My TiVo knows me so well. I’d heard all the hoopla over Nelly’s video for ‘Tip Drill’ a week or so ago but I hadn’t seen the video. I meant to set the TiVo to record ‘BET Uncut’ but it slipped my mind. Well today while eating breakfast I noticed that my TiVo went ahead and recorded it as one of my suggested recordings. (gotta love how TiVo is always working…) I got a bonus of seeing Ludacris’ ‘Booty Poppin’ (apparently the real name of the song is ‘Pussy Poppin… hmmm…) as well. If you haven’t seen either of the videos I’ll describe them for you — One part strip club, one part (soft) porn flick and an extra pinch of strip club for good measure.
Now I’m probably the last mofo to turn away from some ish like that but I couldn’t help but think about all the kids, especially young girls, that are seeing these videos. I can only imagine how many young girls are learning that clapping their a$$es for a bunch of men is a great way to get paid. Not to mention the jacked up messages the boys are getting. But my biggest gripe is with BET though. They have all these disclaimers during the show about how it’s not for people under 17 and the show’s on really late at night. That’s all well and good, but what about VCRs and PVRs? Surely they don’t think that kids aren’t recording the show to view at their leisure. It’s a damn shame that these are being shown on basic cable. Pay-per-view would be more appropriate. This is just the latest in a long string of disservices to the Black community by BET. I used to think there was hope for them, but not any more.
This article does a great job of discussing the issue – Really Wild Videos Come Out at Night. I’ll archive it below for posterity.
NEW YORK (AP) — Given all the barely clad women that are booty-shaking, grinding and gyrating on BET during the day, it’s hard to believe things could get any wilder after dark.
But as the rap group Whodini once rhymed, “the freaks come out at night.” And on BET — already criticized for showing hip-hop videos with a high nudity quotient — the clips become even more graphic during the wee morning hours on “BET Uncut.”
While outright nudity is blurred out, the videos still contain enough sexual content to make R. Kelly blush. There’s Ludacris’ “Booty Poppin’ ” video, featuring close-ups of jiggling posteriors as women take it all off in a strip club. And in Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video, women shake so wildly that bikini bottoms pop off, and a posse of leering men grab various body parts. Later, the women simulate sex acts with themselves.
“Everybody’s doing them. I think it’s a helluva promotional tool,” said Luther “Luke” Campbell of 2 Live Crew fame, widely considered the godfather of scandalous music videos.
Sex has long been part of hip-hop. Campbell’s early ’90s videos had bikinied women doing the butt-jiggle back when “dirty dancing” was still considered shocking. Tupac Shakur’s “How Do You Want It” video in 1996 featured real porn stars (although they didn’t have sex on camera). And these days, everyone from Snoop Dogg to Lil’ Jon to G-Unit’s Lloyd Banks are promoting videos that are actually X-rated.
Before, artists were mostly making sexually oriented material for the underground market — providing them to strip clubs, or selling them as part of videos or DVDs. Now, they’re bringing them directly to television, through places like “BET Uncut” and the Playboy network. And more outlets are growing for those who want to see more — or less — than a bikini.
“It’s almost like the other videos are like foreplay and the uncut videos are the act themselves,” says video director Nzingha Stewart, a woman who has directed clips for artists ranging from ODB to Common to Joss Stone.
‘It’s kind of like soft porn’
Snoop Dogg has hosted several videos, and is now part of the Playboy Channel’s “Buckwild” hip-hop show.
Explicit videos aren’t exclusive to rap. There were topless women on Motley Crue’s 1987 video “Girls, Girls, Girls,” which was recently featured on an uncensored rock videos DVD from Interscope. Madonna’s “Erotica” video from 1992 featured the singer completely naked, obscured only by strategically placed black bars. (MTV played it, but only in the early morning hours.)
But the videos on “BET’s Uncut” make Madonna seem as tame as Clay Aiken.
They typically feature full-figured black women dirty dancing at a frenetic pace. Close-ups are reserved not for faces, but for voluptuous posteriors. In Nelly’s video, he swipes a credit card between a women’s buttocks.
Even Big Boi of OutKast — an avid strip-clubber who had a stripper pole built into his house — has been taken aback by some of the content.
“Some of it is getting really distasteful — it’s like giving it a bad taste, it’s really exploiting women,” he says. “What they’re doing now it’s kind of like soft porn. I saw some (stuff) the other day. … I didn’t even know they could do that on TV.”
The show started in September 2000, and airs Wednesday through Friday at 3 a.m. Eastern time.
Stephen Hill, a senior vice president for BET, said “Uncut” is for adult eyes only — a disclaimer runs before the naughty videos air. “Any kid up at 3 o’clock in the morning, their biggest problem is not BET,” he said.
That doesn’t take TiVo and VCRs into account, but Hill insists that “nothing that we run on ‘Uncut’ is not seen in prime-time television.”
Indeed, There is plenty of blurred nudity on regular television today, from CBS’ “Survivor” to MTV, which has even shown naked couples licking whipped cream off each other. Typically, though, such content is not usually presented in such a raw fashion.
“BET just gets more of a rap for it because critics focus more of their attention on BET,” Hill says.
But Stewart complains that uncensored videos promote negative stereotypes.
“I don’t think there should be necessarily be censorship of the images of women, but it’s an extremely one-sided look at women. There’s no other images to counteract it,” she says. “I can’t tell you the last video I saw where a black woman had a job, and that’s really more our experience than black women being strippers.”
And after sex, prayer
More is on the way — the Playboy network started their “Buckwild” show this year and plans to start a block of hip-hop programming called “H.Y.P.E” later this year, as a precursor for a network of the same name. (Universal Music Group was reported to be starting its own uncensored music video network, but a spokeswoman called that premature.)
Artists have made videos for sexually explicit songs for years. Why are the videos finally catching up?
“People want more. The sex is definitely in the music, and sex is in all aspects in the music,” says Campbell.
Whether we’ll ever see Britney Spears “Uncut” is doubtful. But BET’s channel already has fans among the mainstream set.
R&B hitmaker Usher, who counts himself as a viewer, says he might even consider doing one — but only if its “tastefully done.”
Still, he admits it’s a guilty pleasure: “You’re kind of in the wrong for even watching it.”
“Then what’s crazy about it, after it’s off, the inspiration of the day comes on,”