All Articles Tagged "reality tv"
There is nothing like seeing someone who looks like you on the cover of a magazine. Beautiful Black women, all shades, and hues, lending their testimonies of struggle and success. That is why I felt an extreme sense of pride when I saw the May cover of Essence magazine. When I picked up the magazine, smiling back at me were five of the most prominent Black storytellers, directors, and producers who have the added bonus of being amazing women: Issa Rae, Mara Brock Akil, Debbie Allen, Shonda Rhimes and Ava Duvernay, dressed in all white. I immediately flipped through the pages to read the article.
Over wine and cheese in Beverly Hills, these women discussed everything from the increase in the number of young people of color in the business and the positive effect it’s having on mainstream television, to the strain success has had on their personal lives. I could feel the camaraderie and respect amongst these women through the page. It was inspiring.
After I had read the article, I turned on the television, and on came Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. Out of nowhere sprang an interesting thought. I could not help but to wonder if there is room for Mona Scott-Young at the table with her fellow Black storytellers and producers?
Mona Scott-Young is the founder and CEO of Monami Entertainment. Under Monami, Scott-Young holds both film and television credits. Her most popular production is the Love & Hip Hop docu-series on VH1. The franchise is the top-rated show on VH1, with the season 4 debut of Atlanta pulling in 6.2 million viewers, marking the show’s highest rated season premiere yet.
It seems that many people have a love-hate relationship with Scott-Young. They hate the content of the Love & Hip Hop franchise, deeming it “ratchet television.” However, there has to be something people love about it because they keep tuning in every week. Within right, people are always questioning Scott-Young’s motives and why she would produce a show where Black women are portrayed as stereotypical characters who are violent, argumentative, loud, oversexed, and belittled by men. In an interview with MTV’s Sway, Scott-Young said that these women “have every right to tell their stories. I think they’re valid stories, and judging by the numbers, they’re stories that people want to see and hear about. But if this is not your cup of tea, there are other great shows on other networks that you may view as well.”
And she is right. There are other great shows on other networks to indulge in. Two of my favorites are ABC’s Scandal, written by Shonda Rhimes, and BET’s Being Mary Jane, written by Mara Brock Akil. Both ladies, as previously mentioned, graced the May cover of Essence and were touted as “Game Changers.” Scandal chronicles the turbulent life of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Washington’s most prominent “fixer.” One major part of Olivia’s storyline is that she is having an affair with the President. Affairs seem to be pretty popular on television these days–just watch the first season of BET’s Being Mary Jane. Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union) has a lucrative career in broadcast journalism and this past season, she landed the prime time anchor position on her network. Yet at the height of her career, Mary Jane finds herself single and feels that the only way she will be complete is if she gets married and has children. Mary Jane, like Olivia, in an attempt to move past a very married admirer, explores a sexual relationship with several different men. While their lives are a bit on the messy side, we tout them as complex characters. Real women.
But are characters like Olivia Pope and Mary Jane Paul also perpetuating some of the same stereotypes and negativity about Black women that Scott-Young is accused of showcasing? Are the women of Love & Hip Hop just as complicated as these two beloved protagonists?
Akil, like Scott-Young, is unapologetic about including the sexuality of black women in her stories. In the Essence article she states, “We’ve been presented before as asexual or as whores. No, I’m a human being. I’m a human being, and human beings were made to be touched and have sex so that they can make more human beings. That’s just how it works. I certainly want to highlight it. I want our humanity in our sexuality.”
Rhimes agreed with Akil and said, “I just began a systematic push that we were going to talk about sexuality equally, in the same way. We’re not going to pretend that…Listen, if you could shoot someone in the face on television…I hope to God my child never shoots someone in the face, but I really hope she has wonderful sex.”
This systematic push is evident in all of their shows, and even in Scott-Young’s programs. These women have chosen to tell the stories about Black women as authentically as they know how without allowing the burden of stereotypes to deter them from creating work they feel is necessary. Rhimes, Akil, and Scott-Young both manage to monopolize their perspective networks in a predominantly white male industry. That, in and of itself, should be commended.
Don’t get me wrong. I am disheartened by some of the women’s choices on Love & Hip Hop. Moreover, being a part of a Black Greek Letter Organization, I could not bring myself to support Sorority Sisters, a program Scott-Young was allegedly tied to at some point in time. However, even though I may disagree with some of her content, it does not lessen the history she is making on television.
As Akil said, we — Black women and men — are human. We make mistakes. We are not abnormal. We are not strange. Some of us go off to college and become successful in our careers while others may remain loyal to the ways of our ‘hoods. We are doctors, lawyers, and scientists. We are also strippers, drug addicts, and adulterers. Just like every other race, we are full of complex and very different people. Because we are ridiculed and stereotyped so much we try to hide and cover up those members of our community whom we feel don’t represent us well. However, no matter which category you may fall into from those looking from the outside in, as an individual, you do not fit in a box, and your story deserves to be told.
So should there be room for Scott-Young at the table (or on the cover) when discussing Black women who are making strides in telling our stories on film and television? Absolutely.
