Greetings to all.
I want to discuss something that has been on my mind for a while now: Reality TV and the negative images it portrays, particularly for Black women (though it affects Black men also). In recent years, many reality television shows depicting Black women as combative, lascivious, ignorant gold-diggers premiered on TV, and there has been much of an uproar among older, professional, perhaps more conservative Black women. You all probably know that I commented on one of these shows before, and as much as I hate to beat a dead horse, I feel that it’s important that I bring this issue up once more, hopefully for the last time.
The reason I’m discussing this is because I saw something that I wish I hadn’t seen: Rapper Shawty Lo and his 10 baby mamas will star in a reality television program entitled “All My Babies’ Mamas.” You can see the story here. When I saw that this was going to premier on television, I realized that the success of reality TV needs to come to an abrupt halt. There are too many of these programs that make us as a people look bad. I mean, 10 babies mamas? No, seriously, 10 babies mamas?! Who at Oxygen thought this would be a good idea? They are so glad that I don’t work at that network—well, let me stop, because I would have quit the minute this got the green light, irrespective of how high the salary was or how many benefits I received.
… But that’s beside the point. I’m going to start by saying that this show makes Black men look bad, because it shows to the world that we don’t have sexual discipline. How could we, when we have people like Shawty Lo, Antonio Cromartie, Travis Henry, or even the three men in Tennessee who have 81 children and 46 women between them? And these aren’t the only men who are like this; you can go to any hood in America, and I guarantee you’ll see a man—maybe even a few men—who have multiple children by more than one woman, and they probably aren’t taking care of them.
I’m not going to spend too much time talking to the Brothas though, mainly because reality TV isn’t marketed to them. Sure, you see men who are just as bad as the women on these programs, I won’t and can’t deny that, but what you don’t see is a plethora of men on Twitter and Facebook talking about them, unless they’re trying to say how stupid it is. Anytime a new episode of these programs premiers, my Twitter timeline is filled with young Black women discussing the antics of these dramatic, cantankerous females.
As bad as reality TV makes Black women look, they’re the main supporters of it. You have shows like Love & Hip-Hop, which makes them look horrible, but Black women love it. You have Real Housewives of Atlanta, which makes them look horrible, but Black women love it. You have Basketball Wives, which makes Black women look bad, but they love it. You have Bad Girls Club, which makes Black women look horrible, but they love it.
You could argue that Bad Girls Club makes all groups of women look bad, and this is true, it does, however I would like to note that the “Queen Bad Girl” of the group is the woman named Tanisha Thomas, who is Sapphire personified: she’s loud, argumentative, rotund, rather dark-skinned, and she has a perm/weave. In addition to that, I noticed that the new season of Bad Girls Club is in Atlanta (Is that a surprise to anyone?) and I’m sure the amount of Black women on the show will be greater than it’s ever been—though this is just conjecture.
(Young) Black women … I have a legitimate question for you: why do you watch these programs? If you know these programs make you look horrible, why do you support them? And to anyone who wants to go on a show like this, or even live a combative, party and drama-filled lifestyle like these women (God help you), why do you wish to emulate the worst of society? This is something that I don’t understand, and I really need a young woman’s perspective on this, because I’m on the outside looking in.
These shows make Black men look bad, but notice how there’s a smaller amount of Black men on these programs; it’s almost all women. Most audiences can look at these reality programs and news stories and say, “Oh, that’s only one stupid man,” or in the case of the men from Tennessee, they might say “Wow, that’s crazy, but that’s only three men.” Look how many women are in these situation, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Three men to 46 women. As bad as they think Black men are, I’m sure people’s opinion of Black women is much lower. Most of the women who get into these situations do so of their own volition, even though they’re aware of the degradation that ensues.
You could say that all women participate in their own exploitation, and this is true, but Black women like to say that they’re the “Mother of Civilization” and “Black Queens” and such. They say that they are better than other groups of women. So if they use the phrases “White women do it too,” or “Latin women do it too,” that suggests that you believe that those women are better than you, because you’re using them as your barometer of morality. That line of thinking is inconsistent with the “Queen” rhetoric you gave.
If you were a queen, you wouldn’t use the actions of a serf to justify your own misconduct.
I would like to mention that a Black woman named Michaela Angela Davis is starting a “Bury the Ratchet” Campaign, for Black women at Atlanta, which seeks to take the spotlight off of the ratchetness in Atlanta. You can see the story here. (I think she needs to start a national tour, personally.) While this is much-needed, and the Sista has my support, I would go a step further if I was in her shoes; I would make it so women would shy away from shows like this. I think these reality programs are the minstrel shows of today, and I don’t think they had a large Black audience when they were on, so why now? Why are Black women (and Black men, too) enraptured with this degeneracy.
Now, I know it’s not all Black women (sigh …) but it’s too many. On my Facebook and Twitter pages combined, I’ve only seen one Black women my age say something to the effect of “I refuse to watch these shows, because they make Black women look bad.” Why is it that out of hundreds of women, I can only get one Sista to realize that these programs are making Black women look bad? Where are the rest of them?
If you’re a Black woman, especially a young one, please help me. Why do you watch these programs? Are they that entertaining to watch? Is it because there’s nothing better on?
Or am I totally wrong? Do these shows put Black women in a positive light? Or do they even affect the way Black women are seen at all?
Please leave your thoughts below!