Black Power: Why I’m Fed Up With BET Networks

  BET or Black Entertainment Television use to be a force to be reckoned with. Once owned by Bob Johnson, use to display positive and powerful programs like Video Soul with Donnie Simpson, BET NEWS, also one of my favorites that they need to bring back for this lost generation is Teen Summitt. A youth talk show geared toward giving African American teenagers an outlet to share their voices on topics that most concern them. 

Nowadays, BET shows a constant rerun of the same movies and nothing really positive for the African American audience it targets. Lately, the network has picked up the show The Westbrooks. Which from the commercials I’ve seen is just a black watered down version of The Khardasians.  Has our society gone so far into this social media game that we are praising young ladies for being popular on social media instead of being an intelligent and educated young woman. I suppose so with the term, “hoes be winning”. 

Come On, BET what happened to College Hill, Baldwin Hills and several other shows. I noticed the Book of Negroes, lasted not very long. 

Black People in power stop giving away your damn power for a measly buck! Johnson sold BET Network to Viacom some years ago. Just like Dr. Dre sold Beats by Dre to Apple. If black people weren’t so brainwashed perhaps we could do better. We will always be at the bottom of the totem pole for that reason alone. 

I just hope that for the ones with power we help take care of each other.  As for BET a non black owned station could careless about making positive images in the black community because they want to keep us ignorant and dumb. 

  Wake up black people! BET or VH1 don’t give a damn about black people. There was a time when VH1 wouldn’t even show blacks on their network. Now all you see are blacks.  Because they’re capitalizing off of our ignorance with shows like Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop. Shows that potray us as being over sexualized and catty to other black women. Men cheating on their women because one just isn’t enough.  We need to wake up to see the tricks being played here. 

Pick up a book instead of a remote sometimes.  

Black Stars On The Rise

By Jasmin Wells

Black Stars on the Rise

Entertainers are doing more than just rapping and singing nowadays. They have branched out to doing more amazing things everyday including branching out into Television. 

  Nicki Minaj, one of the only platinum selling female rapper’s, has been given the opportunity to star and produce in a series about her life with the television network ABC. After revealing the accomplishment via Twitter, the Barbie’s, aka Nicki’s followers and fans, went haywire with excitement. The pilot will be coming soon, which will also give fans the opportunity to learn a little more about the artist.

Snoop Dogg has been no rookie to reality Television. Snoop and his family have graced our screens, letting us into their everyday lives, while gaining a little more fan base. We learned that Snoop is a family man and has always put his family first. Now, Snoop is heading to the big screen to broadcast another accomplishment that he is passionate about. Snoop created a little league football team in 2005 and has been making an impact in the business ever since. Snoop has teamed up with AOL for an eight episode series as he travels with his team to document various games and other players.

Jay-Z has always been a mogul in the music business and hasn’t stopped yet, even after he’s supposed to retire, the star is still proving that he is someone to be reckoned with. With his title also comes rumors, and since Jay-Z keeps his life so secret, it isn’t hard to wonder what the star is up to behind closed doors. Rumor was that Jay-Z was down with Tidal, a high fidelity music streaming company, and what better way to crush rumors then to simply tweet. The star recently tweeted about Tidal hitting a million followers and how he was going to celebrate on the twentieth of October in Brooklyn, New York. All three artist prove everyday that they are more than just entertainers, but entrepreneurs that refuse to be ignored. Congratulations guys on your continued success.

Empire Reigns

By Randall Rydell Russell

empire cast

Television shows come on and get cancelled faster than you can say boo. The network Fox is

notorious for cancelling promising shows either due to low ratings or lack of substance. But Wednesday,

January 7, 2015, a program entitled Empire premiered to stellar ratings, outshining American Idol, one

of the networks best shows.


Empire, loosely based on the 1966 play and 1968 film The Lion in Winter, the story of King Henry

ll of England, his imprisoned wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three sons Richard, Geoffrey and John,

during Christmas time in the year 1183. A power struggle brews as King Henry deciding on which son

should take the throne when he dies.


Empire, takes those same themes and brings them into the modern world. The King in this story

is Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), a former thug and drug dealer who is now a hip hop mogul and CEO

of his own record company Empire Entertainment. Andre (Trai Byers), Lucious’ oldest son is the CFO of

the company, influenced by his wife Rhonda (Katie Doubleday), and yearns to take over the company for

himself. Jamal (Jussie Smollett), is Lucious’ middle son who is gay but hides it from the world, in fear that

it’ll backfire on him, but he has a raw musical talent as singer/songwriter/record producer that Lucious

doesn’t see, due to him being disappointed in Jamal’s sexual orientation. Hakeem (Bryshere Gray), is

Lucious’ youngest and favorite son who is a rising hip hop star who is influenced by women, alcohol and

money. Lucious ex-wife, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) who helped Lucious start the company seventeen

years prior, is released from prison after all the time, looking to get her half of the company back,

causing turmoil for Lucious, his partner and best friend Vernon (Malik Yoba) and Lucious’ new love

interest Anika (Grace Gealey). Lucious also discovers that he has ALS and must figure out who to leave in

charge of the company, Andre, Jamal or Hakeem, all while a friend from the past, opens up old wounds

that could jeopardize not only Lucious and his family, but the company Empire itself.


