Sometimes, you have to do the right thing, and let the chips fall where they may fall! I’ve been meaning to share this post with you, but my day job got in the way!
Anyway, in my last post, I wrote some funny commentary why I was glad the BET Awards show was over –that is, the constant need to suck in my stomach and wear shapewear to look good in all of my dresses, posing next to twentysomethings! Read it, here. I’m happy to report that since the writing of the post, I’ve begun my workout regimen! A girl can only suck in so much! Plus, I’m eight months away from being the BIG 5-0, and I want to be fit and fine! But again, I digress.
Anyway, the dirty little secret that I didn’t tell you about the BET Awards was how the powers-that-be didn’t credential Black press to attend and cover the awards show. Yes, you heard that right: BET brass denied access to Black press to cover a show, whose demographics target Black people. Did I mention that the “B” in BET stands for “Black.” And yes, this is beyond cray cray!
What’s more unfortunate is that BET folks denied access to legendary photographer Bill Jones, who is considered the Rosa Parks of photojournalism in Black Hollywood. The man is more than 80 years old, and still covers all the red carpets in town. He’s been a historian, capturing and chronicling the important and historic moment of African American culture. Plus, he’s opened the door for a new generation of Black photographers to follow like my friends Arnold Turner and Malcolm Ali. Even more troubling about the situation was the fact that BET brass denied certain access and privileges to Black publicists and their clients!
Well, enough is enough. Let’s just say, I got wind of this, and wanted to put it on blast. So, I shared the story with journalist and columnist Tanya Young Williams of the Huffington Post, and she brought this situation to light. Here’s the story:
Of course, BET quickly responded, especially when the story appeared in the Huffington Post. Here’s the follow up story by Tanya Young Williams, including a quote from me:
Now, for me speaking out, I just may get blackballed from BET stuff altogether. Shoot, back in the day, I got fired from working with the pr team of the BET Awards because I “accidentally pissed off a BET executive.”
Since the story broke, I’ve gotten calls and messages from my colleagues, calling my outspokenness a courageous act, especially against a media giant like BET and Viacom. But, I’m not trying to pick a fight, just correct a wrong.
A couple of months ago, when sh*t hit the fan for me on a specific project (which will remain nameless until I write my book), award-winning actor Isaiah Washington and his wife stood up for me, and had my back. And I’ll be eternally and forever grateful for his support and confidence in my work.
This time, it was my turn to stand up for somebody else, and pay it forward. Sometimes, you just gotta do the right thing! xo
@WyllisaBennett I applaud your courage in speaking out! The Black press tends to be shut out of mainstream movie junkets as well.
— Film Fatale (@FilmFatale_NYC) August 12, 2014