If you missed “The New Edition Story” on BET you missed an outstanding television biopic. Let me say it again…it was outstanding. From the casting, the performances and stellar acting from everyone involved, you can’t tell me this docu-drama isn’t Emmy worthy. Hats off to the writers. This biopic would be nothing without excellent writing and they really did their job.
For years, people have talked crap about BET programming and a lot of it was deserved. But over the years, BET has been steadily improving its slate of shows. For example, I loved “Rip The Runway” because it showcased black designers and models of all shapes. How about “Black Girls Rock“; which is a celebration of black women in movies, TV, the arts and community. Heck, if it weren’t for BET, I wouldn’t have experienced the dynamic duo of Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross doing a wonderful job hosting that show. Kevin Hart’s comedy/parody “The Real Husbands of Hollywood” is completely silly, hilarious and is killing it in the ratings. When it’s time for award shows BET is out there on the “Black Carpet” asking celebs that I want to see, “who are you wearing?” Though they don’t have a nightly news show anymore, Marc Lamont Hill provides timely information and anchors special news programming on hot button topics and subjects that interest the black community.
“Being Mary Jane” to me, is BET’s crown jewel. Starring Gabrielle Union, this show is a drama that gives viewers a glimpse into the life of fictional TV anchor, Mary Jane Paul. We see her family, friends, professional life and love interests. I love this show so much. Creators Mara Brock Aklil and Salim Akil have painted a vivid picture of Mary Jane Paul’s world. It’s so nice to see a drama that reflects black women in a contemporary way.
Even when shows don’t make it past one season, you gotta give BET credit for putting them out there. I enjoyed watching “Second Generation Wayans” and “Zoe Ever After” starring singer/actress Brandy Norwood. When “The Game” moved over from the WB network, I didn’t like the change from comedy to a dramedy but it generated historic ratings and revenue for the network.
Now that we’ve seen what BET did with the New Edition biopic, take a look at “The Quad” starring Anika Noni Rose and a very strong cast including Jazz Raycole who I remember was the original oldest daughter on Damon Wayans‘ show, “My Wife and Kids”. Lawrence Fishburne stars in “Madiba” which was very good, and I cannot wait to see John Singleton’s “Rebel” which premieres Tuesday, March 28th. The promos I saw throughout the three nights of the New Edition Story had me pumping my fist in the air. I haven’t been this excited about a cop show since “Get Christie Love” in the 70’s.
More and more, I have come to count on BET for proper tributes to black artists and persons of color. When Prince died, not only did they play his videos non stop for 3 days, The annual BET Awards featured the musical tribute we needed and Prince deserved. I’m also excited they are airing the American Black Film Festival awards on Feb 22nd where they will honor legend Denzel Washington, Director F. Gary Gray, Insecure’s Issa Rae, Empire’s Terrance Howard and many of today’s creative forces.
In an interview aired on Pandora’s Questlove Supreme channel, Stephen Hill, BET’s President of Programming divulged that BET has the entire Soul Train library and constantly look for ways to use the footage they have. Which is why their Valentine’s Day special featuring love songs from people who appeared on Soul Train over the years was fantastic. Special shout out to whomever got the idea to ask Erykah Badu to be the host of “The Soul Train Awards” two years in a row. She’s great!
BET ain’t playin wit y’all. Their original programming is good and I know there is more to come. I’m here for it.