I fancy myself a pop-culture pundit of sorts and so am not ashamed to admit that this includes my succumbing to the Reality TV/Celebreality machine. Likewise, I also try to stay abreast of social media buzz and peep what blogs, cyber-mags, and social networking forums are on about. The two mediums seem to go hand-in-hand, particularly when the “Black Twitter” collective is concerned. Black tweeters bring the LOLz and they come, guns blazing, when skewering Black celebrities for some foolish infraction. Black politicians, especially of the Conservative-Republican variety, aren’t beyond Twitter reproach either… (Herman Cain-kabob anyone?).
Perhaps the best, below-the-belt barbs and Twitter hash-tags come during the hours reality shows such as Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Braxtons, Basketbell Wives, Love & Hip Hop and shows of that ilk are on. Some of the more snarky Black tweeters hit their mark with their quips during some of the more ridiculous, off-the-cuff scenes. Then there’re those who incite the rest of us to chorus and ask “Huh?” after they’ve tweeted something… well… dumb or misguided.
Per usual, folks did not disappoint during Love & Hip Hop, which was followed up by the premiere of T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle, VH-1’s latest reality offering, which documents the lives of rapper T.I. (fresh from a second prison stint) and his long suffering girlfriend-turned-wife Tiny, of Xscape and BET’s Tiny & Toya fame.
Surprisingly, Black women on Twitter seemed to saturate their chonies with crème-de-la-lady leche and began espousing the virtues of
hood true love during some of the more pivotal scenes on Love & Hip Hop (when rapper Jim Jones finally implored his mother to stop antagonizing his embattled and always battling lady-in-waiting, Chrissy Lampkin. Jones later pledged his undying affection for Chrissy by placating her o’er top of a roof for a Moroccan inspired dinner with all the decorative fixings). T.I’s – (who makes it known under no uncertain terms, that he wears the pants and bankrolls day-to-day operations in his relationship with Tiny) – obvious loyalty to his blended family and wife is undeniable. In fact, seeing it played out on TV caused a collective genital quake across Twitter however; the relationship has been fraught with well-documented legal troubles and alleged cheating. But this did not stop some women from christening Jim and T.I.’s dysfunctional relationships with their women as the blueprint for Black love. I’d be willing to wager that some of these admirers of dysfunctional love, were some of the same detractors of single-motherhood and suggested single moms should aspire to be like Beyonce and Jay Z, shortly after her pregnancy announcement. They lashed out, calling all Snarky McSnarksteins jealous haters who can’t get a man or sustain a relationship … … … Ok.
One writer for the popular online publication, Clutch Magazine, posted a whole article citing these two televised relationships as heartfelt and wrote:
“Say what you will about Tiny and T.I.’s hoodrich love, but theirs is the type of relationship many long for: Loving, affectionate, fun, respectful, and supportive. Just like Jim and Chrissy, watching T.I. and Tiny interact on screen made it clear that they are genuinely in love and they want the world to know.”
Much to the chagrin of some commenters, who cyber side-eyed the piece…
“T.I and Jim Jones… you have to be kidding! What I don’t understand is this constant need to look to celelbrities [sic] as role models. I mean I really don’t understand it. I would like to hope these old a$$ men would want to settle down. T.I with all those d@mn kids! Jim jones and Dipset with the way the [sic] talk about women…”
Listen, while no one deserves to be crucified for their past and everyone has the right to err, love, and be loved; Why is it that some in our community put these dysfunctional “ride or die” relationships on a pedestal (especially when a man of questionable character is at the helm, trying to overcompensate for having put his paramour or wife through years of hell), yet will belittle others (usually when a woman is the crux of the conversation)? While it’s undoubtedly love that they’re feeling, it just isn’t the standard for Black Love like some people are trying to suggest. Relationships riddled with drama may work for some, but doesn’t for everyone else. And that’s OK.
This comment from the aforementioned online magazine summed it up: “You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife, but you can turn a drug dealer into a husband?” Well, I guess you should ask Beyonce and Tiny. Apparently thugs can grow into men, probably an exception and not a rule though. While it’s cute, sweet, and seems genuine, don’t get wrapped up in the love and hip-hop thinking it could be you.”