Paige Johnson

BET co-founder Bob Johnson is basking in the glow of his daughter’s nuptials. Paige Johnson, daughter of Bob and his wife Sheila, wed Dudley Payne III in the Bahamas May 4. Bob, who’s considered the first Black American billionaire, was thrilled to walk his daughter down the aisle and welcome his son-in-law into their wealthy clan.

Johnson told the Washington Post Payne is the perfect man for his daughter.

“He’s a true gentleman,” Johnson said, citing Payne’s decision to request his permission before proposing to Paige. Though this is problematic within itself since it places a man’s approval above the will of a woman, Johnson is being bombarded with criticism for seeking more for his daughter than he does for the women of color viewing the network he founded.

Christelyn Karazin, founder of Beyond Black and White, sees Johnson’s paradoxical perspective as ironic. She writes:

This is the ultimate irony. Bob Johnson, co-founder of BET, a vehicle that has single-handedly tarnished the name of black American women all over the world, wants a “gentleman” for his daughter. Funny, because he’s made his fortune convincing black women that thugs, drug dealers, and gold teeth should be the standard of sexiness and allure for us mere-mortal regular black chicks.

Though I disagree with Karazin’s premise that BET’s peddling of specific depictions of Blackness impact our ability to decipher reality from fictional imagery, she raises an excellent point.

I’ve said this before on other issues but it bears repeating like a broken record on a Victrola: Be careful of those who advocate a lifestyle on others that they would never desire for themselves. Do you think Jay-Z is going to want his precious little Blue Ivy gallivanting with the progeny of his homeboys?  Doubt it.

The perpetuation of an image should have no bearing on how we choose to operate in our lives. Class privilege makes a difference in how imagery impacts our lives. Johnson and his wife are billionaires and their daughter is a champion equestrian, so what she was exposed to is much different than the average Black girl. However, all Black girls deserve the best, no matter our background.

Karazin alludes to this with her closing graf.

I just wish that every little black girl was cherished and protected and married off to a “perfect guy for her,” not just the daughters of rich men who are responsible for advocating a lifestyle that grants the exact opposite to “ordinary” black girls.

Chime in Clutchettes. Does Bob Johnson have a responsibility to promote positive images for all Black women?

  • Ashley.

    So. Much. Reach. Here.

  • Anthony

    What else was Johnson to do other than compliment his son-in-law? I get the criticism of BET or even the criticism that rich black folks are forever marrying their money off into white hands, but at the end of the day, it’s his money, and his daughter’s life.

    Other folks don’t get to make their choices.

  • Cia

    Come on!! It was his daughter’s wedding day! I get BET should do a bit better with their programming ( not really sure what is on these days-no cable) but he was talking about his daughter. Leave them alone.

  • i yam

    seriously, a nonissue to me.

    i just think she married down. an insurance broker? seriously?

    but whatevs.

  • IJusWannaSay…

    Um, so he can’t express how he feels about his new son-in-law? I’m befuddled by those who have expressed a dislike to his comment.

    I mean, was he NOT supposed to say anything?

  • Miss Moj

    This is quite the contradiction and I do not doubt that it is wrong. However, we cannot take the responsibility of leading a respectable and healthy lifestyle away from each individual woman of color. After a certain age each woman should be able to re-evaluate her life and determine whether or not she wants to continue her lifestyle or make a change.

    I, for example, used to watch BET, thinking I was supporting my own. As I matured I realized that by watching this network I was supporting a perpetuation and I lifestyle that I did not agree with. Today I do not watch BET and I do not watch any reality shows that demean the black community.

    What I am trying to say is that the only real way to remove his power over our community is to take it away from him. The way to take it away from him is to stop investing our time into his network. We need to make the change. There are other networks that we can watch, like OWN, that have more progressive and respectable programing.

  • http://clutchmagazine opiland

    This is one ugly white dude.I hope he has money.

  • Treece

    Yes, it’s hypocritical to sell filth to “other people” yet not allow it in your home and promote the opposite for your own family. Bob Johnson is not doing anything other than what any CEO or proprietor of a harmful product would do. It’s the American Way. Big tobacco for instance. It’s ok to peddle cigarettes to kids of those “other families”, but I would highly doubt the CEO of Newport cigarettes has kids who smoke or that they approve of it in thier homes. The children of the CEO or the families of the founders of McDonald’s probably don’t touch big macs with a ten foot pole. They most likely “eat clean” and healthy, but thier JOB is to peddle the nasty indigestible “food” to us….the “other people”. So Johnson is not doing anything different here. For him, it’s business. It’s OUR job to not look at it, buy it, listen to it. We’re the ones that make that machiene work with our money and viewership. We can’t fault the man for wanting the best for his daughter. We CAN demand better programming from tv and radio and not give terrible music and tv the time of day, or night.

