BET: College Hill Has gone too Damn Far!!!

It is bad enough that in 2007, we have main stream America underestimating, undervaluing and marginalizing black people, but it is far worse when you have your own people doing it to you.  I applaud the alumni association at the University of the Virgin Islands for taking a stand against College Hill.

As a graduate of a Historically Black College and University, I am outraged that BET aka: Bootleg Entertainment Television, would create a show about the black college experience and film nothing but negative images and stereotypes, without even the thought of giving little or no positive balance!!  Especially at a time when HBCU enrollment is on decline and with the stereotype or perception that HBCUs are not as good main stream schools.

I not only blame BET, but I blame Tracey Edmunds (The producer of the show and former wife of Babyface), Viacom, and the Presidents of the Universities who allowed BET to film this show without monitoring whats’s being presented.  Now after much backlash, the President of the University of the Virgin Islands and the Presidents from the other 3 HBCUs profiled on the show are now taking a stand:

In addition to the full-page advertisements, Ragster has taken steps to prevent other universities from being presented as UVI has been. In conjunction with presidents from previous universities where “College Hill” was set, JoAnn Haysbert of Langston University and Eddie N. Moore Jr. of Virginia State University, Ragster is seeking a meeting with Viacom executives to discuss how African-Americans are portrayed in the media. Viacom owns BET.

They should have thought about this before they signed the damn contract.  I bet that if BET or MTV approached George Washington University, Georgetown University or Duke University about a reality show, they would have turned down the offer.  The image of a University can make or break you.  So why in the hell would thePresidents at these HBCUs take the risk of damamging their schools reputation.  I am sure that parents that have seen episodes of College Hill are having second thoughts about sending their children to any of the schools profiled on College Hill.  These are great institutions which have now been somewhat tarnished, because of a foolish decision.  In the case at the University of The Virgin Islands, the President  did not inform University board about the show being tapped there.  The board found out after the President signed the contract!!!!   

At a time when black children, especially black boys are at the low end of the statistics in comparison to females for not finishing high school. at the low end of the list when it comes to going to college but not graduating, you would think that BET a network for black people, would attempt to take the high road and show an aspect of black college life that young black children could watch and be inspired to attend college and especially an HBCU.  Instead my expectations were set way to high for BET.

I am not saying that they can’t show the partying, but balance it with showing the students going to class and learning.  I remember season 1, which was filmed at Southern University. One of the participants who’s father is the Dean of the School of Business at Southern, had the nick-name “no draws” and she had no problem with it!!!  After the first season I told myself that I would never watch it again.

With this season being in the Virgin Islands, a lot of drama took place; including cultural conflicts between the American students and the Virgin Islands students.  In the recent episode a fight broke out between two female castmates in which one student threw a stiletto heeled shoe at another student, has caused the show to receive some of its highest ratings.

Indeed, the network’s April 17 episode of its original reality series College Hill set a network series ratings record with a 1.7 household rating, according to BET officials.

This is cultural conditioning at its best: when your own people underestimate, undervalue and marginalize you in order to get ratings. 

I am sure that the majority of producers, assistants and other staff on this show attended colleges and more importantly black colleges.  They know the uphill battle that  HBCUs have had in proving that they are not inadequate institutions, but examples of higher learning complexes which have graduated hundreds of thousands of students who have contributed to society at large.  College Hill does not reflect true and full college experience at HBCUs and if the show continues, needs to provide more balance.


19 Responses

  1. This show had the perfect opportunity to be a real life “A Different World,” but it chose to go in the complete opposite direction. Nothing but dreck, trash and utter shame.

    And BET also equals “Blacks Embarrassing Themselves.”

  2. Golden Silence:

    You are on point. They a perfect chance to finally show a positive aspect of our culture, and had the chance to comabt the neagitve false stereotype about HBCUs, but they chose ratings over their own people…..

  3. I have never watch the show can you give me an example of some of the baffonish behavior your talking about. The No Draws business is just bad taste and reflects bad on black people as a whole.

  4. Mark:

    Man there were so many examples. Always focusing on sex, drinking, baby mamma drama, the list goes on. I am not saying that they can’t show these things, because we all know that you do party in College, but there needs to be more balance, show them going to class more. They also need to pick students who will best represent the University, versus who is the most likely to bring drama.

  5. “They also need to pick students who will best represent the University, versus who is the most likely to bring drama.”

    mark bey: Sounds like baffoonery to me, also these shows and entertainment need to F–king stop showing promiscious sexual content. Also if they are serious about uplift of our people then they need to show students who party and study hard.

    P.S did you get my email yesterday?

  6. I meant to say

    mark bey: Sounds like baffoonery to me, also these black shows and entertainers need to F–king stop showing promiscious sexual content without at least talking about the beauty of parenthood or using protection. Also if they are serious about uplift of our people then they need to show students who party and study hard.

    P.S did you get my email yesterday?

  7. I’d like to see an post about your opinions on the whole “baby mama” phenomenon. Let me be clear — I don’t seek to blame anyone, in particular children, for situations they are born into. I’d just like to here what you think about it. As someone who isn’t a member of the black community, it seems like the whole baby mama/daddy thing is a huge problem. It seems like it will be hard to really improve conditions if family units are not more solid and stable than that.

  8. I guess my previous post didn’t take. I had posted a note saying that BET still shows Robert Tilton’s “Success in Life” show. I’m sure he pays for the air-time, but that show is really the sleaziest televangelist shake-down ever, and it doesn’t bode well that BET shows it. I think it shows a lack of respect for their audience.

  9. I’m glad to have come across your post because I had never heard of any action or discussion from any of the Universities about the poorly planned and irresponsible representation of black college students on College Hill.

