Reality TV and Black Women – Crack of the New Age

By Brittney M. Walker

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Reality television has taken societal values to a whole new low, particularly for the Black community.

With the recent airing of top rated reality show, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Reunion,” I had to step back and wonder about the damage this show along with others like “Basketball Wives,” “Love & Hip Hop” and new, catty series, “Married to Medicine” are doing to the mental state of the Black woman.

These shows are glorifying materialism, scrappiness, drama, gossip, division, and whatever other poisons often associated with a dark hued woman. And the real reality is, most Black women don’t act like that (at least in my world)!

I’m guilty, though, of keeping my eyes glued to the television, wondering if NeNe Leakes is going to slap a ‘hoe.’ It’s like crack! It’s addicting. You know it’s bad, and it’s killing your brain cells, but you just can’t get enough. That’s reality TV. And the proverbial they, are making the big bucks from it.

Someone somewhere should create a reality television three-step recovery program because we are suffering.

This might be the worse thing that’s happen to the Black community since drugs with the 1970s crack epidemic. Yeah, it’s a bit of an extreme comparison, but let’s face it, these shows and examples aren’t doing anything positive to set our future up for success. So, crack it is.

It’s a whole new, legal weapon that just continuously flows like milk and honey from airwaves to television screens, online videos, blogs and even news sites. I’m also guilty of that – spreading the venomous blabber of reality television on websites as a freelance writer. My excuse – I gotta pay the bills. However, without excuse, there is a fine balance and worthy battle I’m fighting.

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While indirectly obsessive over these silly escapades, slaps in the face, boisterous conversations about who slept with who and how, there’s lessons to be learned and that may be the way to calm the storm, recover, and move forward in a more positive way, for us.

But when does the “just entertainment” line or “I got bills like everyone else” line get worn out and overrated. It’s essentially the epitome of avoiding responsibility for the dumbing down of Black people, worldwide. I say that because the fact of the matter is, “Black” American television influences culture around the world, particularly in the Pan African community.

Side note, when I went to Ghana last year, I observed how familiar some of the trends were because they seemed closely aligned with the popularized/propagandized fads of African Americans. This included weaves, clothing styles, Hip Hop (and everything that goes along with that), male/female relations and even materialistic values.

Many of us know that Black culture is more than extensions and gold chains, but according to the images constantly pumped over airwaves and the Internet, we are a primarily surface people with very little worth.

FYI, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” is among the top 10 reality shows on cable television right now, and Bravo is making bank!

Take Mona Scott-Young for example. She is the creator of the “Love & Hip Hop” franchise. Let me say this: that series is #ratchetcity all day. From the back and forth of “Stebie J” and Joseline and Mimi, my mind is fried.

mona scott youngAnd possibility a whole bunch of other people – try 4.4 million viewers.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press (I know, the alleged most prestigious news source in America), she talked about how she left her empire of working with artists and transitioned to reality television. It’s been successful for her. But at what cost?

What’s the answer? I’m not really sure, actually. I can suggest pushing more positive messages with blogs, news articles, video posts and a gamut of other things. But the reality in this reality television talk is that there may be some sick and twisted mentality possessing humanity, the kind that makes us want to hear the dirty stuff. We want to know that someone else’s drama is much more complicated than our own. Or maybe we’ve been conditioned through music, media and even environment and have slowly accepted the terrible representing us. Maybe we’re addicted to negativity. Hmm there’s a thought.

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