In honor of Black History Month, Billboard asked esteemed hip-hop and R&B acts to scribe the meaning of being black in America in 2016 for a weekly series of personal essays. In the first installment, Texas-bred rap legend Bun B expands on his response to Stacey Dash’s controversial comments about getting rid of BET, the BET Awards, Black History Month and other platforms “where you’re only awarded if you’re black.” Let him explain below.
Recently I got into what some would describe as a difference of opinions with a black actress named Stacey Dash.
Stacey Dash co-starred in the movie Clueless as well as its TV show version. She also starred in a TV show on BET called The Game. Which makes the reason we disagreed even more outrageous.
She went on Fox News and spoke with Steve Doocy about the recent #OscarsSoWhite movement and the idea of boycotting the Oscars as brought forth by Jada Pinkett Smith. She posed the notion that black people not only don’t need channels like BET or award shows like the NAACP Image Awards, but that we should do away with Black History Month as well.
Now the hypocrisy about saying she didn’t think BET was necessary after having been gainfully employed by them or that the NAACP award ceremony should be done away with after having hosted their Theatre Awards was one thing. Saying we didn’t need Black History Month was a whole other beast entirely.
She had the audacity to say that these institutions and their ceremonies, as well as Black History Month itself, contributed to the segregation of black people in modern times. She has since tried to tie her words to a Morgan Freeman interview and throw him under the bus, but when his interview was played in full context, his views were different than the ones she posed on Fox.
Normally I wouldn’t get emotionally invested with the hyperbolic rhetoric that the talking heads over there tend to spew. But this was different.
Even Steve Doocy seemed to be taken aback by her comments. And that’s because even he knows the importance of Black History Month. Even he knows the importance of the NAACP. Even he knows the ugly history of racism and slavery and true segregation inflicted on black people in America. Even if he never says it, he knows.
But his shock wasn’t in those words being spoken. It was by who was saying them. A black woman. And that’s where my anger arose from. Because I refuse to believe that deep in her heart she truly feels that way.
I believe she is saying this because she thinks this is what the people she wants favor with believe. I believe she tried to belittle our institutions and ceremonies in order to position herself politically and professionally during an election year. It feels to me that after she stood on the shoulders of our forefathers to find success she looked down upon them with disgust and shame.
And that is why I spoke.
Because Black History Month isn’t just about black people honoring themselves. It’s about making sure that the accomplishments and contributions of some of our smartest and brightest minds are never forgotten by anyone.