All Articles Tagged "love and hip hop"
From The Grio
To take inspiration from Beyoncé‘s hit song, “If I Were a Boy” — if I were a man, I would be spitting mad about how my black maleness is being presented on the Love & Hip Hop franchises.
Seriously, week after week, and over the span of three years, six seasons and two series (with plans of expanding the franchise by two more series), we have watched black men routinely embarrass and flat out dishonor themselves by engaging in some the worse representation of black manhood to be witnessed on television.
And yet it is black men who have been the least likely to stand up and speak out against these unflattering caricatures of their collective image.
The proof speaks for itself
Think I’m exaggerating? Well, let’s take inventory of the “men” who have thus far graced the sleazy showcases of both the Love & Hip Hop New York City and Atlanta franchises. Here are their main stats:
- Peter Gunz: Living with the mother of his two children for over 13 year; has a history of infidelity; keeps his marriage a secret while continuing a live-in relationship with the mother of his kids.
- Lil Scrappy: A self-proclaimed mamma’s boy, with a long criminal rap sheet; did a stint in rehab for marijuana addiction in order to avoid jail time for failing to pass a drug test while out on probation; a womanizer, who regularly cheated on his fiance and mother of his son; had on-air violent fight with fellow Love & Hip Hop Atlanta cast member Stevie J.
- Stevie J: Nicknamed “Sleaze-O” for his inability to stop his womanizing and scheming on women; cheated on his long term girlfriend and mother of his daughter with an exotic dancer, whom he ended up getting pregnant and then goading into an abortion; once used money given to him by his fiance to buy the silence of his baby’s mother; proposed to both his fiance and mother of his children at the same time, which resulted in a huge fight.
- Consequence: Believes that “white is right,” yet even with his white woman has controlling issues to the point that he doesn’t allow his Christian white baby’s mom to attend family function of of respect to his own personal Islamic beliefs; is tight-fisted with money, but doesn’t want his partner to work; is notorious for having several on-air violent fights with fellow Love & Hip Hop NY cast member Joe Budden.
- Joe Budden: A womanizer; was accused of domestic abuse by two of his former cast members, including current girlfriend and co-star Tahiry; a drug addict; was involved in several physical altercations including with fellow cast member Consequence.
Read more at TheGrio.com
Remember Her? Nicole Wray Talks Possibly Doing Love And Hip Hop, And Why She Can’t Mess With The R&B Divas
I haven’t seen Nicole Wray since she was “makin’ everybody wanna bob their heads” (as Missy used to say) with her popular song, “Make It Hot.” The singer, now 32, is still out here making great music under the radar, but that might not be the case for too much longer. While chatting with Malcolm of MalcomMusic, the singer, now rocking bright red hair, talked about joining reality TV soon, and why some shows are just too ratchet for her. Ironically, she said the show that she could be joining next season is Love and Hip Hop, which some would say is the most ratchet of all, but Wray says another popular show with a few divas takes the cake:
On Possibly Doing Love And Hip Hop Next Season:
Wray: “Well someone approached me about it, Love and Hip Hop. I’m thinking about it. I don’t know, I just don’t have time for the drama. If I do it I would have so many freakin’ characters around me they can do all the drama all they want. I’m here to show people that I’m here and I’m still standing. That would be my story. You see I’m here, the cameras will be here. I’m touring. I’m doing soul music. I have big freakin’ read hair, you know what I mean? I have my family that’s supporting me. It’s a possibility.”
Why She Would Do LHH And Not R&B Divas:
Wray: “That’s not me. I don’t want to do R&B Divas. First of all, I’m not a diva. I know that’s what they want to call it but I’m not a diva and I’ve seen some of those shows and I just don’t–
Malcolm: “I would have thought you are, like, not in a bad way. You’ve got the talent and the voice.”
