In a recent interview, Sheila Johnson, who is the co-founder of BET along with her ex-husband Robert L. Johnson, was asked her thoughts on the cable channel she helped to create 30 years ago:
Don’t even get me started,I don’t watch it. I suggest to my kids that they don’t watch it… I’m ashamed of it, if you want to know the truth.
When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news… I had a show called Teen Summit, we had a large variety of programming, but the problem is that then the video revolution started up… And then something started happening, and I didn’t like it at all. And I remember during those days we would sit up and watch these videos and decide which ones were going on and which ones were not. We got a lot of backlash from recording artists…and we had to start showing them. I didn’t like the way women were being portrayed in these videos.
I just really wish—and not just BET but a lot of television programming—that they would stop lowering the bar so far just so they can get eyeballs to the screen. I know they think that’s what’s going to keep programming on the air; that’s what’s going to sell advertising. But there has got to be some responsibility. Somebody has got to take this over. Because with all the studies that are out there, this is contributing to an atmosphere of free sex, ‘I don’t have to protect myself anymore.
Present day, Sheila Johnson’s on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and chairs the board of governors of Parsons, The New School for Design. She is president and managing partner of the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball League, and also owns substantial stakes in the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals. The owner of several hotels and a PGA golf course, she is building a luxury spa and convention center on a 347-acre tract in horse country in Middleburg, Virginia, where she also has a farm and indulges her love of all things equestrian.(Source)