A Brazilian BET?

By The News Jun 18, 2007

"Stung by racism, Brazilian entertainer launches TV, network", McClatchy newspaper reported. But the man is struggling to keep his more progressive and Brazilian version of BET alive:

A look of raw hurt filled Jose de Paula Neto’s eyes as he talked about the pain of growing up black in Brazil. First came the sad childhood selling candy to support his poor family, then his mother’s death when he was 11 years old. He spent his teens raising his siblings alone and married at age 15. Fast forward two decades later, after he had overcome the odds and became a successful singer and TV personality. He was leaving a fancy restaurant, where he’d just received an award, when a white man mistook him for a valet and handed him a set of car keys. "`I’m waiting for my car, too,’ I told him. After I got into my car, I cried; I couldn’t hold it back."

One doesn’t have to travel far to find these type of stories. But in Brazil, the idea that Afro-Brazilians would need or want their own TV station is a distant region of understanding.

His many critics have accused him of aggravating the country’s racial divisions by focusing on black audiences. The row over TV da Gente may have cost de Paula his long-running variety show on the Record network, canceled last summer. "Television shouldn’t be for whites or for blacks," said Ali Kamel, executive director of news for the media giant Globo’s broadcasting wing. "If in a country like this he can’t find success, it shows there is no interest in a black channel." Such skepticism has haunted the channel since its start.