Wray: “I just never wanted to be categorized as a diva. It’s just me. And Love and Hip Hop would be able to show me being me and not this diva because it seems Love and Hip Hop, yeah it’s drama, but you’ve seen people’s personal lives. And LA Divas, or not LA Divas, but R&B Divas, is really about them being divas and just about that music in that pot. I’ve got so many other things going on outside music that I don’t want to just get categorized for just that.
Malcolm: “So we will never see Nicole Wray on R&B Divas, but maybe Love and Hip Hop?”
Wray: “I won’t say never…if the check is right.”
Why R&B Divas Is NOT Her Cup Of Tea:
Wray: “I love them, but I don’t like how they’re getting along. I don’t want the world to see that…I listen to a lot of Kelly Price. Lil Mo wrote the majority of my first album, and I don’t like to see them being like fussing each other out and hurting each other’s feelings because we are what the average girl is listening to. I don’t want people to see me in that light, or cursing Lil Mo out, or letting someone slap me or throw a drink on me because I’m supposed to be who I am and I want to be respected.”
I used to be a big fan of this woman and I’m glad to hear she’s still out here trying to do her thing musically. But should she mess with Mona Scott-Young and Love and Hip Hop? Sound off about it below, and watch her interview with Malcolm Music on the next page.
Steven Jordan, aka Stevie J., has got to get his stuff together. Now. We already know that his business has been thrown in the street for unpaid child support and now, he’s begging his kids’ mother to not air him out any further.
According to RadarOnline, Carol Bennett’s rep told them that Stevie J called Bennett saying they needed to just work everything out…without the public having to know:
”What’s going on, uh I see all this press it’s going crazy and then I see something ’bout a press conference on October 31. I would ask you not to do a press conference…so let’s try to figure out what we doing, what’s goin’ on aight?”
Oh yes, you read that right: Bennett held a press conference last Thursday to discuss the situation. Now, we don’t know who was at said conference – maybe some Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta cameras – but Bennett made a statement saying that her intent was not to have Stevie incarcerated but rather, “to find a resolution and to co-parent with Stevie J. and that means emotionally and financially so that our children can receive the support that they deserve.”
So while Stevie makes a fool of himself on reality television, Bennett essentially adds fuel to the fire by holding a press conference about unpaid child support.
No word from Bennett’s rep, Sibrena Stowe de Fernandez, on whether or not they’ve decided to work this out with Stevie J in public (although she did receive his message before her own version of the dog and pony show).
With parents like these, one can only wonder if the children are more mature.
Last night, love and Hip-Hop returned to the big Apple with the season 4 premiere of “Love & Hip-Hop New York.” Despite the northeast location, we have to say some of the messiness we saw on last night’s episode was rather reminiscent of the down south shenanigans we witnessed on the first two seasons of “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta.” If you watched last night’s episode you know why we said that, but if you didn’t, allow us to fill you in. Here are the craziest moments from the season 4 premiere.
1.So y’all just gone lie to little Mendeecees?
Last night’s show opened with Yandy showing us how she’s gotten on without Mendeecees and has even taken on some of the responsibilities he left behind, like caring for his 7-year-old son, little Mendeecees. Apparently as part of that care, Yandy told her fiance’s mini-me that his dad went away to the army, instead of jail, but little Mendeecees blew the whole lid off of that lie when he told Yandy he overheard the real story and knows his dad is behind bars. While we understand trying to protect his innocence, you can’t exactly do that when you have him on a reality show on national TV. It’s better he hear the truth from those who love him than to find out on his own.
Last night we got our first glimpse into the life of Yandy Smith sans Mendeecees on the season four premiere of Love & Hip-Hop New York. At the end of season three, we saw Mendeecees turn himself into authorities on some pretty serious drug charges, but when Yandy came into the office to talk to us about the next season of LHHNY she told us she’s doing surprisingly well.
Always one to put business and money first, Yandy told us because that’s been her approach to her and Mendeecees’ relationship the entire time, she’s been rocking with that same attitude while her fiance is away for an uncertain amount of time. Yandy also shared a very important lesson all women in relationships should know, which is the fact that she’s doing her while Mendeecees is struggling doesn’t mean she loves him any less, she just loves herself first.