    I tend to argue that BET wants to share MTV’s market and that ‘College Hill’ is a prime example of its poor imitation of ‘The Real World’ specifically. In either case, I’ll admit as that youth’ll be youth.

    But my problem, particularly in the case of ‘College Hill’ is less about the students and more about the grown folks who sanction and sign off on such bad behavior–from Tracey Edmunds to Presidents Haysbert and Moore.

    They had an opportunity to showcase the greatness we have on our campuses and instead they’ve pretty much sold their children to the wolves for the benefit of a little bit of cash and some short-lived and none-too-positive recognition. (At VSU–College Hill ’06’s cast made for a really active spring tour season and higher enrollment).

    As far I’m concerned, pretending to take offense and meet with “executives” now is just some late-a** “let-me-make-it-look-good” type mess.

    Sorry for writing a whole ‘nother article on the matter.

    Suffice it to say, I appreciated your post!

  10. Wow. I haven’t watched BET in over a year now so I forget that this hot mess is still on. The last episode of “College Hill” I saw was one where they were at Langston. In comparison to the behavior of the folks on “The Real World”, I thought the “College Hill” behavior was pretty tame. But, I’m sure BET is trying it’s best to up the sleaze factor. What a shame and I’m sure folks are just seeing dollar signs, not anything else.

  11. I hate the show and I haven’t been impressed with any of the episodes. Just another way to gain ratings off the stereotypes of our people. Sex, fighting, sex, fighting…and what is the purpose of this show? And who is stepping in to help these young men and women on the show? We do not know any of their majors, their goals, about the campus or anything positive. I think there should be a major effort to get this show off the air. Trash, Trash, Trash!

  12. In Denver, Colorado there are 8,000 black male gang members with less than a high school education. Just think if they were at a HBCU and attemtpting to graduate and dispel negative stereotypes and impact the world with positives….Can BET show tutoring and mentoring of students trying to stay in school and the effects of no discipline? Trying to compete with non black students from Asia and India! That is drama.
    The rest of the world is moving ahead and the US black population is diminishing to prisons and invisiblitity. The BS degree is equal to high school. There are college degreed people making change in 7-Elevens. You need computer skills to check baggage at the curb. Wake up courageous black people. By the way there are 4 major Hispanic television Networks. There are no black television networks. There is one black cable network, Bet and it marginalizes the black population. Wake up.

  13. I’m a little confused, how is this any different than The Real World, where it doesnt matter what color you are, just that Drama is Drama. Who is focusing on the black stereo types here? The average viewer, or you looking for a reason to be offended, just because you think you must project a positive image ALL THE TIME. Black, White, Asian, Latin, we all have positive and negative things, and i can appriciate the feeling of needing to cast a better example on TV, but i honestly dont think that has to do with Race.

  14. Just a White Kid:
    If we lived in a perfect world, I would agreewith your statement. But reality is this: in this country, we have been conditioned to underestmiate, undervalue and marginalize black people. I know it is hard for some white people to understand this but it is true.

    I am glad that you realize that there is good and bad in all races, that’s how it should be, but unfortunatly, there are others who fall into cultural conditioning and automatically and create and perpetuate racial stereotypes. Also you must understand that if you comapre the number of positive images on telelvision of white and black people, you will find that there are not many for black people.

    and far as MTV is concerned, many of us in the black community have been concerned with the Real World since its inception for this very same reason. For the most part, the majority of black cast memebers on the show (not all but most) have been the sterotypical black man: angry, loud, always getting into trouble and out of control.

    Myself and others who agree with me do not look for a reason to be offended, because we see adn experience how some people in main stream America think about us on a daily bases. You may not see it because you may not be apart of the problem or think that way some people in main stream America thinks and reacts to black people on a daily basis, based o nwhat they see on television.

    Also keep in mind my friend, that there are some white people who live in this country who have never had any interaction with black people due to location and base their opinions on what they see on telelvsion. You may thin kthis is crazy, but it is true.

    You asked how this is different from the Real World? I explained that in my post. As a graduate of Historically Black College/University, there are all ready negative stereotypes about these institutions; people thinking that they are substandard in education and not as good as main stream Universities. Some employers won’t even give a person’s resume a second look if they don’t see a main stream top 10 University on there let alone a Black school. I know this may be new info for you, or you may still feel I am way off, but its real my friend. Thanks for responding

  15. horrible,horrible horrible!

  16. As a graduate of an HBCU, I know that this is not acceptable behavior on college campuses. In other words this is not the norm. Unfortunately, it represents these situations as truth. BET has always been irresponsible in its programming. I had always hoped that one day it would enlighten, inspire and empower. maybe we will have to wait four hundred years for that.

  17. BET knows nothing about black life and that white man Philippe Dauman who run that Network,tell them Boot Lickers Debra Lee and Reginald Hudlin what to air that’s black life in his racist white eyes.College Hill is a huge embarrassment to all HBCU’s.

  18. BET showed it like it is here…SAT scores average 700, it’s just highschool classes for college credit…real embarrassing for Blacks. I decided it was a joke after only 2 months. I do not see how they ever got accredited for college credit.

  19. As a student of college in this day and age, College Hill is exactly like it is no changes. I have come in contact with all of the things happening on this show and i am only in my second year. BET is showing it just like it is and In the season 5 of Atlanta they have students who are not in a HBCU. The university of west Georgia and Georgia State are not all black schools. I go to the university of west ga and i see the same types of events going on here just as anywhere else. BET is not lying when they show u the show and they just don’t put emphasis on the school stuff because the audience isn’t parents it’s students. We know that there is school but that is a small factor to the social life. Yeah there are classes but your social life controls most of your college experience and BET is not showing anything not true. I”ve actually seen worse. The Real World isn’t no better so it isn’t a race thing cause i’m black and i watch real world and see the same stuff.

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