Headshaking, bling-hoarding, trash talking—this is the image of the Black woman on reality TV. Long gone are the days of Claire Huxtable, Vivien Banks (the original one) and sadly Oprah *tear* with their fierce yet fabulous demeanor from our weekly/daily television existence…sure we can catch Nick at Night and OWN to get a glimpse of “what was”, and I often do because “what is”, has me SMH constantly! Since the advent of the Real Housewives of Atlanta (thanks Bravo) the formula for Black women’s TV success reality or otherwise has gone as follows:
Nasty (head snapping) Attitude+ Weave pulling=TV Gold
Every show since then, featuring Black women, whether on reality TV or an actual sitcom/drama (remember those?), has the same formula… with each season that passes, the behavior becomes more outlandish and considerably more disturbing! It has me wondering… is America interested in learning anything more from us? Or is this the best we can do? A while ago I had a conversation with a friend who told me point blank, “America is not interested in smart, beautiful, black women.” I cringed when he said this. But with every click of my remote…his words continuing to replay in my mind, piercing my heart…has me questioning, “Is he right?”
From the Braxtons to Basketball Wives, to RHOA, the hope I once felt about the rise of the “Obama Era” of TV has begun to fade. Call it naivety, but I did believe that with the swearing in of our first Black President and his beautiful family— that America would see, celebrate, and embrace the diversity that the Obama’s represented. No longer was the upwardly mobile, attractive, and loving Black family just a television fantasy—it was real and in the White House.
Oh, how wrong I was…
Now, there are countless bad shows on TV depicting Black women as callous, self-absorbed, maniacs…it’s as if reality TV has created this nauseating behavior as the new norm and the Obama’s of the world the exception. Ugh!
Seriously, this can’t be the image that we allow to be exported across the country and around the globe— where people have limited exposure to Black women. Do we really want the NeNe’s of the world to be our ambassadors? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The only way to stop the madness is to invest in shows that portray us as the complex and beautiful individuals we are…not the caricatures they want us to be. Now, I love LL, but we need to let the world know that there is more to us then “a Fendi bag and a bad attitude”!
Here is some Black female talent we miss…