Maybe there is a foolproof way to combat reality television shows that feed offensive and negative stereotypes: petition, criticize and threaten to stop tuning in.
The strategy reportedly worked for Oxygen’s latest reality show which featured rapper (and former Atlanta drug dealer) Shawty Lo and the ten women who mothered his eleven children. According to The Daily Beast, the show has been axed before it even premieres due to the negative feedback the network received during “All My Babies’ Mamas” publicity campaign. Beast reports that Oxygen will announce the cancellation in the near future.
The backlash against “All My Babies’ Mamas” reached its zenith with a petition by Sabrina Lamb signed by nearly 40,000 people. Lamb told The Daily Beast:
“I love that the people who’ve signed the petition are from all backgrounds, ages, and countries. This one elderly white man wrote me and said even he was tired of the stereotypical images of black people […] This show is about more than a rapper and his girlfriends. This is a show about kids who had no choice in how they came into the world. This show sets them up to be ridiculed and made fun of. None of us should be OK with that.’’
If the rumors are true, we hope the cancellation of “All My Babies’ Mamas” sends a message to networks with similar shows that they cannot continue to profit by exploiting minorities and perpetuating degrading stereotypes.
UPDATE: Oxygen has indeed cancelled the show. “As part of our development process, we have reviewed casting and decided not to move forward with the special,” an Oxygen spokesperson said in a statement to TheGrio. “We will continue to develop compelling content that resonates with our young female viewers and drives the cultural conversation.”