To the Deelishises…

To the Deelishises, Boots, and Buckys (Flavor of Love); The Omorosas (The Apprentice), Corals(The Real World), and Taneishas (Bad Girl’s Club);The Atlanta “housewives” (Bravo), Basketball “Wives (VH1), and girlfriends, jump-offs, baby mommas or whatever other term given to these loosely delineated relationships of VH1’s Love and Hip hop Atlanta:

There is no doubt your affiliation with the aforementioned programming has not only significantly increased the value of your personal bank accounts, but has also garnered notable increases in viewership for their host channels, in turn increasing revenue for their producers and writers. It may even be stated that your participation in these shows has extended your five minutes of fame to fifteen in a world where it takes only seconds of exposure to achieve fame or lose favor and be forgotten.

Never forget

Never forget

However, in light of all your seeming gain from the successes of your presentations on small screens (assuming that endless club appearances, mediocre product lines, countless promotional photo shoots with no particular sponsors and or profits, and casting calls and careers that amount in inevitably more reality television is considered a success), one must ask what cost you paid with respect to your dignity?

Now, I’m not judging. No, that’s not my forte, or my interest. I am simply asking if – after you auditioned for the season, signed the release forms, acted an ass on camera, and left your likeness and reputation to the whim of the editors in pursuit of fame and funds – you ever once considered the almost irrevocable effect you would have on the large-scale perception of Black women, and more importantly, the minds of black girls and young women set to one day become Black women themselves?

Where do I begin? The stereotype of black women perpetuated by the media and incubated by society (i.e. Black women as the welfare bound, domineering, ignorant, sexually immoral, yet highly religious, government freeloader) used to be an archetype found only in the characters written and endorsed by white writers and fed to the community by those who did not know us. In the era of television where the sitcom, rather than the reality television show, ruled (circa 1970-1998), there were a plethora of series dedicated to showcasing the progressive side of the African American experience. Many shows boasted characters that were not only indicative of real people in our world (i.e. Moesha (1996) and Roc (1991)), but housed content that was relevant, provoking, and heartfelt. Then somewhere around 1999, perhaps inspired by Y2k and the impending doom of the new millennium, a new genre was created where people did nothing but be themselves.

Enter MTV’s iconic “The Real World” (which had actually premiered successfully in 1992, but gained popular acclaim during the early 2000s) and CBS’s “Big Brother”. CBS debuted in the show in 2000, and is about nothing other than people aware of the fact that they were being watched and the dynamics that ensued thereafter. The show not only capitalized on its reality TV platform but also on its social experiment composition, which is similar to George Orwell’s “1984”. Soon, every genre of television possible was converted into “reality” while (ironically enough) the casts and circumstances became more and more scripted, and the finished products less discreet about it.

"I always invite my worst enemies to dinner parties! B*tch I'm genuine!"

“I always invite my worst enemies to dinner parties! Ho, I’m genuine!”

Enter you all. Now that last paragraph probably meant nothing to you. I just figured you might like to know your place historically in all this mess. From a Black woman to Black women – whom I know with the greatest conviction have feelings, thoughts, hopes, and aspirations like we all do – any endorsement of our presumed inferiority; footage of lewd, reckless, violent, or just plain ignorant behavior; petty arguments; admission of shallow aspirations and motivations fueled by money and men’s status; and no real contribution to the overall environment other of the hate and gossip you monger about one another and those around you is an outright obstacle, and an act of sabotage to the advancement of ethnic women the world over.  That might be an understatement.

I am consistently disenchanted by the portrayal of Black women as angry, raging bulls, as acted so convincingly by characters like “Bad Girls’ Clubs’” Taneisha and Natalie Nunn, or Coral from “Real World New York”. I am thoroughly disgusted by caricatures of Black women as victims, mindless, crazy, and status obsessed sex objects (see: the casts of “Flavor of Love” and “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta”). I am intensely incensed at the violence depicted as the primary method of communication between us and the whining about men on “Basketball Wives”.

WE deserve to be represented and written better. WE deserve (after centuries of oppression, true victimization, and marginalization) to be shown in a light as wide and as well rounded in regards to who black mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, companions, partners and people are as the fake asses and titties found on the leading ladies of these programs. Do you women truly believe that career goals as an actress, model (runway, commercial, print, etc.), or even entrepreneurs can really be attained given the light you’ve shown yourself in? Am I going too far to wager that you’re still somehow unfulfilled emotionally and spiritually every week at the end of each episode?

Relax Kandi

Relax Kandi

I am reminded of a time when there was allegedly honor amongst women, and genteelness and couth were desired attributes in the feminine. What happened to the art of being a lady? When did we learn to no longer covet its mystique?

I am disappointed in you ladies heralding further fragmentation of our little girls’ social skills and identity. I am most disappointed in other media outlets like VIBE magazine calling women like Ms. Lozada a “new role model” in the Black community. Quite frankly, if that’s the new role model, than we need to return to the old immediately.

In closing, to the Black women of Reality TV and hopefuls wishing to one day sit in their confessionals: I am praying for you as I am praying for all of us in these times of deception and dishonesty. Though your lies may be lucrative, I pray for the day when you no longer seek these reality series, or producers who sponsor our crucifixions seasonally, for fame, success, or wealth. I pray that you learn to consider success as the contributions you give to your communities and your children, your feelings of fame from the fact that you are loved and valuable, and your measure of wealth from good health and good constitution of your hearts and minds.

On that note, be blessed. And next time your shows are on, look at the screen and then look in the mirror and try to remember which your true reflection is.

Selah,

The Editor-In-Chief

K!M.

Advertisements
Comments
5 Responses to “To the Deelishises…”
  1. Hodor says:

    Real World started in 1992

  2. jordone says:

    Great that you had the courage to write about this! I’m currently living in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and you would be surprised to learn about the impact that these images have on people overseas who, unfortunately, never have the opportunity to meet African Americans in person but only receive a representation of us from the media they are exposed to. This was the reason I decided to come over here to Africa, to bridge the gap between Africans and African Americans. Acting as an ambassador for both areas, I hope to educate the people of Africa about the positives of African American culture as well as teach African Americans about the attributes of African culture less depicted in the media (since we normally only see images of Africa that are poverty, war, or protest related). You can check out the piece I wrote about that here: http://jordone.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/when-efforts-backfire-sometimes-its-best-to-be-the-bigger-person/ ….God bless you and keep writing! 🙂

  3. negatives in these situations and not accentuate the positives.

    Look at the transition we’ve seen Nene make on screen since we were first introduced to her. On the latest episode of RHOA she even talked about how much she likes working and you can see the pride she has in being self sufficient – her impact is also seen with the newest cast member Portia.

    Change takes a while to be seen, but if anything, at least credit these franchises with imploring black women to be self sufficient, business women.

Tell Us What You Think:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: