I have to be honest. I don’t care for today’s so-called reality TV shows, especially those who continue to see black pathology as big bucks. Call me a hater if you want, but I don’t have to like that shit. I know that what it’s really about. That’s why I don’t watch it. And yet, there seems to be a never-ending craving of these types of shows.
Case in point. The Oxygen network is producing another reality show. Get a load of this. It’s called All My Babies Mamas starring rapper Shawty Lo, his babies mamas and their children. Already, you’re probably thinking that someone took a page from Maury Povich’s book on how to exploit poor black baby mothers and fathers for some cheap laughs and huge ratings. Then again, black pathology has always been seen as a cash cow by the white male media plantation and their slaves.
Colorlines’ Jamilah King reports that there is a petition started to keep the show from seeing the light of day:
An online petition started by Change.org has gathered close to 4,000 signatures. According to Sabrina Lamb, the petition’s author, the effort’s focus is clear: “By pushing these degrading images, your company seeks to profit from the humiliation of girls and women and the blatant stereotyping of African-Americans,” Lamb writes in the petition.
“We think Oxygen and the show’s creators and producers have gone too far and if this show is aired, we will, without hesitation, boycott any and all companies that advertise during this minstrel show.”
Nick Chiles over at MyBrownBaby weighs in on what this show is about and who’s behind it:
The show will feature the real-life dramas of the rapper and his 10 baby mamas and their 11 children, all thrown together in a festering stew of ratchetness. Each baby mama is even given a descriptive name—such as E’Creia, 29, “First Lady Baby Mama,” who handles Shawty Lo’s finances and who was actually engaged to him at one point after he already had three children; Angela, 32, the “Fighter Baby Mama”; Amanda, 34, the “Jealous Baby Mama; Serena the “Shady Baby Mama; and Liana aka Pebbles “Baby mama from hell.”
This is the way the show was described in a press release last week by the Oxygen Media Senior Vice President of Development, Cori Abraham, who clearly had some role in green-lighting the show.
“Oxygen will give fans an intimate look at unconventional families with larger than life personalities and real emotional stakes,” says Abraham. “’All My Babies’ Mamas’ will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about.”
And the press release proudly announced that “All My Babies’ Mamas” was brought to Oxygen by Executive Producers Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, and will be produced by their company, DiGa Vision.
But as much as we condemn shows like this, and we have every right too, we can not ignore that we took part in the creation of such sagas in our own communities. Even though such families are created by a white patriarchal system that enforces economic and mental oppression, we can not deny that the community helped in creating the very thing many of us abhor against. Mr. Chiles weighs in on this eloquently:
As a community, we let Shawty Lo happen.
Where were the older men to pull Mr. Lo aside and counsel him about the irresponsibility of his actions, maybe after baby number three? To make him understand the difficulties he was setting up for all those children—and himself—by his wanton sperm?
Where were the older women to counsel all those baby mamas? To start warning them after he had impregnated maybe three or four that there wasn’t much of a future with a modestly talented rapper whose career hadn’t ever really popped? That any children of theirs deserved more?
But clearly the community never stepped up. Nobody told Shawty about the existence of condoms. None of those words ever made their way to the right ears.
We all failed those children.
It’s no denying the fact that this society’s media, for many years, have shrunk the physical and psychological effects of economic hardships and racial oppression into spectacles that support the personal responsibility trope. As such, we are constantly fooled into believing in such myths that the victims are their own problem, not that of the larger society. It seems that this show is another cog in the machine, a cog that is ready to be installed by this spring if this petition doesn’t get through.
The petition is found here at Change.org.