Similar to Goldilocks’ felony of breaking and entering, COVID-19 has unwelcomingly entered the black community—and is not only shaking the table but our entire houses. Black Americans are being disproportionately affected by the health and financial devastations brought on by this virus and, accordingly, BET Networks is partnering with the United Way Worldwide, NAACP, and leaders in the African-American creative, civil rights and business communities to support African Americans who have been affected by this pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is savagely compounding the profound health and financial vulnerabilities many Black Americans face,” said Scott Mills, President of BET. A recent report found that 70% of people who have died from COVID-19 are black. Another report discovered that black Americans have made up almost half of Milwaukee County’s 945 cases and 81% of its 27 deaths. Given our lackluster healthcare and availability to resources, the financial and physical burdens are being felt the hardest in our communities.
Given these facts, BET has pledged to use its resources to provide much-needed educational and financial resources that’ll directly benefit African Americans. As a result of the network’s aforementioned partnerships, BET has established a COVID-19 relief fund with the United Way. According to a press release from the network, “the financial donations from this joint fund will allow United Way to disburse resources to local organizations under United Ways in New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit and Chicago, regions that have been most impacted by this crisis.”
Along with their relief fund, the network will provide a welcome break from the onslaught of Instagram Live broadcasts with the airing of the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special which will air April 22 at 8 PM ET. The televised special will be hosted by our favorite second-lead vocalists, Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Kelly Rowland, TV personality Terrence J, and actress Regina Hall. In an effort to help us all cope with our ongoing cabin fever, the broadcast will also feature virtual appearances and musical performances from some of our favorite acts in the music and entertainment industry who will not only entertain us but offer tools on how to deal with our current living situations. If you’re like me, any form of chicken soup for your stay-at-home soul would be greatly needed and appreciated, at this point.
And last but certainly not least, BET will be providing resources and content around COVID-19 across digital platforms, which will include a virtual town hall series in partnership with the NAACP. The virtual series plans to “keep it in the family,” and stream on NAACP.org. The town halls will provide steps that the community can take to build an action plan that will result in positive change.
Like Goldilocks, COVID-19 has made itself at home in our community. It has affected our food, sense of normalcy and our mortality. BET has taken note of this serious disease and is continuing its over-40-year tradition of being there for the black community. This disease is no joke, and we must do everything we can to educate ourselves on ways that will bring us out of this on the right side of history.