New York -- BET Movies/Starz!3 has put two documentaries on
its schedule, with plans to debut Melvin Van Peebles' award-winning Classified X
in November, and an original, Scandalize My Name, to premiere in February,
officials said last week.
Classified X, which explores how Hollywood has
stereotyped blacks and presented racist movie images of them for decades, will have its
U.S. premiere on BET Movies Nov. 13. The documentary, which debuted at this year's
Sundance Film Festival, will act as the cornerstone of a monthlong "Messages from
Melvin" salute. It won the best documentary award at the Urbanworld Film Festival
here in August.
At a press conference last week, Nina Henderson, vice
president of BET Movies, and Robert Leighton, senior vice president of programming for
Encore Media Group, also said the service was doing an original documentary, Scandalize
My Name, that will be hosted by actor Morgan Freeman.
Airing early next year, Scandalize My Name will
examine how "Red Scare" politics were used to block African-Americans from
becoming full participants in the political, social and cultural aspects of post-World War
II America. Harry Belafonte and Ossie Davis are among those who will appear and discuss
discrimination against blacks in early television.
During the session, Henderson said BET Movies, at its
creation in February 1997, made a commitment to produce original films and programming,
and it is now making good on that promise.
The network previously announced that it was doing a
made-for-TV movie, Funny Valentines, starring Freeman, Alfre Woodward, Loretta
Devine, Van Peebles and Hill Harper. It is slated to premiere in February.
And BET Movies, in association with Starz! Pictures, is
fully financing a theatrical, Living Jezebal, which will make its
premium-television premiere on BET Movies after its run in the movie theaters.