  • Clutch

    Could you do the list for us? Because most of the time – people who say we are “reaching” read the title and then look at a couple of comments without even reading post and state WE are “reaching”- when the whole time we are talking about something that SOMEONE ELSE has said and reporting it.

    Internet Coverage:
    Who started the FIRE:

    Who reported on it:


    We have to ask:

    Did you read the article? Clutch is reporting on something that has been ALL OVER THE INTERNET. The title is ” BET Founder Under Fire for Calling Son-in-Law “Perfect Gentleman””

    KEYWORD: “Underfire” – not by Clutch. Please read the source of the this piece. Clutch did not start or say anything about this – we are reporting on this “being UNDERFIRE”.


  • stef

    but no disrespect, by re-posting your in a way giving it a clutch signature of approval, some things are not worthy of reporting ,

  • Purple Rain

    This whole argument is silly. Bob Johnson is simply employing an effective business strategy. “Filth” sells! It brings in the biggest ratings and subsequently, ad revenue. BET has argued this point before. They tried alternative programming and the audience disappeared. So, I say, if that’s what brings the greatest viewership, then so be it. Apparently, “filth” is what most people want. Congratulations to the happy couple!

  • L

    @treece Get out of my head!!! Love your comment. After reading this article the first thought that came to my mind was the asians and their “chinese food”. Most of them don’t eat that food but they sell it because we buy it. and does anyone think Koreans are using the hair products they sell? NOPE.

  • Clutch

    I hope it doesn’t appear that way – cause that is not what we are trying to do. We are very clear on what we support and place our approval on. But, as a news/entertainment/commentary site we do make sure we cover SOME things that all going on in and around the net/audience. We also understand not all our readers want to read it – but some our readers do and most of those readers do not comment – but email us in silence asking for us to cover.

    We always ask if the content doesn’t speak or interest you – to read the other plethora of post/articles that we publish.

    THanks so much :)

  • LKJ

    I’m in total agreement. Bob Johnson has only ever had his wallet in mind. None of the moves he has made with BET have been about uplifting the black community. He is a businessman first and foremost and has only ever looked out for his bottom line. When black women at Spelman were boycotting Nelly, Johnson’s couldn’t have cared less. I wonder if he would’ve cared if people judged his daughter based on the black women in the Nelly video?

    I quit watching BET ages ago because I did not like what I saw. Black people are often stereotyped and caricatured in the mainstream media, but these depictions are the same thing you see on BET. I refuse to watch television shows that only show the worst of black people. That means almost no reality shows, almost no rap music videos, and very few cable/network t.v. shows.

  • Eva

    Does he even own BET anymore?…………

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    Nope. That’s how he became a billionaire in the first place – selling BET to Viacom.

  • noirluv45

    OK, I could be missing something here, but when Bob Johnson owned BET, the programming was pretty decent. There was Video Soul with Donnie Simpson, Live in L.A. with Tanya Hart, Our Voices, Teen Summit, etc. It wasn’t until he sold it, that everything went downhill just like hip hop. I think when the Jews took over that things started getting raunchy.

  • Rue

    What treece said. And did anyone else giggle when they read that his daughter was an equestrian? Like the people who gave tons of black ma=en and women distorted ideas of what it means to be black has a daughter that participates in the “whitest” sport of all: prancing/jumpig horses! Irony!

  • harlemworld

    Have heard all her bridesmaids were white. The daughter of a black billionaire marries an insurance salesman with aspirations of being a pro golfer. Ths dude will use his father in laws business connections to make his white golf buddies wealthy. Sad.

  • i.mean.really

    I agree. BET is not what it used to be. MTV and VH1 are almost unwatchable now too. Viacom just missed everything up.

  • guest

    She married down. Bob Johnson would never allow his daughter to marry a black insurance agent. NEVER.

  • i.mean.really

    Is it really fair to criticize Johnson for the programming on a station he doesn’t own anymore?

  • AP

    Bob Johnson is not responsible for the welfare of Black women and it definitely doesn’t make sense that he would want anything less than the best for his daughter. Is the programming on BET questionable? Certainly. Could they do better? Most definitely but at the end of the day do you really expect this man to let his daughter marry the trash he promotes? People, walk up…the media is about making money…they don’t care about what they put out there. The sooner we realize this the less “betrayed” we would feel.

