BET CEO Debra Lee Is First Woman to Win Recording Academy Industry Icon Award—And She “Won’t Be the Last”

Who brought music industry legends Joni Mitchell, Clive Davis, Neil Diamond, Quincy Jones, Britney Spears, Stevie Wonder, Russell Simmons; rising stars such as Chance the Rapper and Lorde; Apple CEO Tim Cook; Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas; and a slew of Kardashians to the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, Feb. 11?

BET CEO Debra L. Lee.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 12: (L-R) Debra Lee and Stephen Hill attend BET's Pre-Grammy Brunch at The Four Seasons Hotel on February 12, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 12: (L-R) Debra Lee and Stephen Hill attend BET’s Pre-Grammy Brunch at The Four Seasons Hotel on February 12, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)

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BET Leads With 5 of 10 Viacom Execs Named to Cablefax’s Most Powerful Women in Cable List

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

“You have women in these pages who have made it their mission to lift others up,” wrote Cablefax editor Amy Maclean in their November issue, which was dedicated to the most powerful women in cable. “Women who are pioneering technological innovation. Women who are shrewd negotiators. Women who are speaking up in boardrooms. Who knows… maybe one of the Most powerful Women in Cable will someday be elected to the most powerful office in the land.”

We are proud to note that 10 of those women – and three of the top 50 – work for Viacom. That half of these get-things-done executives come from BET, including CEO Debra Lee, is unsurprising, given that network’s reputation for recruiting women to direct some of its most important programs. Earlier this week, Essence wrote a salute to the outsized impact that black women show runners – including Being Mary Jane’s Erica Shelton Kodish – were having on the television landscape.

BET is hardly alone in celebrating women. CMT, whose senior vice president of operations, Suzanne Norman, made the list, recently launched its annual Next Women of Country to showcase the best new talent in a genre that remains male-dominated. Viacom hosts a resource group open to all employees that is committed to championing women’s interests, and the company regularly partners with organizations such as Safe Horizon and Joyful Heart Foundation that assist women in need and promote women’s rights.

Underscoring the diversity that powers Viacom, many of these women also appeared on Cablefax’s recent list of top minority executives: Lee, BET CMO and marketing executive vice president Vicky Free, and BET programming executive vice president Zola Mashariki. Two other BET executives – Maureen Guthman and Connie Orlando – made the adjacent “Influentials” list.

We congratulate these dedicated women and thank them for their tremendous contributions to Viacom’s ongoing success. Click through below to see why Cablefax chose each of these individuals as industry standouts.

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Viacom Congratulates Cablefax’s Top Minority Executives

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

When Cablefax: The Magazine turned its September issue over to acknowledge top minority executives in video and broadband, we were not surprised to see Viacom well represented. Our brands have long prided themselves on diversity, from behind-the-camera talent to programming to our board of directors. Such strong representation on Cablefax’s list is encouraging as we work toward an ever more diverse media and entertainment landscape.

“[The individuals included on these lists] are leaders in all facets of the industry – and what they have to say, which sometimes includes criticisms of cable’s diversity status – are all important pieces of the conversation,” writes the magazine’s editorial director, Amy Maclean.

Cablefax divided their honors up into several categories, and Viacom executives landed on two of them – Leaders and Influentials. A brief overview of each list, along with the names of our honored employees, is below. Viacom congratulates the individuals in each category and thanks them for their vital contributions to our success.

The Leaders  

From Cablefax: “Our salute to the industry’s top 100 minority executives”:

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Give Back & Get Down Benefits Literacy & Education

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom
GBGD 2015

(L to R): Marva Smalls, EVP of Global Inclusion Strategy at Viacom, MTV2’s Desus Nice (Guy Code), Pop star Alessia Cara (“Here”), Viacom’s President and CEO Philippe Dauman, MTV2’s The Kid Mero (Guy Code), and BET Networks CEO Debra Lee. (Photo: JenniferLGonzeles.com)

With the season of giving in full swing, Viacom’s Office of Global Inclusion and its Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) joined forces for the 6th annual Give Back & Get Down event at our Times Square headquarters. This gift giving initiative focused on education and improving literacy – encouraging employees from all corners of our New York offices to volunteer and donate books. Viacom employees and Nickelodeon in partnership with Random House collected 15,000 books for literacy organizations including: The Pajama Program, Books Through Bars, The Chris Canty Foundation, Literacy Inc. (LINC) and Jumpstart. Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman thanked the hundreds in attendance for their collaborative support and ushered in a celebratory, acoustic performance by pop star Alessia Cara singing her hit song “Here”.

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Another BET Experience: When the Fan Becomes the Intern

So, you’ve been obsessed with BET Networks for as long as you can remember. You are one of the “real fans” who recalls watching reruns of Rap City, and loving every minute of AJ and Free hosting 106 & Park. Every year, you anxiously anticipate the thrill and excitement of the annual BET Awards and BET Experience.

This was me: a die-hard BET fan. I wondered what an internship with one of my favorite television networks would be like. In lieu of how difficult it is to land a Viacom internship, I expected to become an integrated member of the team whose work positively impacts the network. I wanted to work with people who care about who I am, and not just what I could do for them. Ultimately, I expected to be constantly challenged, as that is how I produce my best work.

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Stevie Wonder Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to the UN

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom

 

Stevie Wonder Performs at the United Nations

Stevie Wonder Performs at the United Nations

It’s not every day that the legendary singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and activist we all know as Stevie Wonder performs a three-hour tribute concert for your birthday. UN Messenger of Peace Stevie Wonder did just that in October at the United Nations Day Concert presented by BET. The concert will premiere on Centric this Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. and on BET on March 3 at 11a.m. ET/PT with special performances by Sting, Wyclef Jean, Doug E. Fresh, Estelle, Janelle Monae, Bebe Winans, Jasmine Cruz, Stephanie Mills, Valerie Simpson, and the WonderGirls.

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