Love, Hip Hop and Sanctimony

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I admire Mona Scott-Young for having the decency to appear before various people and respond to their delusional and occasionally dim points-of-view about her product. I appreciate her even more for doing so with a sense of perspective in the face of such piety. And yelling, all over her as she’s speaking.

I’ve written a lot about reality TV over the years, trying to defuse this myth that no positive images of Black people in the genre exist, that the shows ought to be protested, and this shortsighted idea that reality programming is damning the race and that I ought to feel guilty for indulging in it.

If there’s anything worse that I hate than sanctimony, it’s hypocrisy or a false sense of superiority. It only took a few weeks of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta before I saw works tied around the theme, “Those kind of Negroes don’t represent all of Atlanta.” Hey, hey, dippity doo damn duh.

If you don’t like the show, you’re within your right to say so but with such haughtiness? Obviously, Atlanta isn’t solely as seen on VH1 though most understood that Friends and Sex and the City weren’t depicting New York City as a whole either.  As Mona makes clear, it’s a show highlighting a specific segment of the population. She’s right to say that they have every right to be on TV as anyone else does. It’s about balance, not offering a pristine view of a community as a whole that only exists imaginatively.

Meanwhile, if we’re to advocate using our brains, how about we use them to deduce that maybe, just maybe shows like Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta aren’t so much the culprit behind a bevy of problems so much as they are a reflection of them and what happens when they go unsettled for some time?

Which is why I laugh at warnings such as:

It’s worth considering that maybe some disturbing trends in the black community (such as our divorce rates and higher rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, intimate partner homicide and HIV infection) will decrease when we stop tolerating or embracing harmful shows like L&HHA and Basketball Wives that promote relational aggression, sexism, infidelity and verbal, emotional and physical abuse as the norm. Black women: if we can’t stop them from producing these shows, we should consider rejecting such vehicles of our own oppression and the cable networks that deliver them.

Yes, because we all know The Cosby Show ended the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s, brought forth racial harmony, and sent family planning soaring in the Black community. If you honestly believe that ending Love & Hip Hop: Wherever and Basketball Wives: All Over will cure Black people of all its problems, I question whether you have that great an understanding of the problems we face to begin with.

Or better yet, why can’t I enjoy mindless entertainment the way everyone else can? According to the posted interview, I should be more concerned about the imagery of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and what it’s conveying to white people. I am so exhausted by that talking point.

I hate everyone equally, but I couldn’t give any less fuck about what any white person would think of me based on some shit they saw on VH1. The President and First Lady of the United States are both Black and idiots continue to think the absolute worst of them. Idiots who won’t even be qualified to wipe their asses once they are old, at their grayest and on soup restrictive diets. Taking “negative” reality shows off air won’t change that reality. Racism remains far too ingrained in the American psyche.

The white people who know better, or even simply know enough, understand that not everyone person of color they meet is a closet Steebie J or K. Michelle.

This show is a soap opera, and contrary to what you pseudo positivity peddlers say to pander to your audiences, not everything in life has to mirror some bullshit themes you can find in any cookie cutter Mariah Carey ballad from the early 1990s.

That. Is. Not. Real. Life.

However, if you choose to take it there try a bit of consistency please. I find it quite interesting that Rickey Smiley of all people can look Mona Scott-Young in the eye and assail her for decimating the image of Black women. Smiley, who in a trailer for his upcoming sitcom set to premiere on TV One, is dressed in drag. You care so much about the images of Black people that not only do you take part in the tradition of emasculating Black men, you do so by costuming yourself in a sea stereotypes aimed at Black women. Not to mention, that little penchant you have of using the Black church clichés such as the “flamboyant” choir director.

He can exploit all of this for the sake of entertaining, but Mona Scott-Young is the only one worthy of condemnation for the images she’s sending to white people.

And for the millionth time, as impressive as the ratings of these shows are for basic cable networks, remember: They’re fucking basic cable networks. 20 million plus people are not watching Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta every week. Don’t let the  vacum of satellite cable that has spurred an endless call for content sway you into thinking these shows have more influences than perhaps they truly do.

Oh and I don’t care for certain insinuations about why these shows are popular for their genre either. Not everyone watches this show to feel superior. Cute for you if you need that, but that’s not a requirement for all.

Also, some people actually do relate to some of the characters found on this show. The world will survive.

What boggles my mind most about this is if you are so concerned, how do you expect to reach people by over talking them, being insulting, and placing yourself on a pedestal? Don’t bother answering, you don’t know how to anyhow.

With all that said, I’m going to miss this show so much. It is entertaining as hell, shot and edited better than some of those scripted Black shows that seem more interested in presenting “positivity” than good product. I love you, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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