Check out the video to see what else Yandy had to say about being a single parent and building her media empire. What do you think?
Why does Mona Scott-Young want to film the next Love and Hip Hop in Houston? Because it’s one of the best cities on the third coast. We’ve got a bang of reasons why we’re down for H-town. If you got your own reasons to love the Bayou City, be sure to let us know in the comments section.
Essence magazine just released a study surveying 1,200 women on their thoughts on black women in media. The respondents felt the images were “overwhelmingly negative.” Some of the stereotypical images highlighted by the women in the study include categories like: “Gold Diggers, Modern Jezebels, Baby Mamas, Uneducated Sisters, Ratchet Women, Angry Black Women, Mean Black Girls, Unhealthy Black Women, and Black Barbies.”
What instantly comes to mind as the driver of these images are reality television shows like Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop, which dominate ratings. Millions of people tune in every week to these programs, but with a few clicks of your mouse, one woman, Sil Lai Abrams is hoping to change that. The award winning writer, inspirational speaker, and domestic violence awareness activist launched a nonprofit, “Truth In Reality,” whose mission is to “change the way women of color and violence are portrayed in the media, especially on reality television.”
Social media acts as a major amplifier for these “ratchet reality shows.” Fueling the conversation are women from all walks of life. Abrams noticed even smart, educated, successful women she knew were tweeting and watching these shows.
“It’s very disturbing to see women who call themselves Black feminists or womanists who gleefully support the degradation of their sister,” explains Abrams. So, for the past six months Abrams has worked to meet these women where they are by hosting weekly twitter chats, #RealityTVCheck that reach anywhere from 5,000 to 40,000 people per night (according to her organization’s own analytics).
Every Monday, from 8pm to 9pm EST Abrams leads these discussions along with guest co-hosts on Twitter, at the same time many are watching or preparing to watch their “guilty pleasure” reality shows. We caught up with Abrams to get the scoop on her “#RealityTVCheck” twitter chats and how her personal experiences with domestic violence fuels her passion.
Madame Noire: Why are you so passionate about changing the narrative of black women on reality TV?
Sil Lai Abrams: “Ratchet” reality shows promote bullying and violence as an acceptable way to handle conflict. They also cause viewers to internalize negative stereotypes about women of color while simultaneously sending out the message that we deserve to be abused because we’re “bitches,” “violent babies mamas” or “gold diggers.”
MN: Do you remember the moment that first sparked your passion for this?
SLA: I’m a contributing writer to Ebony.com and TheGrio. My focus has been on domestic violence and relationships. Last summer I was reading through the comments online to an article I wrote about Evelyn Lozada being battered by her then husband, Chad Johnson. It was horrifying to see so many people justifying abusing women. What was even more disturbing was that the majority of commenters were Black women who were justifying or even denying that Evelyn had been abused despite evidence. An earlier piece I had written on Chris Brown battering Rihanna got the same response.
As a survivor of domestic violence and adolescent bullying, I know what it’s like for people to not believe that you’re being abused just because you don’t fit the “profile” of a victim. For years no one believed that it was happening to me because I was a “diva” and my batterer was such a low-key, friendly guy – in public. There were people who said the same thing; I must’ve driven him to do it because I was so “mouthy.” These articles reinforced why I had to do my part to try and shift the cultural narrative towards abuse of women.
Given that I’m a communicator by profession, I figured the way this could happen would be if I could educate folks on the damage of viewing reality show violence as “entertainment” and pushing for greater parity in the ways in which we’re being portrayed in the media. Right now there is Olivia Pope and Michelle Obama on one end and the entire genre of ratchet reality shows on the other. We need all facets of our humanity being shown-not just the violent and stereotypical ones that cause society to demonize us as “Jezebels,” “Sapphires” and “Crazy Black Reality Show Chicks”.
MN: What’s the impact of the negative images shown on reality shows?
