You know what? You Negroes have lost your rabbit-ass minds. Did one of you really send me a link to the Change.org petition to boycott VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, requesting that I sign it because I’m adverse to niggerdom? No seriously, was I supposed to waste 90 very precious seconds of my life to cosign efforts to end this show? No, c’mon, aren’t we supposed to be focused on getting Pres. Obama re-elected right about now? Not that I like or have ever seen the show, but why boycott it? Hell, I thought you fools loved that type of ratchetness occupying mental space in your collective heads from week to week. Oh and don’t lie, I see y’all tweeting and talking about it.
OK, so maybe I’m a little different and I don’t; but I guess being outspoken against the coontastic behavior of people with whom I share a melanin affliction, makes me a prime candidate to support such a move. However, not to shit on anyone’s dreams, but this petition is as stupid as the day the NAACP assembled folks in Detroit several years ago to host a mock funeral for the word “nigger,” in protest of lyrics in Hip Hop. A symbolic gesture at best, but as far as impact or the ability to promote and produce change? Welp, the lyrics haven’t changed, and they’re on television.
I, like many of you, watched in complete horror as a cable network debuted yet another reality drama based on black life as it purportedly unfolds in the ATL. I will refrain from mentioning the name of this show because if you saw it then you already know what I’m referring to and if you didn’t then I do not wish to entice or encourage you to seek it out. In fact, the more that I reflect on my feelings about what I witnessed Monday evening, the more I realize that my disgust lies not just with that particular show alone, but with the way that the city which was once a symbol of black progress is now being portrayed in the media as a whole.
Series after series I have watched with great chagrin as popular reality TV franchises select the jewel of the south to lift the veil of mystique behind the city’s affluent and create what ultimately amounts to a ratings bonanza for the networks and a cash windfall for the producers.
Time after time, executive producers from L.A. and New York, where I currently reside- bring their camera crews and A/V techs into our city to create what inevitably amounts to the Jerry Springer equivalent of the franchise’s northern counterparts. A series that historically featured the diamond encrusted lives of wealthy spouses debuted an Atlanta version of the series where the wealth was elusive and spouses were no longer a requirement. More recently, a show about popular entertainers and the women who love them premiered an Atlanta-based installment where the term popular was subjective and women suggested that other women should be put “on the track,” a prostitution reference that is particularly damaging for a city that is already noted for being one of the largest hubs for child sex trafficking in the world. To put it mildly I was offended. To state I plainly, I was aghast.
How is it that a city which was once the crowning jewel in the story of black America has allowed itself to be positioned as the melting pot of black affliction? The Atlanta that I knew and grew up in was one of great pride and self-respect. Our achievements were known across the globe, as people from far and wide would often respond, “Wow, I hear that black people are really doing their thing down there,” when I would tell them I’m from Atlanta. Today that assertion is often met with “Yoooo….I hear Atlanta’s got them bangin’ strip clubs.” …Really?!?
Um, who do you think told us about those bangin’ strip clubs, Kelly? I dunno, but my guess is that it wasn’t some rapper from Des Moine, Iowa. Which is actually kinda funny when you think about the fact that it’s white folks who are largely buying Hip Hop music, and even watching the show.
With 3.6 million people having watched he premiere, surely they aren’t all black.
Yeah, but now somebody has the gall to start a petition on change.org of all places? I’m not a comedian, but the fact that they’re using a website known to advance significant change — you know, like getting George Zimmerman arrested, and countless other issues related to social justice? — to get this particular show off the air, should be the punchline of the year in Negronia. Shit, whatever happened to hitting the pavement or using the internet to get people registered to vote? Nah, that’s not as important as the social activism associated with hating the foolishness on VH1.
Check out the petition:
After we made a ruckus about Basketball Wives, sponsors began to pull ads. Well, it’s that time again, folks!
While we should respect the perceptions and experiences of the men and women featured on “reality” television shows, networks are airing stories that could be very helpful for people to hear, but they’re telling these stories in EXTREMELY dangerous ways.
We all know premium digital crack rock is ‘slanged’ in digital hoods other than VH1. We also know the problem is not just TV–it’s a big, mean, social monster that we’ve gotta shoot down one non-violent bullet at a time. Nevertheless, somebody’s gotta be the face of this lovely movement. And since VH1 has chosen to give us yet another beautifully-blinged jewel of commercial exploitation (Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta), they might as well be the face of change. By the way, shout out to all African Americans who received Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta as their Juneteenth gift! You won and lost at the same time!
As we work toward national- and local-level change, let’s tell VH1 and their sponsors (again) why people from a broad range of backgrounds will NOT stand for the exploitation of the lived experiences of people who may not even know they’re being exploited. This isn’t a “Black or White” thing, this is a HUMAN thing…and we should all understand.
P.S. That “turn of the TV/your kids’ TV if you don’t want to watch” argument doesn’t work here, VH1. A good number of the kids who are most at risk don’t have the luxury of living with parents who can just “turn off the TV”. Why? Because their parents are out working multiple jobs (thanks to this lovely thing called poverty); one or both parents are on drugs, dead, or in jail; or they’re raised by ill grandparents, relatives who aren’t that interested in their future, or foster parents who abuse them and only foster to collect a check.
So now y’all wanna boycott Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta after enabling all the fuckery VH1, Bravo, and Oxygen has provided? Nah, why boycott now? Shit, why not wait until they choose to portray black women as the throwback “Aunt Jemima with a head scarf” character, who’s happy to be slaving in the homes of rich white folks? You know, sorta like The Help but the reality TV version of it? Yeah, let’s wait for that one before we start this talk about boycotts. After all, didn’t we do this shit to ourselves? Yep, Rick James was right: “They never shoulda gave you niggas money!” But then again, that’s how exploitation works. Hell, who better than black folks — or more specifically black women — to once again take pleasure in our exploitation? After all, there’s no way a dope fiend can exist without someone close to enable him or her, or someone to push their poison on them, right?
Man please, start a petition to get Negroes jobs and I’ll be down.