Love and Hip Hop Atlanta: Reality TV or Self Degradation?
Let me start with my usual disclaimer, that the opinions contained and expressed in this post are solely mine, and are certainly not intended at offending anyone.
So I kinda sorta stumbled on the Love and Hip Hop Basketball Atlanta show’s reunion yesterday. Hmmm, let me clear my throat…I am not a follower of the show, although I’ve watched a few episodes, or rather I have not been able to keep my eyes off the train wreck developing on the screen…
The show portrays the dramatic lives and relationships of African-American rap and hip-hop artists in Atlanta. And drama there is galore, along with a stunning profusion of curse words and profanity that can’t even be translated in most languages…The show also presents various serious issues facing the cast members, from abuse to adultery to even abortion.
However, it is how these topics are presented, and how the cast members are portraying themselves that saddened me the most, and should sadden all of us. Yes, shows like these may be entertaining for some for a while; but after the sarcastic laughs and degrading jokes, it may be time to look at what they say about us as people, as Black people and as Black women.
Indeed, what does it say about us when we’re caught on national television virulently fighting over an unfaithful man? What does it say about us when sex is treated as a casual business commodity, a means to an end? Really, what does it say to our children when every other word out of the mouths of grown, consenting adults, is a curse word? When women proudly and constantly call each other the B word in front of the cameras? If I cannot allow my 3-year old daughter to even hear a word uttered on the show, there is a fundamental problem here. Entertainment is one thing, human degradation is a totally different one.
When asked by the reunion’s moderator whether the show portrays African-American women in a negative light, Mimi, one of the show’s protagonists, involved in an infamous love triangle with her child’s father, Stevie Jay, and his publicly known mistress, budding artist Joselyn, she replied that the show only presents her life’s circumstances. So, does it mean that even in the direst of circumstances, we are allowed to respond in a self-humiliating and degrading manner? Circumstances are what they are, but in no event should they dictate how we carry ourselves as human beings…
I’m not criticizing the show, I am simply saddened at the negative reflection it gives of its members, and by extension, of all of us as members of the human race. It is false advertising to call this a reality show, because for many this is not the reality and hopefully will never be. Reality would be showing the proud Black mothers struggling to provide an education to their children, the striving Black couples who are fighting to overturn the terrible divorce statistics, or the Black men who are standing by their families and fighting to erase long-standing stereotypes. Reality would be to portray the Olympic Gabby Douglases of our time (instead of wasting time discussing the state of their hair), the highest rate of college-educated Black women in America and across the world. Now that’s a reality that we must strive towards, one that leaves to our children a legacy of hope, rather than a sad inheritance of flawed stereotypes and degrading attitudes…
On this “real” note, happy Wednesday!