Stereotypes? Who’s Stereotyping? Oxygen Finally Speaks Out About “All My Babies’ Mamas” Controversy

31 comments
January 7, 2013 ‐ By
Source: Oxygen.com

Source: Oxygen.com

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?

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  • scandalous7

    The point is , we must draw a line somewhere.

  • scandalous7

    The point is , we must draw a line somewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/MizzJazzyPeach J Mc

    This show like any other show is just another platform for parents to teach their children what not to do and how not to act. Television shows are brought about because of ratings and despite protest if the ratings are good the show stays. There are going to be a lot of things that are going to exploited for ratings but parenting comes first.

    Now outside of children being exposed to this, if a grown a$$ person see’s this and believes that every black person has this type of situation and acts this way then, they are ignorant as he!!, have a lot to learn about stereotypes, and their opinion means sh!t too me if they are easily influenced by a TV show and no research.

  • realadulttalk

    I guess “in a sense” this show isn’t all that different from Sister Wives (that’s the name right?)–but I’m not a fan of that show’s premise either–I’m not watching this–but I don’t think I’m necessarily the demographic at which it will be aimed.

  • hollyw

    I’m obviously not going to watch this show, but as a person who works with minority teenage girls, an extremely impressionable demographic, I think tv, reality tv in particular, has just begun to get so irresponsible that they need to start showing it on HBO. SERIOUSLY.

    Majority of the people who are going to watch this are the same demographic that watch Bad Girls on Oxygen; Black girls in their early- to late-teens, and early 20-somethings. I heartily disagree with the dismissive statements that it’s fully the parent’s (or “Black society”) responsibility to regulate their children’s media exposure, b/c it is virtually impossible to completely do so in this day and age. I think it’s time that instead of Black folks accepting these inflammatory representations w/ a sense of shame over darker aspects of the Black experience in this country, that we begin to take a firmer stand against what we will and will not take as far as borderline racist entertainment making a mockery of us. I stand with Sabrina Lamb, b/c it all just needs to friggin stop!

  • Kenedy

    The biggest blow to oxygen is if nobody watches it….this petition is giving it publicity & now people who would have never heard of it, have heard of it…& some will probably watch it. Ignore this nonesense! Don’t watch it!

  • annette

    stop buying into this “black folks stereotypes” who the heck do you think is behind all these “stereotypical” concepts except for the” people ” who believe them and introduced them in the first place and you ll keep falling for it while the people on sister wife’s got FOUR new homes and no jail time

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malaika-Angel/100000835938433 Malaika Angel

    If our ancestors had the mentality of those on this board, we’d still be living in Jim Crow American. So, if it doesn’t affect you, so what? This is why so many of us scrap the bottom of the barrel with that ignorant mantra. People have no sense of dignity when it comes to their own people. I think God for those like Marcus Garvey who didn’t sit back and just let thing happen just because things happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malaika-Angel/100000835938433 Malaika Angel

    I can’t tell anyone else what to do, but I know what I’M going to do. I signed the petition (people say it may not help, but I say, it won’t hurt), I will boycott Oxygen and the sponsors of this show.

    I think their explanation is lame, and it’s a shame that some will buy into it regardless.

  • Pivyque

    I did sign the petition, but if it airs, I just will not watch. I don’t watch that network anyway, so it’s not like it will interfere with my life lol It’s just a show. Heck, if they air this on the food network or DIY, then I will throw a fit!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=805190 Linda Chavers

    has Lamb never seen “Maury”?

  • Emm

    This show does not bother me because I do not see myself as a reflection in it. It a show about a man with several children with different mothers. To me this is the same as a fictional TV show or Honey Boo Boo. People have lives like this. Why do we want to spend so much time and effort giving these people your effort to make a petition???

    I grew up with two married parents. I’m 25, unmarried, without children. I do not see myself ever having children outside of marriage.

    This show is not a stereotype or an abomination to the black community because many of us don’t live this way. But some of us do. Why must we spend so much time looking at everything like it reflects on us? If you’re educated, hard working, and you surround yourself with respectable people I doubt any of them think you have a bunch of baby mama drama or several children. Its the light you cast yourself in that matters.

    We as a community need to stop wishing that everything painted us in a positive life and just make sure you paint yourself in a positive life…

    That was me rambling so hopefully that made sense haha.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lashton Leah Ashton

    If they say this is about one man, why is everyone so upset about this particular show. There was no uproar when they let freaken Honey Boo boo on the air, none for basketball wives nor real housewives of Atlanta. I have read this article and if they are going to portray the positive aspects of it change the name.

    • Ms. Kameria

      I was just thinking the same thing. They couldn’ t come up with a better title for this “family oriented” show.