  • sapphiresandsisters

    He is the perfect gentleman, alright! lol

  • noirluv45

    I’m sure the good ole boys at Viacom wouldn’t want their daughters to marry half the crap they peddle either. I wonder if we’ll read articles on how the Jews have used garbage to line their pockets and have changed hip hop from social consciousness to the crap we hear today. *crickets* Opps, did I say that?

  • Clutch

    @ i.mean.really – you should really direct that question to Beyond Black and White. – we are just reporting the backlash/support of their post.

    See below:

  • Teflon Jawn (@Author_JGail)

    Just bc someone gives you a glass of koolaid doesn’t mean you have to drink it. We all have a choice in what we choose to consume and watch (and what we let children consume and watch).

  • jamesfrmphilly

    perhaps pure capitalism is not good for the black community?

  • -A.

    Anyone who criticizes him for wanting better for his daughter is a dumbass. He is not the one responsible for your (or a generations) misguided decisions.

  • naaj21

    I agree. When BET first started in 1980, it had really good programs and was competing with MTV. The programming was much better and it has been going down the crapper since he sold it. So I don’t agree with all the backlash he’s getting for a comment on his personal family life. Ridiculous.

  • Treece

    Lol, I’ll try!

  • Misty_Moonsilver

    Leave the guy alone. His son in law looks like a decent man. What father wouldn’t want the best for his daughter regardless of race?

  • Pat

    …vehicle that has “single-handedly” tarnished the name of black American women all over the world, wants a “gentleman” for his daughter.

    Single –handedly? Nooo…I don’t think anybody should give anyone that much credit. I understand BET has produce negative images and has room for improvement likewise to other networks. But prior to being exposed to any type of genres, children are the most influenced by their surroundings.

    If a little girl “only” grew up seeing an example of a man perpetuated as a thug on BET, then maybe yes. I can see her point-of-view. But even the ordinary girl with not as much exposure as Bob Johnson’s daughter has had more examples of a man than just a “thug”.

    It is not Johnson’s responsibility to promote positive images b/c of his resources. It is the families’ and the communities’. Also, this argument reminds me of how society expects athletes or famous people to be their child’s role models. It simply isn’t their job. They can make a difference, but not responsible.

    The bottom line is when it comes down to our choices. We “allow” negative images to take over. Not anyone else.

  • Pat

    And Congratulations to the happy newlyweds!

  • Pat

    Thank you. That is just being a real Father!

  • Alexia

    She is an adult, besides cutting her off his wealth, how could he not “allow”?

  • binks

    Nobody should have this much power!!! And I bet this lady wants the same for her children especially if she has daughters that Johnson did so this is like the pot meets kettle situation. Furthermore, people could say the same thing about her and her site of raging on a sector of the black population and dismissing and writing off black folks (and in some cases black men) who don’t fit her site’s standards so it is an either/ or argument here. Should Bob Johnson thought about the totality of selling BET and its ultimate legacy of course but the issue black folks are facing and the perpetuation of it didn’t begin or end Bob Johnson’s watch. Hell do you honestly believe that if there weren’t a Bob Johnson or BET nobody would have tried to exploit our community via Media? If you think the answer is no you are diluting yourself. Furthermore, what honest to goodness father don’t want best for their daughters regardless if he is a billionaire, trash collector, or unemployed? More so, I’ am so tired of people treating black people (collectively) like we don’t know what to do, we need direction, or people telling us what we can do and should strive for like we (again collectively) are dumb. Her message (though not a terrible argument but is based on personal feelings/assumptions) is getting lost in translation because it comes off as a bit condescending.

  • Trina

    I hope it’s a happy union, if he treats her well who are we to judge. It’s not like she got drunk and he was high on Molly and they went to Vegas through a drive thru.

    As for Bob Johnson creating the ‘ratchet’ problem (sorry ran out of adjectives)? He could be partly responsible when he was still running the network, but has anyone mentioned Debra Lee? Wasn’t she at the wheel when BET crashed into a telephone pole? Nothing left of it but a quickly fabricated shell? Show me the Carfax!

    Supply and demand. That’s why Teen Summit vanished and there is no news on BET anymore. It’s a moldy stew of 106 and Park, old reruns, neutered videos, occ. pink splashed TV specials, ‘movies of the week’ with chunks of overcooked gospo-informercial Sundays.

