When BET’s new series The Quad premiered earlier this month, it received mixed reviews for trying to bring a fresh television perspective of the HBCU experience.
But many are apparently dissatisfied with the show’s depiction of HBCU campus life, including some of the esteemed presidents of these universities.
Hampton University’s president recently shared a stinging open letter stating that he found the depiction of HBCU life on the show ”more analogous to a disgruntled adolescent and unrealistic point of view that some may have.” He sent the three-page letter to BET’s Debra Lee, according to HBCU Digest.
“The Quad will lead many to believe that HBCUs exist because of their marching bands; that our presidents are unethical...” President William R. Harvey wrote, “...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 not standards of conduct or penalties for bad behavior.”
The Anika Noni Rose-led show follows the life of students and faculty at the fictitious Georgia A&M University. It is a show full of dramatics, where events like the University President, played by Rose, having an affair with one of her graduate students is not uncommon.
But Harvey is having none of it, saying that the show further perverts whatever knowledge people already have of today’s HBCUs.
“We cannot afford this kind of storytelling,” Harvey said about the Quad. “It amounts to the type of fake news that is prevalent today. You see, all that most people know about HBCUs is what they see on television.”
HBCU Digest also reports that several HBCU presidents are standing with Harvey, with some commending him for his ‘courageous’ and “eloquent” feedback.
'The Quad was created and executive produced by veteran TV producers Felicia D. Henderson, Charles Holland and Rob Hardy.
We’ll see what BET has to say.