BET Bets Against Blacks
Last week, Cord Jefferson, a columnist for BET Network, wrote a response to my column "Free Condoms Now." He claimed I was wasting time giving out prophylactics and educating black people about safe sex. "The fact of the matter is that African-American young people don't necessarily need Uncle Luke to tell them they need to wear condoms, because many of them are already doing so," Jefferson wrote.
Jefferson cited a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that states 65 percent of black teenagers in America use condoms, while only 58 percent of Hispanic teens and 60 percent of white teens do so. Jefferson doesn't tell his readers that the same CDC study concluded that black teenagers use condoms less frequently now than they did ten years ago. Use by black teenagers increased by 22 percent from 1991 to 1999 and then fell by 4.7 percent from 1999 to 2011.
Jefferson's commentary is also hypocritical. BET has been sponsoring a program called "Rap It Up," the network's own safe-sex campaign, since 1998. Its partner in this endeavor is the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that in April released figures that show African-Americans account for more than half of HIV/AIDS cases.
Why isn't Jefferson telling his BET bosses to stop lecturing young black people about using condoms?
All of this isn't very surprising. Jefferson is just continuing BET's established tradition of showing me no love. The network has hated for more than 30 years. The only reason I appeared onstage at the 2012 BET Awards is because rapper French Montana, who sampled my song "I Wanna Rock" on his hit single "Pop That," insisted I be there.
I find it disturbing that Jefferson would rather bring me down than help my efforts to educate African-Americans about one of the many ills we face. Instead of focusing energy on supporting the African-American community, Jefferson and BET are wasting time by arguing a ridiculous point.
No one, particularly a young-buck writer shilling for page views, can question my community activism.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.