Sunday evening’s BET Awards erroneously included still-living former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D) in a montage of famous Black people who died in the past year.
Brown, who served as the city’s first Black mayor from 1996 to 2004, appears in the montage between actress Diahann Carroll and soul singer Bill Withers. NFL Hall of Famer Willie Brown, who spent 11 years with the Oakland Raiders, did die in October at age 78.
"I couldn't figure out why the phone was all lit up," Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that his niece called him after the segment aired and said, “If you're going to die, you're supposed to tell me."
The former mayor said he received an apology from a BET executive, which he said he accepted. He also said he asked the executive not to “fire anybody” over the mistake. Brown added the network had told him his name and image would be removed from the segment when it aired on the West Coast.
Brown added that he asked one friend who reached out after viewing the segment, “Let me ask a question: If you thought someone died, why would you be calling them?”
“One my guys said, ‘Knowing you, I’d call you,’” Brown added.