[FoRK] AP Wire 'outs' BET Uncut

Rohit Khare Rohit at ICS.uci.edu
Mon Apr 12 16:48:32 PDT 2004


[Dammit!! I hope this doesn't get them pulled -- because it's the 
staple of a fine midnight gym rat routine> It's inspiration for the 
treadmill, even if the programming afterwards isn't :-) -- RK]

Really wild videos come out at night

'BET Uncut' just one source of rapidly racier content
Monday, April 12, 2004 Posted: 3:03 PM EDT (1903 GMT)

Nelly's "Tip Drill" video features bottomless women and simulated sex 
acts.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Given all the barely clad women that are 
booty-shaking, grinding and gyrating on BET during the day, it's hard 
to believe things could get any wilder after dark.

But as the rap group Whodini once rhymed, "the freaks come out at 
night." And on BET -- already criticized for showing hip-hop videos 
with a high nudity quotient -- the clips become even more graphic 
during the wee morning hours on "BET Uncut."

While outright nudity is blurred out, the videos still contain enough 
sexual content to make R. Kelly blush. There's Ludacris' "Booty Poppin' 
" video, featuring close-ups of jiggling posteriors as women take it 
all off in a strip club. And in Nelly's "Tip Drill" video, women shake 
so wildly that bikini bottoms pop off, and a posse of leering men grab 
various body parts. Later, the women simulate sex acts with themselves.

"Everybody's doing them. I think it's a helluva promotional tool," said 
Luther "Luke" Campbell of 2 Live Crew fame, widely considered the 
godfather of scandalous music videos.

Sex has long been part of hip-hop. Campbell's early '90s videos had 
bikinied women doing the butt-jiggle back when "dirty dancing" was 
still considered shocking. Tupac Shakur's "How Do You Want It" video in 
1996 featured real porn stars (although they didn't have sex on 
camera). And these days, everyone from Snoop Dogg to Lil' Jon to 
G-Unit's Lloyd Banks are promoting videos that are actually X-rated.

Before, artists were mostly making sexually oriented material for the 
underground market -- providing them to strip clubs, or selling them as 
part of videos or DVDs. Now, they're bringing them directly to 
television, through places like "BET Uncut" and the Playboy network. 
And more outlets are growing for those who want to see more -- or less 
-- than a bikini.

"It's almost like the other videos are like foreplay and the uncut 
videos are the act themselves," says video director Nzingha Stewart, a 
woman who has directed clips for artists ranging from ODB to Common to 
Joss Stone.

'It's kind of like soft porn'

Snoop Dogg has hosted several videos, and is now part of the Playboy 
Channel's "Buckwild" hip-hop show.
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Explicit videos aren't exclusive to rap. There were topless women on 
Motley Crue's 1987 video "Girls, Girls, Girls," which was recently 
featured on an uncensored rock videos DVD from Interscope. Madonna's 
"Erotica" video from 1992 featured the singer completely naked, 
obscured only by strategically placed black bars. (MTV played it, but 
only in the early morning hours.)

But the videos on "BET's Uncut" make Madonna seem as tame as Clay Aiken.

They typically feature full-figured black women dirty dancing at a 
frenetic pace. Close-ups are reserved not for faces, but for voluptuous 
posteriors. In Nelly's video, he swipes a credit card between a women's 
buttocks.

Even Big Boi of OutKast -- an avid strip-clubber who had a stripper 
pole built into his house -- has been taken aback by some of the 
content.

"Some of it is getting really distasteful -- it's like giving it a bad 
taste, it's really exploiting women," he says. "What they're doing now 
it's kind of like soft porn. I saw some (stuff) the other day. ... I 
didn't even know they could do that on TV."

The show started in September 2000, and airs Wednesday through Friday 
at 3 a.m. Eastern time.

Stephen Hill, a senior vice president for BET, said "Uncut" is for 
adult eyes only -- a disclaimer runs before the naughty videos air. 
"Any kid up at 3 o'clock in the morning, their biggest problem is not 
BET," he said.

That doesn't take TiVo and VCRs into account, but Hill insists that 
"nothing that we run on 'Uncut' is not seen in prime-time television."

Indeed, There is plenty of blurred nudity on regular television today, 
from CBS' "Survivor" to MTV, which has even shown naked couples licking 
whipped cream off each other. Typically, though, such content is not 
usually presented in such a raw fashion.

"BET just gets more of a rap for it because critics focus more of their 
attention on BET," Hill says.

But Stewart complains that uncensored videos promote negative 
stereotypes.

"I don't think there should be necessarily be censorship of the images 
of women, but it's an extremely one-sided look at women. There's no 
other images to counteract it," she says. "I can't tell you the last 
video I saw where a black woman had a job, and that's really more our 
experience than black women being strippers."

And after sex, prayer

More is on the way -- the Playboy network started their "Buckwild" show 
this year and plans to start a block of hip-hop programming called 
"H.Y.P.E" later this year, as a precursor for a network of the same 
name. (Universal Music Group was reported to be starting its own 
uncensored music video network, but a spokeswoman called that 
premature.)

Artists have made videos for sexually explicit songs for years. Why are 
the videos finally catching up?

"People want more. The sex is definitely in the music, and sex is in 
all aspects in the music," says Campbell.

Whether we'll ever see Britney Spears "Uncut" is doubtful. But BET's 
channel already has fans among the mainstream set.

R&B hitmaker Usher, who counts himself as a viewer, says he might even 
consider doing one -- but only if its "tastefully done."

Still, he admits it's a guilty pleasure: "You're kind of in the wrong 
for even watching it."

"Then what's crazy about it, after it's off, the inspiration of the day 
comes on," he says, referring to the BET's block of religious 
programming, which starts at 4 a.m.

"I guess you've got to get 'prayed up' after watching it," he laughed.


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