    Viacom stepped in and just amped up the buck fest, but it’s not like BET was ever the BBC. He hasn’t single-handedly trashed the image of blacks in this country but it didn’t help either. Look at VH1. They used to just do videos and NO artists of color at that, now it’s some weird melanin coated dysfunctional BET/MTV hybrid with just junk on it. Bob Johnson didn’t own VH1, and with all the shows as listed, it seems worse than BET. Is that on Bob? That’s on the sheeple who produced, co-signed, and watched that first episode of the new madness.

    You can look at the menu and place an order or leave. No one handcuffs you to the idiot box. You don’t like it, don’t watch it. The ratings drop enough, the Don Drapers running the place will change the shows. If you’re here trying to throw Bob Johnson under the bus but you have Lust and cRap on TiVo or knows who was on 106 and Park last Wednesday, you’re just as guilty. (As for me, I stopped watching cable two years ago). Overall, he should want the best for his daughter. Would folks feel better if it was Trindad James?

  • K. Michel

    The overreaction and feigned anger is completely unnecessary …but it isn’t surprising. I’ve actually looked at Karazin’s stuff, once. I’d thought she’d at least be happy that Bob Johnson’s daughter didn’t marry a Black insurance salesman.

  • GirlSixx

    Ummm, I don’t see the problem here by stating she married “the Perfect Gentlemen”. let’s be real folks, Bob is a Business Man and we all know the number one rule “Don’t shyte where you eat” so yeah he may peddle and glorify the likes of thugs, drug dealers and such on BET to make his money BUT he ain’t trying to bring that mess home to his family.

    The fact that he is a billionaire tells me she lived a very prestigous life and went to some of the top notch schools where guys like her husband runs in abundance, how can YOU NOT expect her to fall in love with someone of his caliber.

  • Th!s

    Girl, you better blog! You wrote that comment..:)

  • victoria

    ”“He’s a true gentleman,” Johnson said, citing Payne’s decision to request his permission before proposing to Paige. Though this is problematic within itself since it places a man’s approval above the will of a woman…”
    I don’t find it problematic for a man to ask for a father’s permission before proposing. I see it as a respectful act. I wish I would’ve had a father around to guide me in relationships with men. It’s great that she has an involved father; unlike, so many of us who have absent fathers.

  • Z

    She probably is happy that his daughter did marry someone who seems to be a quality man; however, the irony is not lost. Johnson made billions peddling filth and ratchet but wanted a completely different lifestyle for his own. That fact should not be lost on anyone- it should be duly noted.

  • Kim

    Clutch, stop worrying about these folk. They know this was reposted from another site. Many of us in the so called “Black community” need to do some serious soul searching and most likely receive therapy. Folks are angry that someone dared to say something about a Black woman marrying a White man. The responses have nothing to do with Bob Johnson, his daughter or her husband. People are having and will continue to have a problem dealing with their own hypocrisy and the hipocrisy in our so called “community”. Folks want to benefit off of Black folks and run to the “community” when “others” have turned their back on them or have shown that they are displeased with them and yet these same Black folk will give themselves, their time, their money and love to everyone else, but Black folk. People can get as angry as they want, but this is the main reason these types of articles rile people. The way I live my life, I don’t expect anything from folks I give nothing to or I have not made a priority in my life. If I see them as optional, I expect nothing. I was taught that as a little child, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. It works and people will respect you for it. I wish we could move past all of this and accept ourselves for the people we have chosen to be and the things we have chosen to believe, think and feel. I enjoyed many of your articles and some of the posters her have made me laugh even if I had a different opinion then they did. Thanks for creating a great place for young, engaged Black women can come and express themselves. I’ve gotten too old too “hang”. I will be leaving my 40′s in a few years. You reach a point in your life where you just won’t engage in BS any longer. Once again, keep up the good work.

  • The Other Jess

    With the negative portrayals of black women AND Black men on BET, I’m not shocked his daughter married a white guy. BET, with the help of it’s now owner, Viacom, has done a hatchet job on the images of Black people. To the point that I’m sure even Bob johnson himself and his children believed it. If all you put out for years is that Black men are gold-tooth, gold-chained wearing thugs and misogynysts, who’s going to be interested in marrying that?

  • Marisa

    Geez people really need to seriously get a grip between the spazzing out from MJ recent wedding, Michael Ealy surprise marriage, and now the Johnson girl’s days ago nuptials, its one thing for people to have certain opinions on celebs but, to the point folks are believe they have a right to demand who they marry is crazy. Also there has been a breakdown in the black community way before BET became a minstrel show, its one thing to accuse them of poor portrayals and rightfully so. Its a whole other thing to blame a network for why young black people are making crappy life’s decisions. No tv, movie, or music should be more powerful than the impact of a positive, strong family.

