About a week ago, I happened upon an episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (The Reunion), and I must admit I was disgusted by what I witnessed. Beautiful people of color donned the stage to engage in dialogue epitomizing the show’s past season, and what ensued was nothing short of a disgrace. One of the cast members stormed the stage and initiated a brawl of epic proportions. The animalistic pandemonium forced taping of the show to cease, only to resume after order was eventually restored.
I don’t appreciate the fact that when it comes to reality TV, people of color tend to make up the majority of the cast. Of course, there are a few exceptions. Generally speaking, the reality shows that highlight the ability to think, build communities, and survive amid challenging circumstances, tend to be dominated by whites. When I watch Survivor, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, and The Apprentice, these shows have some type of ultimate goal or prize to be won. The ability to reason, strategize, and work together as a team becomes paramount. In other words, there is a method to the madness. Whether it’s being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and being left alone (with a camera crew, of course) to test survival skills, or being whisked away to paradise in order to choose a potential mate, these shows glamorize the great qualities of their stars. Conversely, the negative portrayal of African-Americans (especially women) on reality shows like Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, and R&B Divas creates a mockery resembling a modern-day minstrel show. The sad truth about these shows is the “black face” is not painted on, they’re actually real. There is no point…there is no prize…there is no goal. Ultimately, all that comes out of this madness is more madness. Week after week the fights ensue, the gossip gets juicier, and class goes flying out of the window. When the season is all over, and the dust settles, these “celebrities” of color have been stripped of all dignity and class for the purpose of gaining ratings and riches.
Is this really what we have resorted to for our entertainment purposes? What was once reserved for twelve rounds in a boxing ring can now be seen on your average African-American reality television show. Our generation has pushed the limits of what is acceptable on television. From violence to borderline pornography, our senses have been saturated with debauchery far beyond anything ever imagined. The rise of the reality TV age has brought to light some pressing questions concerning the effect it has on our society. There is such a hypocritical overtone that surfaces when we express our outrage against issues like women’s rights, domestic violence, and infidelity, when all along, our appetites for this pseudo-reality continue to grow. It shouldn’t surprise us when we see the same type of degeneration translating and manifesting in real life.
I consider this a real epidemic and a state of emergency. When I see two women whaling on each other for ratings, I want to ask…why? What would cause such emotional unrest as to think this type of behavior is acceptable? How much are you willing to sell your soul for?
In no way am I saying that reality TV is to blame for all of the social ills we see in our society. However, I am saying that reality TV, in its present state, seems to contribute to the negative image of women especially women of color.
So let’s talk about this.
What type of image is reality television portraying when it comes to women and people of color?
Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Editor: Jaime Evans
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