When VH1 released the trailer for “The Gossip Game,” we shared our fear that the show would end up another reality program centered around fighting and drama. After the first episode, we couldn’t help but be turned off by the focus on catty conflicts when what we truly wanted to see was dynamic professional women shining in the male-dominated hip hop industry. The last episode proved that fighting is a re-occuring theme in the series as we watched women engage in animated back-and-forth for the second time.
Many blame the fighting on the producers, specifically Mona Scott-Young. Castmates of her other VH1 show, “Love and Hip Hop” like Chrissy Lampkin, have even gone on record saying some of the conflicts on screen were orchestrated by Scott-Young. In most narratives lamenting the depiction of black women on reality TV, the producers are labeled as the ones to blame.
But Jas Fly, a freelance writer and castmate on “The Gossip Game” wonders if we should look first at the fighting in our own lives instead of complaining about how we’re portrayed on reality shows.
“Sometimes, we as Black women don’t treat one another very well. Societal factors have made us defensive and (often times) insecure about who we are and afraid of who we are not. We’ve been told that we’re all in competition over men, jobs, friends, adoration, etc. And because we are such an insular culture – Black woman are known for watching/dating/buying/talking/living in our Blackness – we turn a great deal of frustration back on one another. We’re so hyper-sensitive to criticism (because we’re SO over criticized) that in the moment we often can’t discern between someone attacking us and someone trying to help us. It’s hard to see kinship in someone you’re determined to make your enemy. So (often times) we fight.
I couldn’t get mad at Mona for the fights that happened between Drama and Viv. Not when I was dealing with the very same things (via toxic email threads, vicious sub-tweets, subversive moves against me etc) in my own life. Mona didn’t make those two women fight. In that moment, instead of risking being hurt or hearing something they didn’t want to, they chose to antagonize one another. This choice is made every single day. And I couldn’t expect Mona to create a television show about us and ask her not to show all of it, including the parts we’re not proud of.
So we can continue to complain about how we’re portrayed on television. Or we can candidly address how we treat each other in real life.”
Jas Fly raises an interesting point: if some of us allow backstabbing, name-calling and fighting to thrive in our personal lives, can we blame reality show producers for reflecting this on camera? What are your thoughts on her perspective, Clutchettes?