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Last night’s show

In a word: damn.

I was so excited about last night’s episode of “Don’t Sleep.”  We were able to speak about the progress black women are making.  And, it was the first show that featured mostly women.  We had Issa Rae doing her commentary.  And, on the panel discussion, we had Vivica A. Fox and the “Conservative Black Chick” Crystal Wright.

I relished the opportunity to showcase two smart, accomplished, beautiful, strong black women on the panel.  But, damn.  The conversation immediately spiraled into a war of words and theatrics.  A passionate discussion on issues between two strong black women is one thing, and it’s something I welcome on “Don’t Sleep”, but last night’s back-and-forth became personal and vitriolic.  Damn.

I never want “Don’t Sleep” to be a platform to perpetuate the negative stereotypes about black people, especially black women.  We must do better.  Yes, things happen.  Yes, people get passionate, and there’s an unpredictable nature to doing a panel discussion on a TV show.  I know Vivica and Crystal are talented, smart black women. They had an opportunity to show the best of what black women have to offer but instead showed what many expect them to be.


T. J.


Valerie Orange

Is there a video clip of last night’s show? Or will it repeat on BET? First show I missed since it started!


i use Xfinity On Demand. Go to HD On Demand, TV Shows, By Network, select BET, then Don’t Sleep.


I was turned on to “Don’t Sleep” by my best friend. Since the first episode, I have been hooked. I’m excited about the show keeping black Americans informed and engaged. Last night’s episode was appalling. The panel began their discussion and I thought they were joking but quickly realized they were indeed serious. I texted my best friend in disbelief. I couldn’t believe Vivica and Crystal were going at each other. It seemed as if the hostility stemmed way before the panel began their discussion. I don’t know if the ladies had beef prior to coming on the show or if it began while on the set. I was disappointed with them both because they were indeed perpetuating the stereotype we are trying to avoid about black women. However, it was definitely entertaining. I will be tuning in nightly Mon-Thur. Hopefully, the future panels will behave professionally, classy, and respectfully. Also, I enjoyed Issa’s Rae’s commentary.
Good Job T.J. !!!!


I DVR ‘Don’t Sleep’ and have watched all but 2 episodes since it aired. I really enjoy and appreciate the content/direction of the show.

After watching the episode with Vivica A. Fox and Crystal Wright, there was a point I had to check the channel. God Bless you (TJ Holmes) and your attempt in trying to bring the panel back on target. How unfortunate to see these women act like that…we ARE capable of having a difference of opinion and generating good conversation without taking it there. However, we are human and emotion is real. I think you should do a follow up show surrounding stereotypes about black women and invite them back. Use their segment as a case study…LOL!

I’ll continue to tune-in and wish you much success with the show. Personally, I think it should be an hour long…just sayin’

“…you can go to bed now, but don’t sleep…” [love it!]

~ @DanielleASB


The first episode I watched was the one with Vivica Fox and Crystal Wright. As a conservative woman, I felt that she was a terrible representation of “black chicks”, conservative or otherwise. I don’t think any issues were adequately addressed, and that most of the time was spent trying to get the ladies to stop neck rolling, pointing, and telling each other to stop neck rolling and pointing. I understand trying to make it entertaining by bringing in a comedian, a “loud-ish” woman, and a self professed conservative, but I am sure there was a panel that could have been informative, thought provoking, intelligent, AND entertaining. It was sad that with two educated black women on the panel, the only person making any sense was the guy in the middle sneaking in jokes between the ladies’ jabs.

I don’t watch BET often, and I kept watching so that I could get to Issa Rae’s segment, but when she came on, I just remember thinking – “Wow, she’s too smart to be on this show.”

I know you wanted to see it go differently, and after a few minutes, I was hoping it would turn around too. A second attempt at sharing the differing viewpoints of conservative and liberal Black women – maybe having two (or three) poised, passionate, and funny African American ladies on your show after the election to do a recap – would be amazing.

Good luck and best wishes on your future shows.



TJ I’ve only been able to catch the last week in a half because I don’t tune into BET enough and didn’t realize when your show started. Please don’t apologize for what happened. I have a strong stance against black shame, I don’t believe in it cause it’s so unfruitful. What other groups stop and ponder and hang their heads when individuals who fall under their group header fall short in some way?

As a veiwer when I saw that Vivica was going to be a guest I wasn’t expecting a lot of substance even though I feel she is a sharp business woman in the entertainment industry. I’ve never seen her show more than a neck snap facade.

There are times when I would like to hear waaay more from a guest such as Ms. Sophia whom I heard in person a few weeks ago. Ten to fifeteen minutes isn’t enough to talk to 3 opposing various A types at once. Really that’s not enough time to listen to you alone.

I’m concerned about the statement you made about a study showing employers are easier on allowing bad behavior from black women. Seriously! you gotta name names on where and exactly how that study was conducted. The fact that you threw it out there the way you did made me sad. I feel you may have a lean towards believing that sorta crap and you are way better than that. Being a black woman doesn’t mean I need to answer for last weeks Basketball Wives episode or speak softer than I already do naturally. I’m over it, we aren’t the garbage dump nor the baggage claim, it’s not my debt.

