Nearly a year has passed since the murder of George Floyd, whose life was senselessly taken by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Tuesday, May 25, marks the anniversary date of Floyd’s passing, and BET will engage audiences with three compelling original primetime news specials powered by its social impact initiative Content For Change. These primetime specials will feature a range of notable voices from the Black community who not only pay tribute to the life of George Floyd but reflect on society’s so-called racial reckoning. Has America made meaningful progress in the fight for racial justice and equality in the year since Floyd’ death? If not – what is the path forward? The three-night television event begins Tuesday, May 25 starting at 8 PM ET/PT on BET.
“In the year since we’ve lost George Floyd, we’ve all been tasked with examining difficult truths, while the Floyds and many other Black families have buried their loved ones. These tough times push our collective consciousness to challenge societal inequities and strive for safer futures,” said BET President Scott Mills. “A year later at BET, it is critical that we continuously join the effort honoring George Floyd’s life and building the world he deserved. Creating Content for Change is part of our contribution to the cooperative effort we all must make in the fight for accountability, justice and equity.”
In June 2020, BET launched Content for Change, an expansive campaign anchored in the principle that media plays a pivotal role in shaping and driving individuals’ and communities’ values, perceptions and actions. The groundbreaking initiative supports the creation of content that drives change needed to eliminate systemic racism and inequality in America, and its focus includes social justice, economic empowerment, education, civic engagement, health and wellness.
Through the social justice pillar of the initiative, BET has leveraged its platforms to provide quality and informative programming that focuses on key issues impacting our community.
“Bars and Ballads for George Floyd” will premiere on night one, Tuesday May 25 at 8 PM ET/PT, and will feature a powerful ensemble of musical and spoken word performances and commentary, including Oscar-winning composer Jon Batiste, Rap icon Nas, Ambassador Andrew Young, Grammy-award winning singer and activist Anthony Hamilton, Civil Rights leader and Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, actor Michael K. Williams, rapper/lecturer Bun B, rapper/activist Trae tha Truth and others, to pay tribute to George Floyd and the movement that exploded in reaction to his killing.
On night two, Wednesday May 26 at 8 PM ET/PT, we’ll premiere “Justice Now: Race & Reckoning,” hosted by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, features prominent voices in politics, law enforcement, corporate America, Hollywood and sports, such as Minnesota Attorney General KeithEllison, U.S. Representative Karen Bass, NBA Players Association Executive Director Michelle Roberts, NFL Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, and Academy-award winning director Travon Free, to address America’s racial reckoning and speak truth to those in power.
O’Brien will also host “Justice Now: The Way Forward,” closing out the three-night series on Thursday May 27 at 8 PM ET/PT. Featuring interviews with Philonise Floyd (George Floyd’s brother), U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney, New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole HannahJones, WNBA Owner and activist Renee Montgomery and others, this special examines the persistent barriers to change that have negatively impacted the Black community for generations and highlights meaningful solutions that can bring about true racial and economic justice in a “post-George Floyd” America.
“As our community demands accountability in the wake of the tragedies that occur entirely too often, BET will continue our frontline coverage that shines a light on those in positions to affect change. We will continue to use our platform in a way that makes it clear: that even as time passes, we will not be moved or discouraged. We will continue our charge forward in the fight for social justice,” said Jeanine Liburd, BET’s Chief Social Impact and Communications Officer.
For BET, Jason Samuels is the senior executive producer of these specials.