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BET under microscope at lecture


By Kylee Dawson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
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A media arts professor will discuss Dave Chappelle, black culture in the media and Black Entertainment Television programming at the fourth installment of the Faculty Fellows Speakers Series tomorrow.

The lecture titled "And for the Girl Backstage, Never Mind Who You Thought I Was. I'm Rick James B***h!" was conceptualized by media arts professor and UA alumnus Beretta E. Smith-Shomade.

The purpose of the lecture is "to get people thinking about the ramifications of targeting specific groups in visual culture," Smith-Shomade said.

Smith-Shomade will also discuss target audiences, conceptions of blackness, the role of women and what can be expected of BET in the future, according to a press release.

The lecture's title is a quote from Comedy Central's, "Chappelle's Show," hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle.

"This one has an interesting title, so it resonates more with students since it comes from Dave Chappelle," said Magan Alfred, program coordinator for education and outreach for the Dean of Students Office.

The quote emerged when actor Charlie Murphy retold a story about his encounters with the late "Superfreak" singer Rick James.

Chappelle made the quote popular while impersonating James in a flashback scene on the show.

Even though Smith-Shomade said the skit plays a significant role in her lecture, she said she is not a fan of "Chapelle's Show."

"I don't think he is consistently funny," she said.

She said the title is "part of the surprise of the talk."

Smith-Shomade has taught at the UA for five years, but this is her first time as a Faculty Fellows speaker.

"I hope that the audience will look at targeted cable programming more critically and with a mind that asks, 'What's really going on here?'" Smith-Shomade said. "I hope also that it will make students, in particular, question their own sense of the popular and why it is so."

This is the first Faculty Fellows lecture to be given by a UA alumna, Alfred said.

Smith-Shomade's lecture, along with the rest of the Faculty Fellows Speaker Series, is sponsored by the Dean of Students Office, the Faculty Fellows Program, the UofA Bookstores and the Student Union Memorial Center.

Smith-Shomade's lecture will be in the Gallagher Theater in the Student Union Memorial Center from 12:05 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. Admission is free.



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