    Its like the blaming MJ for people spending money on Jordan’s, I hear it all the time how he’s horrible because parents spend money they don’t really have on those sneakers, people not paying bills just to get them. Sorry but I love MJ but, my mom said NO to those shoes and anything high priced that wasn’t a necessity, as she ran the home as the parent not the other way around. Nike apparently has to provide instructions on how one should prioritize their finances in the shoe box. Also that Blue Ivy argument is getting old Jay-Z is an ex crack dealer from Marcy, why would he want his daughter to bring that home, he left that life for a reason. So parents who have issues with addiction and crime/incarceration themselves should be A-OK with their kid going in that same direction, why fight to show them how harmful that is because we did it. I also find funny how everybody has been pro-black marriage and all these high profile interracial marriages, take wealth away from the black community.

    Yet when there are high profile rich black celebs who get together, the same internet loud mouths dog them the hell out and in some instances their kids. Make a topic involving Jay and Beyoncé, or Will and Jada and nonsense will ensue, its either both pairings are illuminati/sacrificing devils. Or The Smith’s its Will and Jada are both down low swingers, whose kids are weird/illiterate/can’t dress, or in the case of a baby Blue Ivy she’s either being dressed up in jeans and boots because her mother Beyoncé doesn’t want her competing with her for attention. Also most popular is they hide her because she’s an ugly baby that looks like her dad and her hair is unkempt. Best believe if Paige would have married a brotha the focus would have been, on how she’s not that cute, the dress is not nice, she should have married a dude with money like her. Same for both MJ and Michael Ealy had wifed black wives, many would comment on how she looks, what her style choices were wack. I can only imagine whats going to be said when George Lucas marries Melody Hobbes in July, fun fun fun I’m sure. People take this stuff harder than just celeb gossip and news, its not anybody’s marriage than the two in it celebs ot.r no

  • MimiLuvs


  • Marisa

    Your right there is that thing called a remote and its like how people are just now outraged about raunchy hip hop songs. If we as the viewers would exercise some discretion and standards, trash wouldn’t be on the air the way it is now. They would have gotten the message but, nope when you support these types of entertainment of course that’s all their going to give.

    We have a lot to side eye Bob Johnson about mainly his business handlings but, dogging this man out because the guy who is marrying his only daughter treats her with respect, pathetic. Any parent worth their salt no matter their economic standing should want them treated with love and respect by their partners. If Paige would have married some dude with 3 or more baby mommas with a criminal record to boot, I’m sure that would go over well (rolls eyes).

  • Pseudonym

    She “married down?” Is she a high powered Harvard grad attorney or something? They don’t mention her profession in the article, so curious.

  • Joy

    I’m glad that Johnson has built a business empire but allegedly Johnson wasn’t there for his kids when they were growing up. This coming from those in the DC area circles where his kids lived, and grew up in. Allegedly he didn’t attend their t-ball games, little league, etc. I guess he was too busy building his empire to physically be their for his kids. I don’t know……I’m just saying.

  • Joy

    Hope she has an iron clad prenupt

  • Gina Wild

    When I read this:

    «Christelyn Karazin, This is the ultimate irony. Bob Johnson, co-founder of BET, a vehicle that has single-handedly tarnished the name of black American women all over the world, wants a “gentleman” for his daughter.»

    I thought to myself either the drugs are getting stronger or some people are getting dumber.

  • WIF

    I understand the issues that Christelyn has with BET but these are two separate issues and I read her post earlier on and I felt that her argument wasn’t that solid. BET is a TV channel geared to make money. While they chose to portray the videos that denigrate women, why do we not critique the artists, the women who choose to be in these videos, and most importantly, the general public who obviously wanted to see videos with inappropriate images? If people were so pissed at these videos and actually did something – boycott, write letters or better yet, don’t watch – we would not be having this conversation. I think that Johnson loves is son-in-law, thinks he is a good man to marry his daughter, and that is it. No need to create drama over one quote or bullshit because the dude is white.

  • SayWhat

    It’s obvious that many of you are not familiar with the insurance industry. I am, it was actually my major, and trust me when I tell you that insurance professionals wield as much power and influence as finance professionals. You wouldn’t think it because it’s not as high profile and when someone hears insurance salesman they think of some joe blow who is eating lunch out of a paper bag trying to sell you a life insurance policy, but it is one of the oldest and most profitable businesses around (fact, slave traders needed insurance to support the slave trade).
    TRUST, this guy is already a millionnaire, she did NOT marry down.

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