Sybrina Fulton, the mother of slain 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, is not keeping quiet about her displeasure with the executive decision to not air the final installment of the six-part docuseries Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, which was decided by BET. Instead, BET went on to air a re-run of the New Edition story to lead the audience into the much-anticipated Bobby Brown Story, which aired the following night.
On Labor Day, Sybrina Fulton took to Instagram to express her concerns, stating, “Just found out that #BET has made a programming decision not to air ‘Rest In Power’ tonight as scheduled #TrayvonMartin17 #RestInPowerTrayvon #YourMomWontGiveUp #ItsOnParmaountNetwork.” Since Fulton’s post, BET has faced a large amount of criticism from supporters and followers of Trayvon Martin’s family. On Monday, September 3rd at 10pm, Paramount Network aired the show which was produced by Jay-Z as scheduled.
The airing of the New Edition story was most likely executed upon the realization of poor scheduling done months ahead of the premiere of The Bobby Brown Story. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time to confirm the Trayvon Martin docuseries to air each Monday with the final episode capping off the Labor Day weekend when everyone is home resting in front of their television before the work week ahead, but that quickly changed when the Bobby Brown story won its bid to premiere on the following Tuesday. What is a TV exec to do when faced with having to choose between keeping the viewers conscious or entertained?
In this case, entertainment won by a landslide over showing the brutal truth of America’s failed justice system. When the New Edition story first premiered in January of 2017 with 4.2 million people tuning in, it was deemed the most watched BET premiere since the 2012 airing of The Game, which brought in 5.2 million viewers. It’s no wonder, BET attempted to grab that audience back. My hope is that there is some type of mending that can be done with Fulton and BET. I can see how she may have felt slighted and pushed aside as if her program was not relevant or needed. I think we all would have felt that way, but that is something that should be treated as if it were a true business partnership by addressing the matter with respect and in discrete.
I tend to think that airing out one’s personal or professional problematic matters over social media is not the most wise thing to do if you wish to keep a level of esteem within the tight circle of the entertainment industry. I can’t completely fault her for taking her issue with BET to her social media, as she is fairly new to this world and could have possibly gotten caught up in the madness of their sudden decision. From the outside looking in, the relationship between the two appeared to be the perfect marriage that we need to see involving the truth, education and a platform for black awareness.
With the final episode set to air Monday, September 10, 2018, I wonder if it’s enough to Keep Fulton happy and willing to work with BET moving forward or has her blunt way to show her disappointment in the network ruined any future plans that BET may have had involving her story. We can only wait and see how things unfold after this has blown over and the dusts settles.