Black Entertainment Television (BET for short) aired a ridiculous and racially-charged commercial last night during a show featuring Soledad O’Brien about Norfolk, Virginia housing projects and urban renewal. As if the main programming called “Disrupt and Dismantle” was not bad enough, the series of commercials targeting the viewers of the show were even worse.
One commercial, in particular, stood out among the rest. This is because the commercial was very shocking… but also very vague. The commercial featured grim statistics about the virus, police violence, and how the aforementioned things affect black people in the United States at a disproportionate rate. What the commercial did not clearly do is directly tell the viewer what product it was actually selling, and that took some digging to figure out.
There are plenty of commercials on television just like this. They start off with grim statistics that appear on the screen slowly, but surely. An ominous background musical track accompanies the bleak stats. There may be pictures or videos of people without smiles interspersed in the video between grim statistics. Then, at the very end, there is a brief period of time where a logo or some type of brand initiative is visible. The ending is what truly matters to the company purchasing the commercial. After all, it doesn’t really make sense for a company that makes money on selling products to pay for a fear-mongering PSA-style type of ad without selling anything.
At the end of the commercial in question that aired on BET, there was a brand initiative called “My Black Is Beautiful” or MBIB. One quick visit to the “MBIB” Twitter page shows that this is some sort of beauty and/or cosmetics company due to all the close-up pictures of made-up faces and unique hairstyles. In the bio section of MBIB’s Twitter page, there is a link to Sally Beauty. Sally Beauty is very well-known as a beauty supply store that sells products for women and men… and it is not black-owned. MBIB is simply a diversity initiative created to capitalize off of traumatic experiences in the black community to sell beauty supply store products.