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BET 2024 Election Special Planned for Primetime June 4

BET 2024 Election Special Planned for Primetime June 4

BET is planning to shine a light on the upcoming presidential election, with what it hopes will be a series of primetime election specials.

The first of those specials, “What’s At Stake: 2024 Election Special,” will debut June 4 at 10 p.m., on BET, BET Her, and VH1.

The special will be hosted by BET correspondent Ed Gordon, and will feature a roundtable discussion with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), and Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), all members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“I think clearly it’s an interesting time for the nation,” Gordon tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “Not just for the Black electorate, but for all of us, this question of democracy and where we stand and so BET felted it doubly important to make sure that we got in front of giving the Black viewer in particular what is needed to think about to engage in this very important political time.”

Gordon says that the special will focus on issues of importance to Black voters, including the state of the economy and gun violence, among other topics.

“I mean, [Democratic strategist James] Carville hit it best when he said ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ and it seems to always be that way. As we always say, unfortunately, African Americans are always on the bottom rung of that,” Gordon says. “So that’s of huge import to African Americans. We took a look at the idea of the continued gun violence that plagues urban areas and too often to many African American communities, and we could dive into the Biden administration and the history of it in terms of their wanting to suggest that they have done quite a bit for the African American community, and it’s no secret that there’s been some skepticism by many black voters or some black voters, I should say.

“We think that this was one of those times that these representatives — I’ve known two of the three for a long time, covered them for some time — I think that they were very upfront and maybe a little less guarded than usual, this go round,” Gordon added.

He also acknowledged that while the three representatives featured in the special are all Democrats, he would be happy to host Republicans as well.

“Some people will say that those are three Democrats, and this has always been the case, I’ve found it’s very difficult to get Republicans to come on African American outlets, black or otherwise,” Gordon says. “And so we are not attempting to not give voice or opportunity to Republicans and the Republican Party, it’s just what they accept at that point.”

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For Gordon, the coverage also carries a lot of weight. A veteran journalist (he has been an anchor and correspondent for BET on and off since 1988, and has also worked for NBC News, CBS News, and NPR), Gordon says that, “I can say without question — and I think it’s a feeling that many people have — that the time we sit in now in this election is one that is going to shape this country, good or bad, for the next generation or two.”

“We see if Donald Trump wins the idea of what he’s telegraphing the idea of a Supreme Court that will be unabashedly conservative, we see the idea of it being okay to use some of the tactics that his administration used and he continues to tout,” Gordon says. “And I think it’s a reckoning for Democrats. It is a time that I think many African Americans are saying, ‘yeah, you know, it’s not enough just to show up at a church and sway with us to a gospel hymn that you may know or your advisers told you about,’ you know, in the case of Obama or even Clinton, they probably knew about them and to a lesser degree degree, Joe Biden, but African Americans are saying it’s got to be a bigger fix than we’ve seen if you want to continue to rely on our votes.

“You can’t just you know, [say] the rising tide lifts all boats. Well, there are many people in the African American community who are still waiting for their boat to lift,” Gordon adds. “And I think they see the idea that if in fact, the nation goes one way, those boats may stay mired in the sludge and underwater.”

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