I thought VH1 was going to attempt to make a real effort to portray women in a more positive light, but maybe they only meant in just one show or maybe they just meant in a different light - not necessarily positive. Why do I say this?
We watched as the last season of Basketball Wives: LA was a lot less violent, and a lot more censored. Violence was insinuated, as Brooke Bailey and Jackie Christie went head-to-head over who was bigger and badder, and then after a commercial break, resumed arguing with Jackie's weave in a tangled mess and Brooke untouched. So, we know Ms. Jackie got beat up pretty bad, but at least it wasn't shown.
That was a small effort on Vh1's part after Evelyn Lozada's crusade of violence, in the home and on the small screen, influenced an outcry of anger against reality TV's continuous demeaning portrayal of women. Especially ethnic women. Even the ladies on Basketball Wives and Love & Hip-Hop have complained about the network only showing negativity, when they also tape plenty of hours with their loving families and pursue complex and fulfilling careers.
It became a problem that Vh1, who has the monopoly on reality TV right now, had such an interest in showing women in such an animalistic light, and again I stress, mostly Black and Hispanic women.
It seemed like they heard us. Especially when they saw that the REALITY is violence doesn't begin or end on REALITY TV… it starts in the home, on the street, in the schools and it ends with bloodshed - some of which is confirmed by the notoriously chaotic Evelyn getting headbutted by her ex-husband Chad Ochocinco.
So, they scaled back… a lot... because the fact of the matter is, liquoring these women up, purposely putting them in compromising situations, and then glorifying the fighting is not a good thing for any part of society. What business wants to be held responsible for making violence more acceptable?
Vh1 lessened the violence, but has a new trend setting in. Now, both Love & Hip-Hop and it's ATL'ian spinoff have this 'pimp and ho' underlying theme going on. We have the charming Stevie J, playing Mimi Faust like a dog with his mistress Joseline Hernandez. Joseline, who most likely knew about Mimi all along, has been riding Stevie's coat tail to fame and admits she doesn't care about the rest of it - she just wants sex and money. I won't describe the whole show, but if you saw it, you know that the shit was insulting, embarrassing, and disgusting to say the least.
It was so unreal to watch - they found one of the most disrespectful men many of us have ever witnessed in life and put him on TV as the prototype of men in hip-hop. Men in the music industry cheat, but the Stevie J's are not the average.
Though it isn't THAT crazy in the New York season, the network has also managed to create the same kind of controversy around Joe Budden. There's his girlfriend that we hardly see. The producers also scouted Tahiry (Joe's infamous ex), and Raqi, the woman rumored to have had a relationship with Joe. Don't be naive and think this wasn't done on purpose.
They also added Erica Mena, who cannot go to an event without cursing someone out or getting into a fight to save her life.
Why are all of these shows making money off making women look like trash? Why can't we have more Yandee Smith's, Emily B's, and La La's - classy women with an honest story, paperchasing, and trying to be better emotionally and intellectually - not just physically and financially.
Vh1 isn't the only network with these negative interests and that's simply because people tune in when this is what's shown. Shows like Bad Girls Club get high ratings, and like it or not, Oxygen and Shawty Lo's All My Baby Mamas would have had sky high ratings too had it not been yanked from the lineup before it aired. Whose idea was All My Baby Mamas... seriously?!
It all seems like a desperate attempt to "entertain" and I only spoke on a few shows and one or two relationships within those shows out of many. There is so much more to be discussed.
At what point is it the network's responsibility to take control, make more responsible decisions and hire more positive, powerful, and influential women to tell their stories?
Photo Credit: Prince Williams/ATL.net