  • IllyPhilly

    Oxygen Network: Y’all n!66as gonna watch so STFU.

    LOL, that’s what I got at least from reading this.

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    I say go ahead. Show it. Maybe we need to be shown a mirror on our culture and be humiliated into striving to never allow ourselves to be like them, to be better than that, and return to our roots – marriage before babies with one man and one woman. . . .

    • get real

      Smh. Some of u blk women don’t have the sense that god gave u.

      • Ms_Sunshine9898

        and some you black men couldn’t think with an ounce of common sense if you were getting a set of instructions in crayons and pictures. . .

    • http://www.facebook.com/lashton Leah Ashton

      i think that starts with us teaching our children that, not a tv show

      • Ms_Sunshine9898

        I agree, but when our children aren’t having the best of role models, unfortunately they’re having to figure it out for themselves. . .

        • hollyw

          …so how does that justify showing a stereotypical show that is on a supposed “family-friendly” network..? Additionally, “we” don’t need a mirror. Those of us that know better, do better. Those that don’t will simply just see this show and be jealous that they didn’t make the cut.

          • Ms_Sunshine9898

            and you think every solution is supposed to be perfect? I didn’t see your solution. but that’s ok, I know you’re too concerned with making sure that you’re not include in the madness that is apart of our community versus discussing ways to improve the entire community. . .

            • hollyw

              Actually, I did post a solution. You must be mistaking me for a different demographic.

              • Ms_Sunshine9898

                right. . . not watching this show is going to change the mindset of the black community. . . ok, you continue to play in la la land. . .

                • hollyw

                  …aaand that wasn’t even the solution I offered, so again, if someone is having difficulty deciphering reality from their own perception, it is not I… You seem to need to learn how to accept that others disagree w/ your stance maturely and move on, ma’am. Good luck.

                  • Ms_Sunshine9898

                    And that’s where you’re wrong. Your “Us” and “Them” mentality is your true downfall . .

      • http://www.facebook.com/kahlijr Kahli Randall Small

        leah u r so right! furthermore, putting it on tv like this glamorizes it. and let’s not act like trying to show the “mirror” hasn’t backfired for other networks, ala MTV’s 16 & pregnant. the show was popular but they made these teenage moms into celebrities that young girls idolizes so much that they were getting pregnant on PURPOSE so they could audition for the show. teaching right at home IS where a difference is made, not by making it look like cool fun on tv.

    • MLS2698

      This is a little off subject, but I came here to vent, so I will use this article to do that: I just saw a video on ” BET ” by ” Trinidad James ” ( had no idea who he was) and this fool looks like a gold grenade exploded in his raggedy, crooked-teeth mouth. So, this must be a trend to look foolish on TV. #PLEASETELLMEITSJUSTENTERTAINMENT

    • 1Val

      I disagree. Oxygen is exploiting stereotypes with this show. Shawty Lo’s confirms stereotypes of black men being irresponsible,sex starved depraved animals capable of procreating but lacking character, integrity and morals to sustain and provide for their children. It also casts black women as sexually deviant women who birth children by random men with little to no regard for their children’s future, culture and heritage.

      This program isn’t any different from other stereotypical shows such as Ice Loves Coco, Khloe and Lamar and Kendra’s reality shows pandering to stereotypes of faithful loving rich black athletes/entertainers propensity to commit to as well as preference for white women. How many reality shows with black athletes married to black women are on television now? There are too many black women who believe mainstream media’s brainwashing of rich black men prefer to date and marry non-black women.

      48 Hrs mainly features black criminals just like Cops. Not only are our television shows broadcast in America they are aired worldwide. The images of blacks portrayed as immoral, criminals, self-hating, lustful, greedy is not one we should tolerate. The Civil Rights Movement demonstrated our power of economic boycotting. Perhaps Shawty Lo’s show will inspire action to prevent his show from airing and remove other black caricature shows from networks.

      • Ms_Sunshine9898

        of course they’re exploiting them. duh! there are always going to be women who are looking for that captain save ‘em regardless of what race and background they are, that much is true. but until we as a community have enough our own foolishness, we will continue to be exploited and until we look at ourselves deep and hard and see the error in or ways, we will never desire change. taking a show like this off air doesn’t stop the madness from happening, it just stop us from having to look at it. . .

        • Ann

          Of course Oxygen is trying to exploit blacks. They will say anything to get this show on the air. It will start so they claim as positive but they will eventually tell them that the ratings need to be a little bit higher and you all need to be more aggressive, let’s add some cussing and a fighting and they will pay them dummies more money and they will be stupid enough to do it. While Oxygen is laughing all the way to the bank. Oxygen can say what ever they want. I call it a bunch of junk. I wish people would stop looking at these foolishness of shows.

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