“BET was created to give African Americans and lovers of black culture a place in the television landscape,” network CEO Debra Lee says
BET is responding to Fox News contributor Stacey Dash over her calls to bring an end to Black Entertainment Television, the NAACP Image awards and Black History Month.
“Over 35 years ago BET was created to give African Americans and lovers of black culture a place in the television landscape where they could consistently see themselves represented and celebrated,” BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra Lee said in a statement issued Wednesday.
“African American contributions to American culture are countless and we cannot and should not wait for anyone to acknowledge them — we have to do it ourselves and we are proud that we can do our part,” the statement continued, pointing to shows such as the BET Awards, BET Honors and Black Girls Rock as examples of ways the network has recognized black artists.
Dash made her controversial comments on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends” while addressing the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, saying BET Networks and Black History Month were counter to the integration of African Americans into society.
“We have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration, and if we don’t want segregation, then we have to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black,” she said.
“If it were the other way around, we’d be up in arms,” Dash continued. “It’s a double standard. There shouldn’t be a black history month. We’re Americans, period.”