I rarely watch Reality TV, if at all. I’m usually more the So You Think You Can Dance or America’s Best Dance Crew type of guy since these people have LEGITIMATE talent and aren’t just talking smack and causing drama. I must confess that I have become addicted to watching Amish Mafia and occasionally watch a rerun of Run’s House, but that about covers it. I was a part of the Real World craze for about the first 10 seasons until I got tired of the knuckleheads playing for the camera all the time. They had already started doing it in doses well into the 4th season, but by season 10 – I was done. I avoid all the Real Housewives of who give a squat, the Honey Boo Boos needs a diet, Basketball leftovers and the Love and (Fill In The Blank) drama, but I actually had a visceral reaction to this new show on Oxygen.
Not because African-Americans, like every other race, shuck and jive it up for the camera on regular basis, but because this sort of hits home for me. As the product of a single parent household where my mom worked her tail to make sure this nappy-headed, hard headed, mischievous kid have a shot at life, I found that this show directly demeaned the women (and men) who DO have to do it alone and don’t reduce themselves to being just another conquest of some irresponsible boy’s trifling lifestyle. I generally let trife folks do what they do and keep it moving, but I actually signed the petition to have this show stopped. Not because grown folks shouldn’t be allowed to be idiots, but because too many kids will see THIS and feel empowered to be the next Lauren London (one of Lil’ Wayne’s many babymammas) or Britney Spears and Shar Jackson (K-Fed’s conquests).
I’m so done.
An upcoming show that many believe is capitalizing off baby mama drama in the worst way has caused uproar — and it hasn’t even aired yet. Oxygen plans to show a one-hour special about G-Unit rapper Shawty Lo and his 11 children and 10 baby mammas. The special showcases the Atlanta-based rapper with an aim to “capture the highs and lows of this extreme ‘blended family’ that is anything but ordinary, while also showing the drama and the passion behind life’s most unexpected situations.” A press statement released by the network said that the show “will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about.”
Many people have been tweeting and talking about the show, but not with good hopes. The demeaning labels that Shawty Lo’s baby mamas carry, such as “the wannabe-bougie baby mama” or “the baby mama from hell” have made some viewers question Oxygen’s move towards ratchetness. The negative buzz about the unaired special caught the attention of author Sabrina Lamb, who rallied 14,000 signatures through a Change.org petition. The petition calls for Oxygen to cancel a show that she believes is offensive and negatively portrays black women, relationships, and children.
The petition reads:
“As dysfunctional and violent as so-called reality shows are, could you ever imagine a one hour spectacle where 11 children are forced to witness their 10 unwed mothers clamor for financial support, emotional attention and sexual reward from Shawty-Lo, the apathetic ‘father’?
Could you imagine that Oxygen Media, known for violent programming targeting young women with stereotypical images, would consider the embarrassment that these children will experience, being used as entertainment?”
But even with the overwhelming outcry, it appears that Oxygen just won’t budge. The network has defended the show, claiming that the production is not meant to replicate negative stereotypes of African-Americans.
“Oxygen’s one-hour special in development is not meant to be a stereotypical representation of everyday life for any one demographic or cross-section of society,” the network toldRadarOnline. “It is a look at one unique family and their complicated, intertwined life… Oxygen Media’s diverse team of creative executives will continue developing the show with this point of view.”
The special is slated to air this spring.