The controversy over the new Black Entertainment Television (BET) show, Hot Ghetto Mess (Premiere: Wed. July 25, 10:30 pm. EST), based on the popular website of the same name, began almost immediately after the network announced its mid-summer schedule. Hot Ghetto Mess was purported to feature videos of blacks doing outrageous things with the intention of shaming the viewing audience into changing its ways or avoiding the behavior all together.
In protest, Gina McCauley rallied the troops via her blog, What About Our Daughters?, asking them to voice their displeasure with BET and the show’s advertisers. Home Depot and State Farm Insurance relented and pulled their ads.
Two days prior the show’s premiere, the name was changed to We Got To Do Better. McCauley and her supporters were not satisfied with the change.
BET, if you didn’t get the memo, fat meat by any other name is still greasy.
And who can’t “do better”? We all have behaviors we can improve upon.
Well, the fateful premiere has come and gone. And I must admit, having viewed the show, it could have been a lot worse.
Host Charlie Murphy opens the broadcast by stating it’s “a show you don’t want your momma on.” And he states that after seeing the clips, “you’ll be less likely to replicate the behavior.”
The first segment was called, “Don’t Die with Your Music in You” and featured video clips of people “singing” badly. “A Hot Ghetto Mess Idol,” Murphy called it. After the segment ended, he informed the audience that “there are other professions other than entertainer or athlete.” Thanks Charlie. Didn’t know that.
Following the clips and interspersed throughout the show is a man on the street segment (“Street Walkin'”) in which pedestrians are asked questions like “How many blacks are on the Supreme Court?” A clear and not so clever rip-off of the very funny “Jaywalking” segments featured on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
And in an effort to be an equal opportunity offender, We Got To Do Better featured a segment called, “Stupid Is as Stupid Does”, spotlighting self-described “rednecks” exhibiting aberrant behavior such as placing a condom over one’s head and inflating it. I guess this segment is supposed to provide blacks with some level of “comfort” in knowing that it’s not “just us.”
All in all, We Got To Do Better (a.k.a. Hot Ghetto Mess) is a slow-paced, highly unimaginative show which is neither amusing nor highly offensive. It’s hard to imagine anyone being prompted to do anything after viewing it other than going to bed for the night.
If We Got To Do Better is supposed to be food for thought, it’s not even a light snack.