From The Grio — According to the blogs, BET has been busy in the last two months banning videos by Teiarra Mari and Ciara and, this time, Ciara’s fans are fuming mad.

At the center of the current controversy is the video for Ciara’s current single “Ride” featuring Ludacris. Captured at various points in a revealing one piece swimsuit and a mink coat with heels on as well as on top of a mechanical bull in a wet t-shirt and super short jean shorts, Ciara looks far more sexually charged in “Ride” than at any point in her debut video “Goodies.” Back in 2004, she was crooning “lookin for the goodies/keep on lookin’ ’cause they stay in the jar.” Now, she’s proclaiming “he love the way I ride it.”

But artistic evolution or devolution, depending on your perspective, is not the primary issue. Instead, Ciara fans are asking about BET’s double standard, going as far as launching a “twitition”. “We have been recently notified that Ciara’s new Music Video ‘Ride’ is not being showed on B.E.T because it’s too sexual,” it reads. “Note that they play Trey Songz ‘Invented Sex’ [where he is having sex with a woman in the video] and Trey Songz ‘Neighbors Know My Name’ [Having sex with DIFFERENT woman]. I think that B.E.T is over analyzing this, or is just being disrespectful to Ciara. MTV and VH1 is playing ‘Ride’ and so are other stations. What are you B.E.T going to do about this because as a fan and Representative of Ciara you are being UNFAIR!” [sic]

The twitition raises a valid question but the bigger picture is even more complex. Yes, it is indeed problematic that male artists such as Trey Songz and Usher, whose “Lil Freak” video with rapper Nicki Minaj (who certainly patterns herself after Lil Kim and Trina) where he anticipates a ménage a trois, are seen on BET. Usher even dropped by 106 and Park and premiered “Lil Freak” there in March. In April, internet rumors surfaced that Teiarra Mari’s “Sponsor” was not on BET because the network had unofficially banned it.

Visually, Teiarra Mari’s “Sponsor” is very tame sexually. Mari is just seen racking up a lot of goodies but is never seen doing anything explicitly sexual to get them, although there are allusions that such rewards are not free. How this video differs greatly from last year’s hit “Throw It in the Bag” by Fabolous and The-Dream escapes most people. That song essentially says “ignore the price tags, just throw it in the bag.” And then there’s T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” which he even performed for the ladies on The View before going to jail, where he tells his girl “you can have whatever you like.”

All songs are drenched in materialism. The presumption is that getting with the right guy will get a girl every material possession she can envision. So, why is it okay for guys to promise that continually in their songs and, yet, not okay for girls to create songs also lauding that? In other words, if BET is going to be wrong, be all the way wrong. It can’t be okay for Usher to be in a club and have a woman solicit another woman for the both of them but not okay for Ciara to dance suggestively as she sings about “how I ride it.”

Now the solution to it all is for BET to back away from all these images regardless of who projects them. In March, BET actually gathered a group of women at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington DC for a two-day summit titled “Leading Women Defined.” Ebony‘s Harriette Cole, Essence‘s recently retired Miki Taylor and Brown University professor Tricia Rose were among those in attendance. According to the Washington Post, Debra Lee, who helms BET, now in its thirtieth year as a network, proclaimed that “I think black women really want to see themselves as professionals, as mothers, as daughters. We want the whole spectrum of our womanhood to be reflected.”

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • BET definitely is coming off as bullies pick on the less popular artists and the ones who are less likely to get a lot of run on VH1 and MTV. I am not sure about it being a sexism thing since BET is being run by Debra Lee and outside of Beyonce how man women singers have the weight to make BET back off while making risky music and videos. A beetr idea would be to compare banned videos to less popular male videos being showed on BET.

  • I’m saying

    I love this article! This magazine focuses on those interesting topics, i wish i could hear more of. As pertaining to this article, BET is a joke. They should just be fair, and play the video. These women are exploring topics historically “taboo” for women to discuss. I can appreciate both view points. I say do you, however you get it done. I mean, hey…

    • I’m saying

      Black men have been degrading black women for a long time. We all know black women are mother’s, independent, strong, business focused etc. If a black women wants to flaunt her sexuality why should she be denied? It’s not like BET is a saint of an organization, it has MAJOR “SINS”. How can they restrict these video’s from air time.

      They are letting black men profit. While black women suffer financially, career wise and are still degraded by negative images. Now, if children are their concern, that still is no excuse look at the messages male artist on BET are sending our youth?

      SMH at BET

  • Lucky

    BET is a subsidiary of Viacom, and who owns Viacom? Rupert Murdoch, the same guy who owns and controls Fox News. It looks like BET is a lost cause.