ph2007091501460.jpgMore than 500 people demonstrated peacefully outside the Northwest Washington home of Debra Lee, Black Entertainment Television’s chief executive, yesterday afternoon, demanding that the network stop airing what they call demeaning and offensive portrayals of African Americans. Led by the Rev. Delman L. Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, members of the Enough Is Enough Campaign said they will return every weekend until Lee addresses their grievances. Lee was not home yesterday but said in a telephone interview she was disappointed that several attempts last week to arrange a meeting with the group had failed. Also, in a letter, she said BET plans to launch 16 “balanced” shows by year’s end.

The campaign, which Coates began six weeks ago, is calling on corporations to divest from popular culture that portrays black men as “pimps” and “gangsters” and sexually objectifies black women. Joining protesters from Mount Ennon yesterday were members of the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the head of the National Congress of Black Women and Maryland Del. Justin D. Ross (D-Prince George’s). Several security guards blocked three gates around Lee’s home in the 2800 block of McGill Terrace NW, while protesters marched and chanted for nearly two hours. Traffic on the otherwise quiet street, tucked into a stately residential area of Woodley Park, seemed largely unaffected. Police watched the protesters, who had been granted a permit, from the sidelines.

In an Aug. 23 letter to Lee, Coates requested a meeting. Lee said yesterday that she did not receive the letter until last week, after she had learned about the protest through a news release. Lee said Coates was told that if he brought the protest to BET’s corporate headquarters in Northeast Washington, she would have spoken to him there. “I believe in freedom of speech, but if you really want to have an impact, the best way is to have a conversation — not to protest in front of someone’s house,” Lee said. “I’m always willing to talk to our viewers.” Coates, 34, said yesterday, “Her people made a meeting conditional upon canceling the rally at her house.”

In describing the campaign last week, he said he was “deeply concerned about the increasing coarseness of American popular culture. At some point, we have to ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave to our children.” Founded by African American businessman Robert Johnson 27 years ago, BET has an 18-to-34 demographic. It has long been criticized for airing music videos that some believe perpetuate negative stereotypes of blacks. The network, now owned by Viacom, has recently been attacked for such programs as “Hot Ghetto Mess,” which had its name changed to “We Got to Do Better” after complaints, and “Read a Book,” a satirical animated public-service announcement.

Source: The Washington Post

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  • Genevieve

    I do not watch BET anymore because I find alot of the shows are offensive. I am sick and tired of our own people portraying blacks in a negative light. If more positive was portrayed maybe there would not be so much black on black crime and hate towards one another. If each parent would take responsibility and tune out foolishness, like BET, the world would be a better place for our children. I am disgusted with Ms. Lee’s behavior, although protesting in front of her house won’t help. How about a national boycott of BET by everyone?

  • Enough Really Is Enough


    Rev. Delman Coates
    4215 Steeds Grant Way
    Fort Washington, MD 20744
    Mt. Ennon Baptist Church
    9832 Piscataway Road
    Clinton, MD 20735
    [email protected]
    Pastor Coates,

    In light of the dual position you have assumed as Pastor and Activist, I am compelled to write and share a few things from the perspective of someone who sits in your congregation weekly. I agree with you and believe that we certainly should hold fast to our morals and stand for what is right at all times, but your stance on having zero tolerance is not scriptural and is really a self-righteous perspective. You may say you are proclaiming zero tolerance for a depiction, belief or even an action – but your rallying is directed at a person. If God had zero tolerance for anything, you, I and many others would have been wiped off this planet long ago. Some of us have been so deep in foolishness until we would have been wiped off TWICE! God has ordered us to love and have compassion towards one another and win the lost – not have zero tolerance. You cannot flip the scriptures to accommodate and/or justify your vendetta, goals or desire to be the ‘kill hip hop’ poster child.

