By Rashad Smith
Black Entertainment Television has created a special program that other networks should photocopy and fax throughout the businesses of entertainment mediums so that we can attempt to stop the disarray of negative behaviors, particularly in urban communities amongst young Black people through media influence.
It’s unfortunate that this program, Don’t Sleep, isn’t priority in the land of television business because the fears of not producing enough ratings as BET late night news show. The show originally began with a daily 30-minute slot on the network and after ample Facebook postings and tweets (and most likely, ratings and discussions amongst BET producers) about how the show is necessary in the Black community, BET decided to expand the time slot to one hour but problematically moving the show to only one day a week.
While I’m excited about the fact that a network created particularly for Black America is taking a stance and focusing on analyzing and potentially solving Black issues, I’m bothered because I feel the network is afraid to bring this program in with full-force.
Yes, I understand that a network focuses on providing viewers with programs that viewers simply want to watch; Like Wendy Williams, who I adore, but is filled with gossip and non-credible advice but somehow remains on-air daily for an hour with issues that are non-relevant when it comes to creating positive change in Black America. I like Wendy Williams and her witty approach but as we fight this battle of Black on Black crime, entertainment moguls in Black companies must understand that the issues at hand are more important than gossiping about which a-list celebrities are dining with their mistresses on Sunset Boulevard.
Of course I’m not advocating (not that it may matter at all anyways) taking action and protesting the Wendy Williams time slot and replace it with Don’t Sleep. I think Wendy is a fantastic journalist reporting it to the people sincere as possible. But, I do wish to continue to create hype about how entertainment companies, moguls, and entertainers should focus less on creating so much music, programming, etc. about big bottom females (censored version) and Open Gundham Style (YouTube Single Sensation) and put emphasis on community development and cultural enriching in a creative way.
Although BET has taken a monumental approach in highlighting Black issues, like the saying goes, “you can never satisfy black folk”, and for that reason alone, there’s nothing wrong with us wanting more when it comes to bettering US! Our people just have to step up with full force and take a stance for the things that will empower us as a people. Not just our people in entertainment, but people in general, every day people. We need to contribute to this stance by watching, tweeting, Facebook posting, Instagram-ing, and blogging about the show so ratings can increase and the shows presence will become the new normal. We must generate buzz about conversations relating to Black issues instead of imitating a curse you out episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta (one of my favorite shows) or Love & Hip Hop (in which I religiously tuned in).
While these shows are oh-so entertaining and are tweet worthy (you can usually find something about them on my time-lines), we have to diversify our eyes and reveal real issues to our brains and create strategies on how to assist towards eliminating issues by tuning in to shows like Don’t Sleep.
Seriously, I’m in love with the show and I’m hopeful that it will become the next best thing like BET’s Teen Summit from the 90’s. I’m sure if Honey-Boo Boo can make it, so can Don’t Sleep. We absolutely need this show and it should serve as the pilot for other mediums to produce quality programming as such so we can contribute to educating our people and attempting to eliminate our common community alarming statistics. There are a great amount of prominent figures on board with the show and wants this production to succeed. But are you on board, or are you sleeping on a potential resource that may contribute to abolishing negative statistics in Black America?
Take some time and make up your mind, don’t wait too long because it might be too late. And what ever you do, Don’t Sleep (in my T.J. Holmes Voice)!