I was on 65th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington when I started hearing chanting. Intrigued, I sought out the source and discovered a small group of protestors walking in a tight circle in front of one of the townhouses, just using some open parking spaces and not blocking traffic.
They were orderly and not particularly loud, but we doing an organized chant. I should have written them down as they changed it a couple of times during my short visit. (I do remember “BET doesn’t speak for me”, though.)
I was interested in the protest as they were uniformly Black protesters carrying signs about BET. It turned out that they were denouncing Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman who apparently lives nearby. In addition to owning such things as MTV, Dreamworks, Paramount, and more than a dozen other entertainment properties, Viacom owns Black Entertainment Television.
They were protesting the portrayal of Blacks on BET as showing derogatory images and sending negative images of Black Americans. They handed out literature that identified them as being sponsored by Shiloh Baptist Church and asking for support in generating legislation to set standards in music and videos to prevent such portrayals. In addition, they want to eliminate a lot of what I would call “basic cable” by generating opt-ins for cable purchases.
Apparently, they do this every Saturday in front of the guy’s home (it’s a pretty nice looking townhouse). Philippe wasn’t available for comment – or so I presume as I didn’t knock.