40 Years of Black Excellence at BET

In January of 1980, Robert L. Johnson left his position at NCTA and, with his wife Sheila Johnson, launched the first TV network “that allowed Black people to see themselves, their stories, and their culture on television,” according to BET President Scott Mills. In the 40 years since its founding, BET has successfully stood as a leader in elevating Black voices and experiences, and inspiring generations of writers, actors, and creatives to tell their own stories. From awards shows like the BET Awards, to  community projects, from nationwide campaigns, to its latest initiative, “Content for Change,” which comes in the wake of the nationwide protests after the murder of George Floyd, BET has celebrated African American culture while also shining a light on the serious issues and challenges that the community faces in this country.

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