What's the difference between 19th century minstrel shows and today? These days, African-Americans are stereotyping themselves. You could say it all started when State Farm and The Home Depot both pulled ads from BET's website, according to The Hollywood Reporter, in an attempt to distance themselves from promotions of "Hot Ghetto Mess." Several critics were already up in arms about the show. But maybe it started in the late 17th century with blackface.
"I don't think the fact that it's coming from BET makes it right. I don't think the fact that these communities are sort of devouring themselves culturally is something we should be applauding," said nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Naverrette Jr. on a recent edition of NPR's "Barbershop: What's the Buzz?"
Even Bill O'Reilly joined the conversation. "It's degrading," he said. "There's nothing funny about it. It's not a freak show in the inner city. It's not." Don Imus hasn't released his statement on the show, yet.
Reginald Hudlin, president of entertainment at BET, said the show's core principals--encouraging discussion about the negative images of African-Americans in mainstream media--are the same as Bill Cosby's, or even Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's.
That's a stretch. Obana's campaign has said nothing about the show thus far and probably never will. Hey, pushing negative stereotypes sells. Just ask any rapper.