“All My Babies’ Mamas”: Real Trifilin’ Or Real Talk?

January 2, 2013  |  

Source: Oxygen Network

When news began circulating about the newest incarnation of debauchery called reality television, courtesy of Shawty Lo and all of his baby mamas, a good friend of mine responded with time honored observation, “Negroes stay losing.”

To which I replied that “Negroes stay losing” was actually the original name of the reality series but Oxygen decided to pass for something more politically correct. Somewhere Spike is posted up in a crooked Knicks fitted cap and an oversized matching Knicks bubble jacket saying, well I tried to warn you all in Bamboozled

Of course, I kid Oxygen Network; but in an era of heighten awareness to cultural insensitivity you have to wonder what effect a program, which caters to the lowest common denominator has on a brand, founded on the guise of providing quality programming for women. And then I remembered “The Bad Girls Club.”

More specifically, Cori Abraham, Senior Vice President of Development of Oxygen Media, said of the upcoming reality television show: “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.” Yeah that sounds about right. You can knock Abraham for his honesty. Controversy, particularly if it manages to feed off of taboo topics such as culturally insensitivities and stereotypes, always seems to perk interest and curiosity. I’m willing to bet that many of those who most disapprove will probably tune in for at least the first episode  – you know, just to confirm their suspicions. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the first few episodes not only trends throughout social networking sites but breaks some rating records for the station. Not bad for a network founded on old reruns of “Kate and Allie.”

However, before we all go rushing to sign that Change.org petition to boycott the show just yet. If you can get past the name of the show, as well as the church fan waving at the fact this is indeed a nationally broadcast show about a black man with multiple black children with multiple black women (and trust me, I understand that is a lot to maneuver around), it is not as frightening as image as it sounds. About five minutes into the 13-minute trailer, I thought about how I know people like this. And if I am being honest, my brother, being one of almost a dozen children by one man with multiple women, is people like this. And his situation is not unique. When you stop to really think about it, there is lots more offensive behavior on television than a show about a different type of family structure.

And let’s be honest, 72 percent of black children being raised in single parent households means that there is some kernel of truth to the whole baby mama/baby daddy meme. And so what? Generally speaking, marriage, in its most tradition sense, is drastically falling across all racial lines, declining by 20 percentage points since 1960. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of people surveyed said they believe marriage is obsolete, including 31 percent of married people. Moreover, the younger generation, which is delaying marriage until later in life – if not indefinitely – are much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation without marriage and other new family forms — such as same sex marriage and interracial marriage — in a positive light.

And as of late, Hollywood has been all about the out-of-the-box family structure. Shows like HBO’s “Big Love” and TLC’s reality series “The Sister Wives,” helped to mainstream the idea of white polygyny. “Jon & Kate Plus 8” (and eventually Kate and only her eight), normalized big, white families and white, single motherhood. So how different really is a show about a man, albeit black, with multiple children by multiple women?

And in no way am I trying to revolutionize the guy that gave us the great African American musical classic, “Laffy Taffy”. As noted in the post Unclutching my Mother’s Pearls, or Ratchetness and the Residue of Respectability, by the Crunk Feminist Collective:

“When there’s a show about a woman and her ten baby daddies then we can have a discussion about alternate families. Until then, this just sounds like women with few options capitulating to Black male patriarchy.

By-and-large, I believe this is true. But it is also true that I find something fundamentally off-putting about a brother with 11 kids by 10 different women, even though it appears that he supports them all, claims them all, and works to have some level of relationship with their moms. I’m tired of brothers not having to be emotionally accountable for their relational choices. I’m tired of the way patriarchy’s love affair with capitalism sets men up to think that manhood and fatherhood are tied to one’s bank account.

Patriarchy exempts men from having to emotionally grow the Fawk up.”


In the 13-minute preview clip, which has been making its way around the internet, the co-parents in the rapper’s life are briefly introduced by name before being reduced down to labels (i.e. jealous baby mom; shady baby mom; no drama baby mom, etc…). There also appears to be a hierarchy, which offers more comfort to certain children of certain  “baby mamas” than others. However, Shawty Lo doesn’t seem to fair any better under the rigid, constraints of this male-dictated system. In no regards does it seem like fun to be  liable – financial or otherwise – to that many people.


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  • me

    Sadly, this is a hell of a lot more common that people care to admit. I have cousins and friends who are in similar situations. I don’t know why we try to act like this sort of thing has not been happening for decades. My friend’s godmother’s dead husband had six kids outside of his marriage – and that was LONG before the advent of hip-hop. Happens all the time. Do I think it needs to be a show? Not really, but for us to act like this is some sort of unrealistic portrait isn’t realistic, either. *shrugs* To me it’s like anything else. If you don’t want to support it, don’t watch it. I know I don’t plan to.

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    While I agree that this whole mess is beyond ignorant, let’s be honest, these situations while not this extreme are slowly becoming the norm in the black community, so why get mad when a mirror is held up to the faces of community? *Looking at you Weezy and your harem*. . . .

