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Change.org Petitioner Abandons “Stephen Hill: BET Awards: Stop hiding African BET Award Winners Backstage!” Petition

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Happy New Week! May God grant the desires of your hearts and bless your hustles. Ami, ami, ami. (Amen).

I received the note below from the young Ghanaian lady, Abbie Agyekum, who started the BET Awards petition to have BET treat our artists with the respect they deserve. Her petition was one of many advocacy tools I discussed for bringing BET Awards’ attention to our artists who have been ignored the past three years.

The petitioner now has a change of heart and has chosen to delete her petition. I, needless to say, hold a different position and do not feel statements she received was enough grounds to delete this petition. But, as a wise woman once said to me, “you always have a right to change your mind.” The lady here felt the need to do so and has. For the benefit of persons that I directed to the petition, it only make sense I share the basis for her cancellation below.

Read it below.

Cheers,
Uduak
@uduaklaw

____

Hello everyone,

I got a particularly important response to one of my emails.

It was a very detailed response from someone who helped bring African artistes to the attention of the BET and helped start the African act category, so her response was very important to me.
She explained how nicely the African artistes are treated -a weekend of celebrations and being honoured – even better than how the domestic nominees may be treated. She also explained that they were not awarded backstage but rather at a special breakfast in their honour.

She was upset that so much effort and planning had gone into the show but we had only chosen to focus on this part. She asked us to keep in mind that it was a(n) (imperfect) process and we have to keep in mind that Viacom, which owns BET, is focused on respecting their domestic schedules and ratings.

After I heard from her I decided to take the petition down. I’m not doing this because I have lost my nerve or think this issue is no longer relevant. Honestly, I am still disappointed that African artistes are still not considered marketable enough to appear on the big stage (that’s not what she said, but that’s what it boils down to, isn’t it?).

Now I am convinced that this isn’t something the BET should be petitioned to do. And if they change things, I want it to be something they HAD to do, out of commercial necessity and not ‘pity’ or social pressure.

Let me explain: They deal with ratings, so their actions can only be a response to demands by their viewers – mostly young African Americans. For that to happen, African artistes need more exposure, till they can command ratings similar to that of ‘mainstream’ artistes.
So I don’t think even a petition can change their view, because the ratings must translate into the ringing of cash registers.

So the task is bigger than a petition, it’s promoting African artistes until they cannot be ignored and must be exhibited.

Try that on for size. Promote them as much as you can, and then some more.
All the best!!! And when you see them perform on the BET stage one day soon, you can be proud that they earned the spot because they were in demand all over the US and not because it was given to them as a handout.

Good luck. we need it x

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AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website and podcast show empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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6 Comments

  1. Abbie says:

    I didn’t let this go because I thought her reason was good enough, I deleted the petition because I felt that petitioning them would not be an overwhelmingly strong reason to provoke a change.

    The only thing such corporations understand are money and numbers – so it is up to us African consumers to get it right and throw but so much weight [and money] behind our artistes that they cannot be ignored or treated badly.

    It’s entails a lot more work than a petition. I’m a lawyer, I can write letters all day but the answer – I think – is less of a quick fix. What do you think?

    1. A petition is a strong start and depending on how much momentum it garners, can make change. It also shows there is strong backing, publicly, for your position.

  2. Abbie says:

    I agree. But I’m not sure the public mindset is there yet…at the point of action. I think it’s still at the point of ‘merely complaining’, if that makes sense. There is still a lot of awareness that needs to be created…education, if you like…and that is what I think makes sustainable change. Not flash-in-the-pan indignation about something.

    1. I agree. I’ve been in talks and continue to with decision makers in that space. As we all collectively push I believe that will change.

      Thanks for taking the initiative.

  3. Abbie says:

    Cheers to collective pushing!

    I wish you/us all the best.

    1. 🙂 *Raises glass* Cheers,

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