*BET has launched BET Studios with principal partners Kenya Barris (“Black-ish”), Rashida Jones (“Hot Girls Wanted”) and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (“S.W.A.T.”).
“The demand for premium content from Black creators has accelerated dramatically as a result of both the rapidly changing media and social landscapes,” said BET president Scott Mills in a statement, per Variety. “BET, with our 40-year legacy of celebrating Black culture, and the full power of the ViacomCBS ecosystem — is uniquely positioned to service this demand. As a company with its origin in Black entrepreneurship, we are incredibly excited to create the first major studio to provide Black creators with ownership, creative freedom and the unparalleled partnership and support of BET.”
Principal partners include Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas with Aisha Summers-Burke to lead as General Manager. https://t.co/ldhYuqt02R
— BET News (@BETNews) September 15, 2021
“BET Studios is an exciting and novel extension of the storied BET brand, and we have a structure well-suited to our times to bring top talent into this production company with real ownership,” added David Nevins, chief content officer of scripted originals at Paramount Plus and chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks.
Aisha Summers Burke, a former Warner Bros. Television executive, will helm BET Studios.
“BET has long been celebrated for excellence in producing quality programming that authentically depicts experiences lived within the Black community,” said Summers Burke. “With the launch of BET Studios, we are excited to introduce a new model that opens the aperture to a broad array of platforms and supports the full range of content from Black creators.’ This entrepreneurial environment offers creatives the opportunity to produce diverse high-end content reflecting all aspects of entertainment.”
“The investment being made by Scott, David Nevins, Bob Bakish and the ViacomCBS team into BET Studios is not only an investment in Black storytelling, it is also an investment in the culture,” Barris said in a statement. “And while individual success is great, being able to amplify and champion underrepresented storytellers has been equally exciting and this venture allowsthat to continue to be a key focus in this next chapter of my career.”
Said Jones, “There is such power in the creative talent that the principal partners bring to the table and BET Studios’ unique ability to tell Black stories at scale. This joining of forces is super exciting for me in the multitude of ways that people of color see themselves represented on screen.”
Added Thomas, “As a new venture, BET Studios offers an opportunity to expand the brand’s legacy of delivering Black stories. This is a chance to bring nuanced, layered narratives to life, partnering with a forward-thinking team, interested in surprising and engaging the audience.”