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Critics Press BET on ‘Hot Ghetto Mess’

7/15/2007 6:42 PM

TV critics were treated to a gospel brunch Sunday courtesy of Black Entertainment Television. A local gospel choir vocally uplifted TV critics as writers munched on a southern-style meal of fried fish, barbeque chicken, and mac and cheese. But by the end of the lunch, BET executives found themselves on the defensive while discussing one of its upcoming shows Hot Ghetto Mess.

Several Internet blogger sites such as WhatAboutOurDaughters.com have criticized BET for basing the half-hour, user-generated video clip show on a Web site of the same name that portrays negative and demeaning images of African-Americans. Despite the fact that the Hot Ghetto Mess doesn’t premiere on the network until July 25, at least two companies have already pulled their ads from the show, although the network would not name specific advertisers.  

Although BET did not address the issue during its lunch session, several critics bombarded BET Entertainment President Reggie Hudlin afterwards with questions about the show and whether the show’s content was appropriate to air on BET.

Hudlin admitted to Multichannel News that he was caught off guard by the “presumptuous” reactions from critics of the show, even though most of them have yet to see it.  

“I’m very anxious for the show to debut — every time we’ve shown it to an audience we’ve been encouraged by the fact that the people watching completely got it, and it encouraged discussion about the images of black people and what is considered negative or mean [spirited],” Hudlin said. “So if the show can do that in households all over America, it would be worth the effort.”