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Name: Adam Bernard
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Thongs and Songs: The Story of BET Uncut
Thursday, September 01, 2005

Black Jesus, The Wild Pair, Danoiz.... if you’ve heard of these artists you’re probably one of the many people up at 3 AM watching BET Uncut. Some may think having a video aired at 3 AM doesn’t help an artist in the least, but the artists tell a different story.

“Man, Uncut is like the best pub (publicity) in the world,” notes Black Jesus, whose video for “What That Thing Smell Like” has been in heavy rotation for an incredible nine months, “I get recognized now.” Step-1 of The Wild Pair has seen the same treatment, “People notice me now. They’re like ‘Oh I seen your video on Uncut last night!’” Swyss from Danoiz has seen his group’s latest single, “Freak of Nature,” blow up as result of it’s airings on Uncut, “(Now) we’re gettin played on K104 Dallas, a big urban station.” “It really helps,” adds King Dunn, a fellow member of Danoiz, who continued “we’ll take a BDS report, spins, and get instant props for that.”

Daniel “Digi” Ragland, VP of Dun Deal Records feels Uncut is a great way to break in, “Everybody’s up at night. People watch it then tell their friends about it for the next night.” Well, maybe not everybody, but according to the latest Nielsen Media Research ratings Uncut gets a .3 rating on a nightly basis, which equates to around 215,000 viewers a night. While that’s gruesome for a prime time show, it’s a lot for a show that’s aired when most are asleep.

BET started the program in September of 2000 to “give a showcase for a lot of artists’ videos that we couldn’t give regular airtimes to,” explains BET’s Director of Corporate Communications Robert Santwer. The reason for the later airings is the mature content of the videos. When BET gets a video it ends up first being seen by Kelly G, BET’s music director. Kelly G then decides where the video fits best. Black Jesus, however, already had an in at the network.

“John Deloney, the director of the ‘What That Thing Smell Like’ video, does work with BET, freelancing as a cameraman for 106 & Park. He shot the video and put it in the hands of the producers at BET,” explains Jesus, who is CO-CEO of Before and After Records with his cousin Johnny Dub, and who’s birth name really is Jesus. Swyss says Danoiz actually sought out Uncut as a way to get their video aired saying “We knew they were receptive to indie (independent) projects, and figured it might be a better avenue for us to go after.”

That avenue is one paved with, well, thongs and ass. Swyss feels there’s nothing wrong with that, though, noting “sex and music go together.” Swyss also points out, “Look at Eve, Lil’ Kim, the women themselves are doing it like that, it’s part of the game.”

The late airing of the show makes for very few complaints over content according to BET’s Santwer, “We haven’t gotten any flak. I haven’t seen any come my way and I do media relations for the music shows.”

Black Jesus still feels that despite being a strong believer in not censoring creativity, he himself has certain lines he wouldn’t cross, saying he wouldn’t do “real kinky stuff, certain things like that should not be put out for the public where a little kid can tune in.” Step-1 from The Wild Pair agrees that certain things just shouldn’t be aired because a few kids may still be up no matter what hour of the night. In fact, he knows the kids are up, noting “Kids love us. Kids recognize us the most.”

One of the dancers from the “What That Thing Smell Like” video who goes by the name Mystikal, feels that that the content on Uncut is “really not a big deal,” and will continue to do videos if given the opportunity. Tina, one of her fellow dancers from the video, however, disagrees, saying “I even asked Jesus ‘why in all your videos do you have to have a girl showin her ass?’” Tina’s boyfriend apparently wasn’t thrilled with the finished product. Tiffany, the actress in Danoiz’s “Freak of Nature” video sides with Mystikal on this topic, saying “It’s an everyday thing.” She, like Mystikal, would like to continue doing videos.

One important thing that should be noted about these women is that despite being scantily clad in videos, these are not just video hoes. Mystikal has a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University, Tina is a Certified Nurse’s Assistant currently in nursing school, and Tiffany is studying to be a CNA.

Even with the content the way it is, Uncut is still a launching pad for artists. Infared, from Danoiz, feels “Once you’re on BET, and you get radio spins, you never know where it’s gonna take you.” The Wild Pair’s Step-1 shares Infared’s confidence saying that whenever people approach him the first thing they say is “We saw the video,” this alone tells him good things come from having a video on Uncut.

While Santwer can’t name any one specific artist that’s blown up from the show, he is quick to note that videos like Khia’s “My Neck My Back,” most likely got their first spins on Uncut.

Jesus, who is quick to tell of the time Patti LaBelle was on 106 & Park and named “What That Thing Smell Like” as one of her favorite videos currently playing, feels “sky’s the limit now.”

Tits, ass, and some positive thinking; everything one needs for a night of Uncut.


This article originally ran in 2002 on Reactmag.com.

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