BET Networks CEO, Debra L. Lee Explains Pledge to ‘Tell Stories Differently’

Debra L. Lee, chairperson and CEO of Black Entertainment Television Networks, discussed her highly successful career in entertainment Monday in the Alice Statler Auditorium. Lee — who was named one of the 100 most powerful women in entertainment by  “The Hollywood Reporter,” addressed BET Networks’ unique position as a source of black entertainment. “We’re BET — we’re different, and we should do things that other networks won’t cover or won’t put on the air,” Lee said. “Covering stories that no one else does — whether it’s Katrina 10 Years Later: Through Hell in High Water, an O.J. [Simpson] story or a documentary on Muhammad Ali and how he influenced hip hop — is, for sure, part of BET’s mandate.”
Lee also mentioned Madiba — a six-part miniseries on the life of Nelson Mandela which will air later this year — as evidence of BET’s commitment to “telling stories differently.”
“It’s the first time a black director [Kevin Hooks] has told the story of Nelson Mandela,” she said. “That may make a difference compared to having white directors tell Mandela’s story.”
Lee broached recent criticisms of the entertainment industry for its lack of black entertainment.