Cable Positive, the cable and telecommunications industry's AIDS-action
organization, announced Friday that it will jointly honor Black Entertainment
Television founder and CEO Robert L. Johnson and president and chief operating
officer Debra Lee with the organization's highest honor, the "Joel A. Berger
Memorial Award" for outstanding contribution to the fight against AIDS.
A dinner will be held in Johnson's and Lee's honor May 1 in New York.
Under their leadership, BET polled its viewers to see what social issues were
most important to them. AIDS and gun violence came back as the top two issues of
Based on their findings, BET launched "Rap-It-Up," a nationwide HIV/AIDS
awareness campaign for the African-American community. The campaign is committed
to educating urban populations about the epidemic.
"Bob Johnson and Debra Lee have earned this honor, and Cable Positive is
proud to be a partner with BET and Viacom [Inc.] in this effort," Cable Positive
president and CEO Steve Villano said in a release.
The award is named for Joel A. Berger, a Cable Positive honorary chair and
former group publisher of Multichannel News and Cablevision
magazine, who died of complications due to AIDS in 1995.