SLA: Black women suffer from the highest rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, intimate partner homicide and HIV infections in the United States. I’m not saying that cable networks have created these issues. However certain types of unscripted television shows are normalizing behaviors that contribute to the over-representation of Black women in these areas. Researchers have also found that young girls and women who watch reality shows tend to have greater acceptance of violence in their own lives. They also are more likely to believe that “mean girl” behavior like we see on shows like with NeNe Leakes on Real Housewives of Atlanta is okay and expected if you want to get ahead in the world.
Let’s be honest, do we really ever know what people want in relationships? Sometimes I just feel so confused. You have some people who hate drama, and others who gravitate to it. Some people like those who are head strong, and others who like those who are submissive. The problem is, that when some people get what they feel like they want, they don’t want it anymore. Hanging with my guy friends I would always hear what they wanted from a girl, but when they got it, they would complain that she was “too much” of it. Really, dudes?
The one thing that seemed to be a constant would be that guys disliked high maintenance girls. There seemed to be ultra prissy girls that wouldn’t eat food in front of men, and the ones who were just too much. Nothing was ever good enough, and they sought to change the man that they dated. To be honest, I’ve never met these women, they more so seemed like the over the top stereotypes that only resided in movies and dating urban legends, but to some men, not only did these women exist, they have stories, examples, parables of these women. So, I figured that as long as I was low maintenance I could be successful in relationships. That wasn’t a hard thing to do, because I’m low maintenance period, like a Toyota. I don’t like to argue, I stay away from drama, and if you’re exuding bad vibes I’ll avoid you (while also being cordial).
So when I started dating and being in relationships, I tried to be Super-Kendra. I would be attentive to him, but if anything bothered me and I wanted to address it, I would suppress the urge to talk about it. My mind would immediately ask: ”Is this fight really necessary? What do you hope to get out this? Are you reading too much into this?” So, I would try to pick and choose my arguments wisely. But it would sometimes seem that when I would finally speak up, the dudes I was with would play the: “Man, I thought you were different. This is some high maintenance type stuff. …You whining right now…” So, I would stop the addressing, that had apparently turned into complaining, and see the men I was involved with get this entitled smirk on their faces as if they got me to stop talking. Like they knew something that I didn’t.
The truth was, they did know something that I didn’t. I had gone from being low maintenance to being a doormat, and they reveled in that. There was no need for them to be the best boyfriends that they could be, because I would just handle all of their foolishness. But you can’t deal with something like that and be ignorant to your feelings for too long. After a while, I stopped feeling like a Toyota and began to feel like a Pinto.
Now, I know that you all have seen and discussed these people to death, but remember, all of this is new to me. In that episode of Love and Hip Hop New York where Mendeecees gave that informal suggestion of “we should go and get married,” and Yandy’s response was shock with a: ”Is that supposed to be your proposal?!” I became inspired. Now, she loved Mendeecees, but she knew she deserved more than that suggestion of marriage over a dinner table. The same way I felt like I should have realized that over the proposal that came over a text message (which my immediate reaction to the message was: ”Are you drunk?” Yep, should have seen that that wasn’t on a good path to eternal happiness).
So my message to you ladies is that at the end of the day, whether you’re high maintenance, low maintenance, or any other maintenance, you have to find someone who is going to love you. Not someone who’s going to give you the bre minimum and then get mad when you express yourself about it. You are amazing, and if you’re an Escalade, CR-V, Lexus, BMW, whatever, just make sure that you know your worth and never let anyone make your value depreciate.
Kendra Koger is feeling like a Ford Mustang right now. How are you driving? Let’s discuss it on twitter @kkoger.
True Love Is Verifying Your Boo On Twitter, And Other Random Things We Learned From The “Love And Hip Hop” Reunion Part II
And it’s finally over! The season of Love and Hip Hop in New York ended yesterday after airing their final reunion episode, and boy did the absolute most happen. Joe Budden got punched in the back of the head by Consequence, Erica admitted to having sexual relations with Tiffany, Yandy opened up about the currently incarcerated Mendeecees, and basically, the ratch came out of pretty much everybody. Here’s a recap of the mess that we couldn’t help but be confused by last night.
