Do you remember the Cosby’s, A Different World, Martin and, my all time favorite, TGIF? These 90’s shows seem to be nothing but a blur as “reality” TV has invaded and taken over our television screens. It is not to say that all reality television is horrendous, but in my opinion, quantity has become the priority over quality. Any and everyone can now have a “reality” show without much thought going into the premise of what these shows portray. I thought I had seen the peak of buffoonery after Flava of Love, but I was sadly mistaken. I find it strange that African Americans are constantly complaining about how we are viewed, yet we are the ones who give these “reality” shows the most ratings. Shows like “Real Chance of Love”, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Tiny and Toya” only feed into negative stereotypes that continue to belittle the advancement of our people. This is not only true for “reality” shows where the majority of the cast is Black, but for Whites as well. Shows like “Rock of Love”, “My BFF” and even “Charm School” portray the stereotypes of Whites being alcoholics, promiscuous and clueless. I feel the era of well written television is a thing of the past.
Instead, the consensus is “Lets laugh at the pitfalls and naivety of our own people, but at soon as another race puts me in that same category, I’m going to go off”. Now if these “reality” shows are the only interpretations people have of African Americans, then why wouldn’t they think this is how the majority of us act? I know at this point some may say, “Well Martin wasn’t the ideal pillar of the Black community” and this is true, but that was a fictional sitcom. Once the label “reality” is stamped on something it says that this is REALLY how this group of people interact with each other. The sad thing is that the few people on some of these shows who do exemplify a positive and more diverse image of African Americans are replaced for someone with more drama and controversial life situations (i.e. Deshawn Snow being replaced for Kandi on the Real Housewives of Atlanta).
My point is that:
1. There needs to be more of a balance in programming because right now all of this “reality” is overkill. For ever Frankie and Neffe (SMDH), there should be a show to counteract these views and display that we are more than just something to laugh at.
2. Stop being upset at the image of African Americans in the media when you readily support the chucking and jiving every evening in your home.
It must be understood that these television companies don’t see black or white; they just see GREEN. When revenues drop, that is when programming will change.
If you are one who loves reality TV as it is and just sees it as pure entertainment, then I am not speaking to you. I am speaking to those who are quick to point the finger at B.E.T, yet still indulge in these same shows whose views you claim to detest. Don’t just talk about it, be about it…and I’m out.