Empire, created by Lee Daniels (producer, director of Monster’s Ball, The Woodsman, Precious,

The Paperboy and The Butler) and Danny Strong, and original music by rapper/producer Timberland, this

program shows the highs and lows of the music industry, a traditional old school story brought to our

time, and the trials and tribulations of family while running a business. Gabourey Sidibe (Precious ) also

co stars with a large cast of upcoming performers including Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tasha Smith, Courtney

Love and Naomi Campbell are all set to appear.


For a black program on a major network, Empire is fighting to stay afloat on a network that

usually cancels if things don’t work. But from its series premiere opening to high numbers. Empire may

be here to stay.

CEO Jeff Clanagan Talks Success, Films & Being Black In Hollywood

Jeff Clanagan pic


By Randall Rydell Russell

It’s 11:55, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The funny thing about this is that I am almost two hours into my shift as the footwear lead at Sports Authority in Citrus Heights, and I am about to conduct an interview with Jeff Clanagan, if you don’t already know the name, he is the CEO of one of the best black film corporations in Hollywood, CodeBlack Entertainment, which includes feature film production, film distribution, worldwide DVD and digital assets distribution AND several TV shows in syndication.  This company was founded to change the way African Americans are treated in Hollywood.

Codeblack Films (CF), a division of leading global entertainment company LIONSGATE®, is a vertically integrated film production and distribution company focused on providing independent studios, filmmakers, globally-recognized celebrities, intellectual property rights holders and brands cross platform monetization solutions. Entertainment industry veteran Jeff Clanagan founded Codeblack Films in 2012.

Me being an aspiring filmmaker and screenwriter, I jumped on the chance to take the job of interviewing someone I aspire to be like now and in the future. Around 11:58, I grab my phone out of my locker at work, run to the office of my store manager, sit at her desk and call Jeff’s always nice assistant Candice Wilson, to patch me through to Jeff himself.

Young Urban Voices: How did the idea of CodeBlack Entertainment come about?

JEFF CLANAGAN: Based on the fact that black filmmakers are not present in Hollywood. There are no African Americans on the production end who have say. I wanted to be able to change that.

YUV: Did you first begin your career as a music producer?

JC: No. I used to promote music then spoke with some people and wanted to try my hand at film production.

YUV: How did you get started with your deal producing movies through Lionsgate?

JC: I had a few connections through some executive in the industry and pretty much did my homework and from there I continued to learn and use what I already know.

YUV: How are you able to stay on top in the film production world?

JC: It’s like this, you have to approach it from a business standpoint. You have to always be willing to upgrade. Silicon Valley is nothing but people always upgrading and creating. You have to look at it like that.

YUV: Do you feel like you have to work harder being an African American in Hollywood?

JC: Oh yeah. That’s always. You only get one chance when you are trying to get in an industry like this one. There aren’t any second or third chances.

YUV: What advice do you have for aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs following in your footsteps?

JC: You have to stay educated on technology, what’s hot. You have to understand and learn the business. I can’t stress that enough.

YUV: Why do you think your brand stands out above the rest and continues to succeed above expectations?

JC: You have to approach everything regardless if it’s a movie or TV or comedy show as a business. You have to really look around. You have to base what works in the market and go from there. You have to let personal opinions go.

YUV: With numerous TV shows, films such as “Civil Brand’ “Laugh at my Pain”, and projects bringing in 150 million in revenue, what do you consider your biggest accomplishment?

JC: Setting up the company first but putting the Kevin Hart movie out. That just really changed things.

YUV: How was teaming up with greats like Master P with No Limit Films, being President of Manderlay Urban Entertainment?

JC: You learn from every aspect. You learn what do and what not to do.

YUV: What are your future plans. Any future projects:

JC: I want to keep upgrading.   It really helps when you’re trying to do things beyond America. It’s when you have movies and DVD’s and shows being seen and bought internationally. That’s when word of mouth spreads and more of your stuff gets noticed.

YUV: What is the underlying message your brand has that has kept CBE targeting the sophisticated urban generation through it’s channels such as theatre, video and film?

JC: I want to develop for all platforms. Someone is always watching something, and I want to be able to be the one to entertain them.

Jeff also left me with some advice and to continue making my short films until something gets noticed and go from there. After that 15 minutes is up, I have to leave the office and go back on the floor and continue selling shoes, but  I‘m left with the fact that I interviewed someone who makes me want to aspire to be better and never stop pursuing film and all of it’s avenues. Codeblack.

You can find out more about the many projects Codeblack Entertainment has produced at the following website