Stereotypes? Who’s Stereotyping? Oxygen Finally Speaks Out About “All My Babies’ Mamas” Controversy
Who knew that a one-hour special about one man and his family would be such a negative lightning rod? (Well, honestly, I think most people with sense could have told Oxygen that many folks wouldn’t take too kindly to the show at all when they were trying to develop the plot…)
After telling you about the show, the backlash over it, and the petition that was created on Change.org to get it canceled (remember, this is just a one-hour special, not a full-fledged reality series–as of right now), the folks over at Oxygen have finally decided to come out of hiding and speak on their special, “All My Babies’ Mamas.” The show is set to show off the complications, and positive aspects of Shawty Lo’s life as a man with 11 children by 10 women, and the network in their response wanted to re-emphasize that this show is about one particular man and his family, not a particular “demographic” (black folks) and trying to stereotype how their families are made up in general. In a statement released to Radar Online, Oxygen Media had this to say:
“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. 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.”
So by the sound of that statement, Oxygen has no plans on canceling the special as of yet, and they don’t seem to understand the uproar over it all. But the woman who spearheaded the petition on Change.org, Sabrina Lamb, can break it down for them very easily. In an interview done by Essence.com, we were introduced to Lamb, and she explained why she feels the special needs to be canceled and we need to stop being so accepting of the ratch images that are consistently displayed on television of us:
ESSENCE.COM: If aired, what message do you feel this show will send our children?
LAMB: Number one, it’s okay to have unprotected sex. Number two, that you don’t own your own bodies. And three, that’s okay to have children and then see each other as the enemy. In the clip the women have nicknames like “the angry baby mama” or “the crazy baby mama.” Those children are witness to this. Children are waiting for an adult to speak up and say enough is enough.
In her interview, Lamb also commented that if the show does air, she and MANY of her friends will go to protest in front of the Oxygen Media building. And while some would say, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” Lamb feels as though not only is the show worth lambasting because of the stereotypes it pushes, but because it’s actually also detrimental to the children on it:
“We have to start to draw a line in the sand. We have to decide who we really are, and while we’re deciding that, can we at least understand that our first duty is to protect and nurture our children? We don’t lobby. We’ll call a talk show, but we won’t go after advertisers. This has to stop.”
So there you have it folks, everyone is still at odds about whether this show is a positive or a negative. But we’ll have to wait and see if the petitions and the threats of boycotting advertisers will really make Oxygen budge on all this. Do you think it will?