Reality dating shows have been a TV staple since The Dating Game. If you have watched them over the years, you will be still surprised to discover these behind-the-scenes secrets from some of your favorites.
There is something inherently humbling about apologizing. It’s the action of admitting that “I am wrong, and you were right.” Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to do for some people.
However, after watching this year’s batch of reality television so far, I saw a few instances where people should have apologized, but they didn’t.
So let’s break down these times, and share any that you felt I missed.
We know we shouldn’t watch, but we can’t turn away. Check out these guilty-pleasure reality TV shows we wish were still on the air. Did we miss yours? Include it in the comments section!
During this past episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” Kandi and Todd have been on two different pages. There were several communication issues that seemed to trip them up. Kandi’s play was canceled and in response Todd asked her if she “did her research.” And though he might have been trying to provide a solution or rationalize the cancelation, it came off as dismissive and insulting. Of course she did her research! Kandi is a businesswoman. But I digress.
Then when the two were in LA filming, Todd decided that he was going to hang back for a few days afterward and kick it with his boys.
This compounded by the fact that they’d only had sex once that week, led Kandi to believe that he might be stepping out on her. And Kandi told her friend Carmen that she suspected Todd of cheating. Sadly, all of this took place on camera.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times; when it comes to relationships, sometimes it’s just better to keep your drama and messiness behind closed doors. And as a newlywed, Kandi is also learning that lesson.
As soon as Todd and I got married he had to leave for LA to start production on his show. We went from being together every day to going weeks without seeing each other. It took some time to adjust. Things were tense for a short period of time, but we’re great now. I do regret talking about it on TV. I’m a very open person, but I’m learning that it’s not always a great idea to be an open book when it comes to your marriage.
Let the church say Amen!
We could go on and on about the couples whose marriages have failed with the help of reality tv. Though most of us don’t have cameras in our homes, the same concept applies when you consider telling your friends about every argument and issue that arises in your relationship. Sometimes…no, most times, it’s better to work it out amongst yourselves, or with a neutral third party, and keep it moving.
Basically, when you tell your friends and family about the drama in your relationship, they’re listening as people who are loyal to you…not your man or partner. They’ll be looking at him crazy from now until eternity if you ever mention anything he might have done wrong. Even after you’ve moved past the argument and the dust has settled, your people will still be holding a grudge. Not to mention, you conveniently forgot to tell them how you were acting a fool. They weren’t there for his apology and the resolution and you didn’t update them on how his behavior has changed for the better. One, because those make up stories aren’t as juicy and two, because they’re not in the relationship and have little incentive to forgive his offenses.
That’s just what happens when you invite outside opinions into your relationship.
And that’s what Kandi is doing by discussing her relationship with Todd, not only with her friend, but with millions of viewers around the country and world. Inviting them to cast judgment without knowing even half of the story. As one of my coworkers mentioned, it also adds fuel to that very messy fire Mama Joyce started. God knows the world doesn’t want her to be right about Todd. But I’m sure listening to Kandi discuss what seem like normal communication issues is making her feel really validated right now.
But it’s hard not to discuss your relationship when you roll deep with your man and cameras are following you around all the time. As we were discussing this at work, someone suggested that it might be time for Kandi and Todd to step away from RHOA in an attempt to preserve their marriage. I’ll be honest, my first reaction was “Nooooo.” I don’t even watch RHOA anymore but when I did, I always appreciated Kandi’s levelheadedness and her ability to avoid the cattiness that has been associated with the show. If she leaves, doesn’t it seem like all hell will break loose? Who is going to bring the ackright?
And while the show might take yet another dip in classiness, it just might help to keep Kandi and Todd together.
These celebrities say reality TV is their favorite guilty pleasure. Read on to find out the stars addicted to reality TV, what they watch and how they got hooked.
“Sorority Sisters” wasn’t liked from the jump. Folks were ready to boycott Mona Scott-Young and VH1 the moment they saw the previews. Enough was enough already with portraying Black women in such a negative light. Even though some of these reality shows are now off the air, there have been many more over the years that have given Black women a bad look. Unfortunately, these shows are just a few portrayals of Black women we find on television.
There used to be a time that after all of my hard work throughout the day I could come home (or to my dorm), kick my feet up, and veg out to some reality television. Yes, some of the people involved were incredibly petty, and didn’t seem to have a full grasp on reality, but it was entertaining.
But now… I don’t know. Maybe I’ve gotten too old to enjoy it? They say that most things in life will have a season, and maybe my enjoyment of reality television is coming to an end?
However, until I stop tuning in every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, can I just say that I’m getting a little annoyed with this reality season’s shenanigans? The year, literally, just started and my eyes are already exhausted from eye rolling. Let’s go through the list, and feel free to add your own. Let’s commiserate together!
Not everyone’s reality show ride takes them all the way to the top. When these stars’ 15 minutes were up, they looked up and found that they’d lost it all.
Now that we’ve said goodbye to 2014, it’s natural to use some retrospection to help guide us in the new year. Well, reality television can be a catalyst, not only for foolishness, but for lessons learned.
With that written, here are some of the lessons that reality television taught us last year.