All Articles Tagged "positive images"
“You are a non MF factor, **tch.” This has become known as one of the popular and defining phrases of one of reality television’s most interesting shows, Basketball Wives.
Basketball Wives, which is a peculiar title for a show that currently features only one wife (Meeka Claxton), is in its third season and appears to be getting more “entertaining” with its signature gamut of fighting and physical aggression, cussing, arrogance and childish behavior.
Critics of Basketball Wives have described it as “an embarrassing depiction of black women,” “a Jerry Springer-like show that exploits black women to the lowest common denominator,” “ghetto garbage,” and “a vehicle that perpetuates stereotypes of black women as gold digging, materialistic and superficial beings.”
Shaunie O’Neal, the executive producer of the show, recently defended her creation in a recent CNN commentary by stating that Basketball Wives was uplifting and that she was against the negative portrayal of Black women in reality shows. Specifically, Ms. O’Neal denoted the following:
“Let’s face it, we all know women like the ones on “Basketball Wives” and countless other reality shows: Women who are vocal if you cross them. The problem for me is when black women are portrayed as only being that way and labeled different than their non-black counterparts for the same type of behavior. That’s when it becomes negative and damaging to our image.
I’m not saying we have to create shows that only paint a pretty picture about who we are, but there should be a balance and most of all some integrity to the shows we create.
I do believe some of the shows featuring African-American women have positive story lines and are not meant to tear black women down. Shows like [BET's] “Tiny & Toya” and “Monica: Still Standing,” [TVOne's] “LisaRaye: The Real McCoy,” [VH1's] “What Chili Wants” and [WE tv's] “The Braxtons.” They all have the same core storyline — single, exes of high profile men, trying to raise their children and get their lives back on track. I believe that is positive and when handled properly can be very uplifting and empowering for women going through the same issues, no matter their race.
That’s why I wanted to do “Basketball Wives.” I wanted to show what life is really like when you are with a professional athlete — and that sometimes all that glitters isn’t gold.”
Is O’Neal being hypocritical in this abovementioned assessment? Is Basketball Wives really an uplifting and empowering show? In my professional opinion, I do not believe that the show is empowering for women and especially young daughters. Furthermore, I believe that Basketball Wives is anti-progressive in helping to move the Black community forward.
To act in an unbecoming manner as consistently displayed on Basketball Wives is not constructive, enlightening nor positive. There is simply no way of putting a positive spin on this material. What kind of message is being sent over to young women via this show? It’s fine to solve all your problems with profanity, fighting and tearing another woman’s hair out. It’s okay to be angry, nasty and rude. It’s alright to be uneducated and to leech onto a professional athlete. Uplifting? Seriously?
Ms. O’Neal had the opportunity to make the show somewhat meaningful by casting “basketball wives” who were drama-free, respectful and accepting. But, no, these types of women would not make for good television. Specifically, Ms. O’Neal stated the following in a Sister 2 Sister interview:
And, I had some other original choices that just didn’t work out after we got a mini kind of casting reel of them. It was like, eh, not so exciting anymore. It was one wife I talked to, she said, “All I do is take my kids to school and pick ‘em up and cook dinner and have it here and go to the game.” Well, that’s not going to work for TV.
It is interesting and somewhat disheartening that throwback episodes of the Cosby Show remain as the bastion for positive Black family life and values (i.e., accepting responsibility, celebrating family, breaking stereotypes, respect, etc). Hopefully, with new shows like Reed Between the Lines and new Black networks such as Legacy TV and the HBCU Network, African-Americans can look forward to educational and inspirational programming that give individuals something to look forward to and that actually helps the Black community move forward instead of backwards. That’s the type of “reality” that must be projected for existing and future generations.
Anthony Jerrod is a bestselling author, speaker, and public policy expert.