I think that most of us can agree that reality TV has somewhat of a negative impact on how women of color are portrayed in the media, but just how much of an impact is debatable. During the Essence Music Festival, MSNBC’s Lean Forward host, Melissa Harris-Perry sat down with Issa Rae, Kenya Moore, Tonya Lewis-Lee and The Grio’s Joy Reid. During the chat, the ladies touched on the never-ending discussion about the relationship between reality TV and it’s relationship with detrimental images of Black women and things got fairly interesting, as the ladies shared their varying views.
“Kenya, you take all kinds of criticism and so I appreciate you being here, in part because I despise like positive vs. negative. I’m more interested in complicated. So tell the complicated story,” Harris-Perry said, offering Kenya an opportunity to share her stance on the debate.
Never being who is short on words, Kenya jumped right in.
“I think with our show, we are the number one show on the Bravo network and that’s for a reason. When people Black, White, Asian watch our show, when women watch our show, they identify with the women that they’re seeing. They’re mothers, they’re women, they’re married, in relationships. You show them in everyday circumstances dealing with their problems and trying to navigate their lives. That’s what women identify with. It’s not neceserrily the negative aspect, although we do see some of that… That’s what they’re tuning in for, to see what everyday life looks like.”
Melissa went on to discuss how stereotypes portrayed on television by African-American reality TV stars stain the images of everyday Black women in the minds of society.
“People who live in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones,” Kenya responded. “No one’s life is perfect. I don’t see Jesus walking around here. So we all have those moments, but those moments aren’t captured on television. I think that’s the difference. Our show is a reality show and with that you open yourself up to those vulnerable aspects of your life.”
Turn the page to check out footage from the discussion. Do you tune into reality shows because of the reliability of the cast?