Saturday 1st March celebrated the success of BET’s launch right here in the UK. The star studded red carpet event took place in the West End’s Café de Paris. Guests on the night included Musiq Soulchild, Jamelia, Lemar and Soulja Boy.
All props to the BET guest of honour, US soul songstress Alicia Keys – who gave up her only day off on her current UK tour to serenade us with her smash hits No One and Superwoman.
If you don’t already know, you can catch BET on channel 209 on the SKY satellite platform. The network will initially program current BET favorites like "106 & Park", "Sunday Best", "BET Honors" and "American Gangster" but will add more regionally specific content for the British diaspora in forthcoming months.
BET is set to expand its brand globally in much the same way as its sister company MTV, keeping the same format but tailor making content specific for the host country. So far the channel has been received well, offering black and ethnic minorities a different viewing experience.
BET already reaches over 87 million households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean and now will be accessible to a further 8.8 million homes in the United Kingdom.
Debra L. Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Networks said, "We’re thrilled to be able to bring high quality, Black cultural content to communities around the world and deliver on our commitment to expand the BET brand internationally”.
For over 27 years, BET Networks has provided entertainment to black audiences in America and are excited to establish the BET as a brand to the UK. Audiences will now be able to enjoy content that reflects the lifestyle and viewpoints of the Black experience which have never been explored in the UK.
We can also look forward to BET News specials, presented by Sharon Carpenter the first British news reporter ever to grace the network and expect to view conscious cultural shows including "Life and Death in Darfur: Jeff Johnson Reports" and "Hip-Hop Vs. America".
For the last two years BET has been building a presence among audiences in the United Kingdom, so show some love and tune into channel 209 on Sky and support the cause. The more ratings the faster we get the programming we deserve.
By: Jemma Capleton