Debra Lee Steps Down

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Debra L. Lee has stepped down from all of her roles at Black Entertainment Television (BET). The network had announced back in December that she would no longer serve as president. It was just announced that Lee will also resign as Chairman and CEO. 

“I have spent more than 20 years leading this incredible enterprise and I am so proud of the BET team and all that we have accomplished,” said Lee in a statement. “As I look to the future, I believe it is the right time to take a step back from day-to-day responsibilities at BET.”

Scott M. Mills has been tapped to take her place as President.

Mills has served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer at BET’s parent company, Viacom, since 2015, where he oversees human resources, real estate, and facilities and security. In his new role, he will be responsible for running overall strategy and all day-to-day operations, including oversight of programming, ad sales, and digital teams. He will also work closely with BET General Manager Michael Armstrong, who will report directly to him, and Lee, who will act as an advisor.

“BET has consistently produced exciting, thought-provoking content, shaping culture and conversation with African Americans and young audiences around the world. I am honored to work alongside Debi, Michael, and the incredible team at BET as we accelerate the network’s evolution across film, digital, and live experiences,” said Mills in a statement.

Betty Boop (Black?)

PBS has confirmed that Betty Boop, the popular cartoon character introduced to the world by cartoonist Max Fleischer in 1930, was actually inspired by a real-life African American jazz singer and entertainer from Harlem named Esther Jones.

Her stage name was “Baby Esther”, but unfortunately, when her character become the first and most famous sex symbol in animation… she was whitewashed with most people having no idea where the original inspiration came from.

Baby Esther had a popular cabaret act at the infamous Cotton Club in Harlem, New York where she sang with a unique vocal style that featured “boop-boop-a-doops” and other similar scat sounds. That very same style was heavily imitated by the Betty Boop animated character.

Initially, Betty Boop was shown in cartoons as an African American woman. She appeared in at least one animated scene in the popular Popeye The Sailor Man series. But soon after, she was transformed into a white woman and remained so until her character was finally retired. It’s estimated that the Betty Boop franchise generated millions of dollars in revenue from televison networks and sales of merchandise.

Meanwhile, the very woman who inspired the character, Baby Esther, was never compensated in any way. In fact, she never even really achieved mainstream success. During her entire career, she was mostly only known locally in the New York City area, and she reportedly died at a very young age.

She is, however, mentioned in many documentaries and books about the Harlem Renaissance, and her legendary way of singing does live on in the iconic Betty Boop character.

Racism at it’s best in America!

It’s such a shame and its so hurtful to see the mindset of the white diaspora when they come into contact with a person of color. Still today RACISM EXIST and stronger than ever. I can’t compare it to slavery or even to the struggles that led minority americans demand their freedom. I can only say what my people are going through right now and these video’s are a prime example. There needs to be a huge conversation going on worldwide and to all backgrounds because its getting worse and needs to be stopped.

Secondly changes within the judicial system must be eradicated. Change is a must. 

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Dies

South Africa’s state broadcaster says Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, prominent anti-apartheid activist and the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, has died. She was 81. Madikizela-Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 to 1996. Mandela was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage and Madikizela-Mandela’s own activism against the apartheid regime led to her being imprisoned for months and years under house arrest.