Springer Taught Me: Why It Doesn’t Make Sense To Blame Mona Scott-Young For The Downfall Of Black TV
Picture it: Richmond, Virginia, around 1996. It is Monday, mid-morning, and students on the campus of Virginia Union University are trying to figure out ways to pass the time between classes. While the library would be the most productive option, instead, dozens of students squeeze into the activity room at the Henderson Center and huddle around the television. With so many of us in the room, the temperature always managed to climb to a stifling degree, but whatever discomfort was felt from the heat paled in comparison to what was heating up on the small screen.
You see, between the hours of 11 a.m and 12 noon, it was known campus-wide as Jerry Springer hour. It was the time where we squelched our hunger for the shenanigans. There were public spectacles like a Nazi family reunion with a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner twist; a deceitful lesbian, who tricked a straight exotic dancer into believing that she was actually a dude; and a love triangle involving an amputee man with no legs. It was crass, lewd and very ludicrous. It was the embarrassing part of America, of the community and heck even our own families. And yet here we were, W.E.B. Du Bois’ dream, sitting together in the hollow halls of a prestigious HBCU, hooting, fist pumping and booing every time someone manages to break free from the arms of Steve Wilkos and throw a fist or chair across the stage. Yes, it was shocking and appalling. But in between the tomfoolery, some discussions would happen; sides would be taken, and suddenly the real show was going on inside of the activity room.
Watching Mona Scott Young moderate the reunion episode for the third season of Love & Hip Hop on Monday, I realized how much she reminded me of that golden era of talk. I mean, that reunion episode had it all: lie detector tests, screaming matches, surprise twists, love triangles…and that was in the first 20 minutes. I watched as Mona was a referee between Raqi and Rashidah, who bickered over which of the two was a bigger industry “h*e” (I’m not being facetious; that was the actual conversation). My inside dialogue was like, well that’s just like debating Golden Delicious apples versus Granny Smith apples. However, Scott-Young took a different approach: She had respect for her guests, in this case, her cast mates. She didn’t mock them or make light of their petty disagreements. Instead, she tried her best to get to the bottom of their conflict by giving them the stage to air out their grievances. If the two wanted to deflect or skirt around the elephant – or should I say Joe Budden – in the room, well, that’s on them.
That’s why the whole, “she is bringing down the community”-talk just doesn’t work for me. Or if it does, I feel like this is a conversation we should have been having years ago when we were soaking up Donahue, Morton Downey Jr. and of course Springer. It’s so funny because so many people say that they don’t watch these type of shows and yet the numbers do speak for themselves. I don’t see why we folks have a hard time admitting to liking that there is something more realistic and pessimistically relatable about the people we see on her shows. It’s more than identifying with the characters themselves and what they do (very few of us can put video vixen on our resume), but rather an acknowledgment of the imperfect world we live in, where obscenity-laden screaming matches (with the occasional fist fight) and accusations of being h*e are pretty common. You don’t even have to be at the center of the drama. You could be standing in line at the supermarket or on the train and the drama will pop off around you. Believe me, I have been around some smack downs before and not once did anyone stop watching. Truth is, real life is messy and people can identify more with the emotional roller coaster (should I leave him or should I stay?) of dealing with a cheating partner more than they can the watered down, and often patronizing adversity we get from the Cosby Show-esque clones we have come to associate with more positive representational television.
It just seems like to blame Scott Young for the downfall of black television is a cop-out to all the not-so-kind images of black folks on television before her arrival. There was reality television, there was daytime television, and before that there were soap operas, or as the women in my family would call them: “stories.” No one ever complained about how black women looked on television when Drucilla Barber Winters was getting her Granny Golden Delicious Smith apples on with brothers on the Young and the Restless. Scott Young has just managed to find a way to combine all the melodrama of the soaps with the tomfoolery of daytime talk and call it reality.