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.