Austin T.

Firstly, I’d like to thank you T.J. for being an absolute inspiration to so many African Americans and Americans by creating this show. Finally, a show that discusses real issues pertinent to Black Americans and does so with a healthy cross section of us who represent the wide range of our involvement and influence in American society.

However, here’s your wake-up call T.J..

Albeit Friday night’s show showcased some of the worst instances of appropriate civility and maturity I’ve ever seen from Black folk on television, it was your ineffectual ability to “check” your guests that I found the most appalling. Granted, it is HARD to wrangle guests who are oddly belligerent and incapable of conducting a constructive conversation about the issues without attacking each other there is absolutely no excuse for you (the host) failing to recognize and address some of the more damaging aspects of Friday’s show. As a host and commentator, in a bid to maintain neutrality and a degree of credibility, it is your job to check the attitudes of even the most “celebrated, vivacious…whatever, whatever.” To allow Vivica to showboat on your show, present passive aggressive opinions, and be downright disrespectful to you and your panel shows lack of willingness to challenge that “strong black woman.” And then also to chastise Crystal on points of contentions that are, granted, hearsay by being so diminishing and subversive as to say “that was one woman” in reference to Michelle Obama being an angry black woman…SO WHAT? How many women does it take? Is it not possible that Michelle could become angry in and/or with her job and be stereotyped as such much in the way Vivica gladly demonstrated? Wasn’t that the point of the question at hand?

And all that to say…NONE OF THAT is your greatest fault T.J.. Your greatest fault lies in NOT checking Tony Roberts when he swiftly booted Crystal from “Team Black” by “othering” her on YOUR show. This is precisely the form of self-hating, defeatist, seperatist attitude that blacks struggle with daily when we allow something as trivial (YUP trivial!) as political affiliation and differences in skin tone to distance and destroy the kind of constructive relationships that lead to bringing us all closer together. Because no matter what T.J. we need those “others” because they also daily face persecution from corporate white america ( as Crystal attempted to AGREE with you AND Tony AND Vivica on). We cannot afford to break ranks or cast out our own because they’ve experienced a life lived different from our own.
More importantly, as awesome as your show is we certainly can’t afford to have a host who won’t stand up on his own show and say “Tony, don’t you dare invalidate 1. A black person and 2. my choice of a professional black female conservative who’s done the hard work to get where she is…don’t you dare call her an “other” in my face and in the faces of my studio audiences who are made of up mostly young, black, brown, and high-yella folks. Thanks for allowing them to walk out of your studio reinforcing the idea that some light-skinned bi-racial conservative folks just ain’t black enough to be black (or white.) cause you know just like I know your show is liberal leaning and that’s fine. Hell, even i’m going to vote for Obama but what would make you show great after the long list of other things that might make your show greater, i.e. an extra half hour, AUDIENCE INVOLVEMENT, INVOLVEMENT FROM EDUCATED BLACK PEOPLE WHO AREN’T WELL KNOWN, would be if you could have discussions where conservative folks aren’t outnumbered and they’re actually allowed to make a point. As the audience laughs along with Vivica and Tony you’ve just reinforced to America that blacks can and will be divided if given the opportunity.


Hi Teeej. Love the show. I saw that episode but what can you say? They were being themselves – relaxed and natural. I like realness in a show. We live in such a manufactured world already. Real life is messy sometimes and people color outside of the lines. I know from watching you interview on CNN that you prefer civility but sometimes it is just not like that. Women are emotional – and that passionate discussion on your show encapsulates how many of us Obama supporters feel about this election and his presidency. The other 47 percent never get free range to discuss feelings and thoughts relevant to us – until your show. Everything else is homogenized and sanitized down to paste (boring) but not you. Thank you Mr. Holmes for providing a platform for thinkers. Goodness, you do generate excitement – from your wardrobe to your style to your mind…(feel free to post more bts photos and vids of you doing what you do)


I rarely watch “Don’t Sleep.” The first week left me thinking it was nothing more than the usual BET fare. I love TJ though, so I stepped away thinking I would give the time show to develop and then come back. Unfortunately for me, I chose the night that Vivica Fox was on.

Vivica Fox is an okay actress. Personally, I wouldn’t pay to see her in a movie, but up until this episode of “Don’t Sleep,” I liked her personality well enough. Now, I don’t even like that. She was loud, abrasive and disrespectful of the other guest (name?). I was sorely disappointed in TJ’s inability to control his panel.

Drop the music. Drop the comedians and actors masquerading as intellectuals. Pick a format. Any format. Either your show is like Bill Maher’s or it is like Jon Stewart’s. I don’t care which, just pick one. Stand up to your guests. Stop with the magic number thing and cover topics that matter. Stop being so pro-Obama that other opinions are not allowed. Hell, we need to hold his feet to the fire if we are voting over 95% for him. Actually make a difference TJ. You can do it.

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