Backlash & Praise For BET ‘The Quad’ & HBCU Depiction 

I think we can all agree that BET has been giving us a lot of great vibes. Since the air of The New Edition movie, the network seemed to be getting back on the road to becoming a household favorite again. That was all going well until February when BET aired the first episode of its new drama ‘The Quad’.

I noticed a lot of backlash on twitter about the drama and wanted to see for myself what the hype was about so I took it upon my self to dedicate some time to critique it on my own.
The season opens with what looks like what is later to be revealed to be Georgia A&M University Spirit Week. Immediately after crowd shouts of a good time, it switches to a scene where a young man (Cedric) is arrested on rumored murder charges and a press release of the universities president “Queen Fletcher”. Moments later, we witness a scene where the president is approached and bribed with inappropriate photos of her daughter in efforts to “gain” a chance at her job.

With a plethora of events going on including affairs with students, inappropriate faculty relations and a variety of other things, a lot of HBCU’s have had their fair share of backlash about the show that some say sheds a negative light on these colleges and universities.

One person in particular who had the most to say about the show so far is Hampton University’s President Dr. William R. Harvey who penned this open letter to the shows creators:

“Devoid of any reference to academics, ‘The Quad’ is about a president who is promiscuous, trustees who are unwilling to deal with a rogue band director, and a band director who condones criminal activity on the part of his drum major… ‘The Quad’ will lead many to believe that HBCUs exist because of their marching bands; that our presidents are unethical; that our boards are dysfunctional and have misplaced priorities; that our faculty, students and administrators are driven by sex, alcohol, marijuana, low self-esteem, parties and a preoccupation with music; that it is acceptable to disrespect women; that university policy can be set by a band director; and that there are no standards of conduct or penalties for bad behavior. This depiction seems more analogous to a disgruntled, adolescent and unrealistic point of view that some may have. It also feeds a false narrative about the irrelevance of HBCUs.”

As a student of a HBCU, watching this sheds a lot of light on a lot of issues that happen at not just these predominately black schools, but ANY schools. This show so far has tackled issues such as rape and criminal activity that can take place anywhere. The backlash that surrounded the network from before the season opener seemed to drift away quickly once students began to take a deeper look to see that this show is a reflection of what happens under the radar of any university.

This show is also a fictional drama and isn’t reality, but for some of it may just be.
If you haven’t checked out The Quad so far, check it out on Wednesdays @ 10pm on BET.

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