BET Networks to Host Inauguration Ball

Joins MTV in Throwing Party for Barack Obama

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WASHINGTON ( -- A second Viacom cable network is planning its own ball for the inauguration of Barack Obama. BET Networks will join with America's Promise Alliance, the nonprofit organization set up by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife Alma, in a ball to be held in Washington on Jan. 20.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama Credit: Tannen Maury
BET now joins Viacom's MTV, which earlier announced it would hold its first inaugural ball in 16 years.

The Jan. 20 BET ball will be the first for the cable channel. Besides supporting America's Promise, it will support Washington's Dunbar High School and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Additionally, BET will air an hour-long special during the ball called "Yes We Will! BET's Inaugural Celebration," which will include some live shots from the ball along with taped footage of inauguration-related events.

BET Honors
BET is also holding its second-annual BET Honors in Washington on Jan. 17, hosted by actress Gabrielle Union. Those honored this year include Mary L. Bilge, Tyler Perry, choreographer Judith Jamieson, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C. The event will air Feb. 9 on BET.

Jeanine Liburd, exec VP of BET, said the decision to have an inauguration ball wasn't a difficult one.

"This is really a historic moment for the country. It is a proud moment to be an American and even a prouder moment to be an African-American," she said. "If we're ever going to do a ball, this would be the moment."

Entertainment for the ball is still being finalized. While some tickets to the event will be offered to BET viewers, the price will be $500 each. Ms. Liburd said that BET will provide some tickets to local high-school students and give away some others as prizes.

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