    The cancerous fanatical obsession that you now have for media conglomerates and leaders is beyond reason – and it is obvious that this matter exceeds a Pastoral concern or point of view. As a member of your church, we are uneasy of your leadership from the pulpit. It is sad that lately on Sundays you rattle off about RadioOne, the FCC and BET more than you do about G-O-D! What has happened??!! Anytime you can get caught up and start whooping in the pulpit as you talk about your meeting with the FCC, something has gone haywire and the wires need to be checked (listen to the attached file). Why not fuel this campaign with those that are like-minded? Why prostitute the church? It should be obvious that you are mixing oil with water when each Sunday you are preaching at a church that gathers 2,000 members a week – and then only 9 people follow you and show up to support your rally outside of BET’s Congressional Black Caucus Reception. Our church is (or was) a spring of living water, and now we are being used as fuel. I am hurt and just really ticked off at who we have become as a church. Before you joined us a few years ago, a legacy was put into building Mt Ennon. Now, all that we have worked for years to build up is being prostituted and we are in the public’s eye being hypocritic fools.

    I am not a Radio One, BET, Universal or Warner Music fan at all and I certainly am not a fan of Hip Hop or videos. I don’t support that, and if something is on that I don’t want to see, I turn the doggone channel! You don’t protest a restaurant that sells bad food to our society, or stores that sell suggestive clothing for our young girls to wear – no, you simply choose not to go there. So in this instance, why publicly attempt to stab your own people? You are basically trying to convince us into helping you say ‘Crucify Her!’ Furthermore, we are so out of order and you have crossed boundaries beyond measure by taking this matter to Debra Lee’s home! As a Christian African American Woman, I find this such a violation on the part of the Churhc. We have not been labeled successful or even effective in this whole rally process – we have only been labeled a professional and embarrasing annoyance! No prayer and extremely poor judgment went into planning these rallies. As a church, too many of us at Mt. Ennon are NOT going to sacrifice Saturday after Saturday to ridiculously march at someone’s residence. That time should be used to tutor children, enjoy quality family time, study God’s word, or even come up with a proposal to better our society. Instead we are wasting resources on buses, and money going to signs and T-shirts, and precious time that we cannot recover is wasted by going to a residence where probably no one is even home to hear the played out repetitive chants. Why drag an innocent congregation through this foolishness? We are kicking and screaming trying to tell you Enough Really Is Enough! You should either work the pulpit or give it up – and based on what we are seeing, you have given it up.

    Pastor, people come to church on Sunday because the Word is supposed to preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, set the captives free and release prisoners from darkness. You have about 45 minutes to deliver someone from despair and make someone’s life easier by giving them Jesus. You have about 45 minutes to keep someone from committing suicide, to help them make the right choices, to keep someone from getting a divorce, to keep someone from holding hate in their heart, to keep someone from giving up because they don’t know if God is really there. Instead, the 45 minutes you are allowed is abused and being used to try and religiously support and fuel a campaign. At the end of service, most Pastors ask their members to stand so that we may receive blessings in the benediction; but you have sent us out with your final words being “Go to and watch the ‘Read A Book’ video.’ Surely, the church, OUR church is in trouble.

    It is apparent that your focus is off from directing the sheep and it is obvious that there is a vendetta. What else would have you leave your family at night and parade for hours in front of a restaurant (that you are not invite into) with only 9 faithful foolish people to picket BET’s constructive and very successful reception for the Congressional Black Caucus? It is embarrassing and I believe in God’s eyes for some, even dangerous. I sure hope the rapture does not come while you and your few are outside hollering “Enough is Enough”

    Pastor, we know you are enjoying the press (hence you have a page on your site dedicated solely to nothing but you in the press), but somehow you failed to include the story from the Washington Post that blew the whistle and shed light on your involvement with the sketchy mismanagement and spending of funds from the National Harbor (Prince George’s County’s biggest project).

    At this point I believe you and Mt. Ennon owe Debra Lee, the woman, a big apology for the self righteousness displayed and the mockery we made as alleged Christians.


    Enough Really Is Enough!


    “Ms. L”

    A Mt. Ennon Congregant

  • Stop the hate