Inc. record label right now and raided its offices recently should make it clear as to why we are not satisfied with any investigative report that makes the NYPD and/or the LAPD the end-all or be-all.

The problem isn’t MTV. They actually did a service and credible job exploring the context for how all of this mischief-making is possible and how the need for Hip-Hop-centered investigations is “plausible”, due to the cultural and socio-economic conditions and deleterious aspects of the Hip-Hop industry.

Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons

The problem is that for a variety of reasons activists, journalists, artists and executives can’t seem to accept the premise that what is happening is a continuation of COINTELPRO and not profiling or harassment. Many know that what is happening goes way above the power and influence of any local police department. But they are afraid to follow the trail all the way up. This was an important part of my recent conversation with Russell Simmons. Russell’s reticence in tackling the issue is understandable but until the Hip-Hop community learns the lessons of history and shakes its fear and state of denial, it is doomed to repeat the mistakes that others made before them in ignorance. Once the reality of RapCOINTELPRO is accepted for what it is then the appropriate political leaders can be pressured to hold hearings, write letters and obtain the files that would show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the United States Government, partly through the NYPD and LAPD is absolutely at war with Hip-Hop. And the rest of the members of civil society can confer on what actions should be taken. We have a lot of work to do in only a little bit of time.

The War on Street Gangs has been merged with a War On Drugs which has been merged with a War On Terrorism which will intensify with the war in Iraq. In all of this Hip-Hop will be framed as a primary force of sedition in America.

This is definitely one issue that separates the men and women from the boys and girls.

Cedric Muhammad
February 21, 2003

photo credit: Panther 1619

photo credit: Panther 1619

Here is the first portion of MTV’s report followed by a link to the subsequent portion(s) of the series:

One of the most hotly debated topics in the hip-hop world is the New York Police Department’s reported clampdown on the rap industry.

In the wake of high-profile investigations into the slaying of Jam Master Jay, the joint FBI-NYPD raids on the offices of Murder Inc., and the recent arrests of 50 Cent and Fabolous on weapons charges, the hip-hop community is abuzz with talk of an elite “hip-hop squad” or “rap task force” whose duties include tailing rappers’ vehicles and even monitoring their lyrics.

During a recent stint as a guest DJ on New York’s Hot 97, 50 Cent tauntingly shouted out the “hip-hop cops” that he claims follow him everywhere. But does such a task force targeting rappers really exist?

No, insists the NYPD.

“There is no such thing,” said Detective Walter Burns, a senior NYPD spokesperson. “We have no hip-hop task force, no hip-hop unit, no hip-hop patrol.”

Police point out that when they do create task forces, like the Terrorism Task Force or the Hate Crimes Task Force, one of their purposes is to let the public know they’re making an extra effort to stop crime. “If we did have a hip-hop task force,” another NYPD spokesperson said, “we wouldn’t deny it. We’d want to tell you that it exists.”

But many artists aren’t buying it.

“It’s definitely a task force,” Fat Joe said. “You go to hip-hop spots now and they ain’t just your normal walking-the-beat cops. There’s cops out there in undercover cars like they know something we don’t know. Like bin Laden’s in the club, B.”

“It’s just a thing where it’s targeting hip-hop,” Fabolous said. “I don’t think you should target something. If it’s a problem, you go handle the problem, that’s what cops are for. They are there to protect and serve. They’re not there to make a problem.”

Hip-hop Web sites liken the current situation to the once-secret FBI surveillance of African-American leaders and civil rights activists in the 1960s. Many rappers claim to have first-hand knowledge of the elite task force’s existence, and some say they’ve even seen confidential NYPD Intelligence Division documents containing information on rappers’ places of residence and vehicles.

“It’s called the Entertainment Task Force,” Keith Murray said. “They watch you as far as on the streets, and they watch you as far as monetary operations, taxes, who’s paying who what, where you getting money from. They got they scope on rappers right now.”

Pressed on his source for the existence of this task force, Murray said, “I’ve read numerous things on it and I’m seeing it come to fruition.”

The story of a hip-hop unit within the NYPD has been widely disseminated by major news organizations, and such reports have led to accusations of “rapper profiling” and civil rights infringement. But police spokespeople as well as other sources within the force say it’s simply not true. “We don’t target rappers,” Burns said. “The NYPD investigates crimes.”

Perhaps it’s a sense of self-mythologizing – all the Italian-gangster wannabes populating the ranks of the hip-hop game – that leads some rappers to feel they’re constantly under surveillance. Just how did they think law enforcement was going to react to artists who take on the surnames of crime kingpins like Gotti and Capone and Gambino?

Lieutenant Tony Mazziotti, a retired 28-year veteran who oversaw investigations of actual gangsters – major racketeers in the Gambino and Genovese crime families – said: “With the rappers, I think it’s this sense that, ‘Hey, we’re worthy of being investigated. That means we’re for real.’ ”

But what’s actually for real, one retired NYPD detective insists, is that there is a rap-related unit within the police force. What’s more, he said, he’s the cop who created it.

“I was the one who started the whole thing,” Derrick Parker revealed to MTV News. “The unit was created in ’98. … When Biggie was buried here in New York, there was a lot of concern, there were a lot of threats made. The chief [of the department] wanted me to run this entire investigation for him and to report to him.”

Parker said that for more than four years he gathered intelligence on the rap community, compiled files, went to nightclubs and interviewed rappers who were jammed up in criminal cases. Pressed on the exact name for the entity he created, Parker said, “It’s not called the hip-hop unit, it’s really just under Gang Intel.”…dex2.jhtml

Cedric Muhammad

Friday, February 21, 2003…asp?ID=810