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  • scandalous7

    When this show comes out, it will no doubt be extremely embarrassing especially since there is some truth behind this. This will be a hit because it will satisfy, entertain, and perpetuate the stereotypes white people have about us and that we have about ourselves just like bad girls club, love and hip hop atl, love and hip hop new york, etc. I am simply tired of the ratchrocity.

  • It’s people and situations like this that substantiate the stereotypes about Black people. I think that we need to ask ourselves why networks and producers are more willing to green light negative stuff like this rather than positive, well-balanced portrayals of African-Americans. Or what type of parent would agree to a show that exploits their children like this. No one is denying that there are situations like this, but it doesn’t just happen to Black people. Unfortunately, the actions of a few come to represent all of us, which is incorrect and unfair.

  • Kaori

    This isn’t ‘real talk’ or any other slang word that Black people like to use. This is a straight up disgrace!

  • You know what’s sad to me. The OWN has a new show on called, “Six Little McGhees” about a black couple who had sextuplets. They own their own business and are raising their 6 two year old children. Where is the publicity about THIS show? No, but instead, we focus on nonsense.

    • I LOVE that show, and agree that there are great lessons to be taken away from it. Unfortunately, trash sells and brings in ratings, which is just wrong.

    • Amija James

      Oooohhh, I have to catch this. That sounds good. I haven’t heard word one about this show. And I actually have only heard about the Shawty Lo from MN. And who is he? Is he famous? They need to make it about them all getting tested for HIV every month for a year. I’d watch it then.

  • CommonSenseAintSoCommon

    Omg I swear I hate the fact black people worry so much and being stereotype. I mean I was done once they start calling the President and the First Lady apes and food stamp king and they are the epitome of class. I don’t care if every black person became doctors and lawyers you will still be seen in a negaive light PERIOd. Spend time on making yourself better because there are idiots in every culture and race. Fact is we have blacks that fit every stereotype and that will never change so again FOCUS ON MAKING YOUR LIFE BETTER!!!

    • Kaori

      Who is to say that those who don’t want to be a stereotype aren’t focused on their own lives?

      You are practically saying that since there will always be negative stereotypes about Black people, nothing should be done to lessen that.

      Talk about common sense…

      • scandalous7

        say it again!, This is an issue and we must bring it to light. However if we dont do anything about it we are wasting our breath.

  • KJ23

    The reason why I feel like the show is seen in such a negative light is because Black people are denied the luxury of not being generalized. It seems like, if someone acts crazy in another race (and granted, I could be wrong, but I’m just speaking from my own experiences) it’s like it’s an isolated person. You see the weirdo guy from “Sisterwives” with 4 different wives and it’s just: “He’s a polygamist.” You see people doing mass shootings and it’s “oh, he was mentally ill.” But if you put a Black person in the same shoes then it’s not just one person, it’s the entire race. People don’t see it as he’s not showing America his situation, it’s like he’s showing America EVERY black person’s situation, and they’re quick to believe it.

  • Me, Myself & I

    He has no morals so of course he is going to sleep with females who have no morals so I’m not surprised that such trashiness would finally make it as a Reality show I’m just saddened that their children have to be dragged into it!

    • Kaori

      ‘Females’ include human women and girls, and animals.

  • Jewel B

    Irresponsibility should not be rewarded with a TV show. We have to teach and show our young people that there is a better way of doing things and a much better way to live.

  • Dcarter910

    This is what young black girls aspire to be. The baby mama of a rapper. I say force all young black women to sit down and watch this show so they can see how ghetto fabulous their life will turn out to be.

    • Kaori

      There is not need for ‘all’ young Black women to watch this. And, what about the young Black men who take pride in having slept with multiple women and having ‘baby mama drama’?

    • Sandy

      I think it really sad it comes down to this………………People doing anything just for money and five minutes of fame. It is sadly these young black girls has the mentality that what they want to be. A baby mother attached to a althete or rapper to get huge amount of child support and be a reality tv star. This is unfortunately acceptable behavior which has become the norm having a child without being married. Shawty Lo he need to get a vascestomy ( I know I spelled it wrong) or just sit down somewhere stop producing children. It seems like somewhere in his head he should have known after the second child, he should stop. But it just as much as the women fault. More than likely, the woman think they have platinum on their stuff and they can change the man. You cannot change a person. As long as people continued to what this nonsense, they will continue to produce these show as well as find people dumb enough to be in it since it is quick money and be famous. Especially to exploit and demonizes black women. People complained about these shows, but at the same time they continue to watch and support these people. It is sad.

  • ElvisWasAHero2Most

    Now we are making it cool to have baby mama drama. I think this is just putting Shawty Lo’s kids on blast by having a show on the lack of contraception used by Mr. Lo. It saddens me.

  • Vic

    What is the definition of trifling? Is the word being used in the correct context?

  • JaneDoe

    Trifilin.. Thats not something to be celebrated. Its time for folks to do better. Broadcasting such lifestyle is not beneficial to anyone. Enough with the hoodratisim ( I know I know not a word)