In My Opinion
The Problem With "All My Babies' Mamas" Show Can't Be Fixed With a Petition
There's a big problem and a blatantly missing oversight in the current brouhaha in the African American community around an upcoming reality show called "All My Babies' Mamas" featuring Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo and his 11 children with 10 mothers. And it is this: we did this to ourselves, people.
We did this to ourselves as we sat by “entertained” while black women were snatching weaves, throwing drinks on each other, tossing over tables (see “Basketball Wives” and various other hip-hop shows) and otherwise acting as the beloved Iyanla Vanzant put it "thugs. " The negative stereotyping of these shows is equally as dangerous as Shawty Lo’s 10 mothers. Just because these non-wives or hip hop hangers-on are doing it in Louboutins and trendy restaurants doesn’t make it any better. We allowed these shows, (produced by other black women, no less), to thrive without nary a petition and then we ask why others want to cash in on a different stereotype when we’ve done it to ourselves for years.
We kept the ratings high on these shows. Then we were LOLing, SMHing and ROFL on Twitter and Facebook, making these shows trend on Twitter--a bonus dream for these producers. And they are banking on us to be equally self-destructive for this show.
We created an environment where it is a financial win for a network to portray the lowest of our stereotypes. And if we are to be upset (and rightfully so) about one, let’s be upset about them all.
Then we want to turn around and hold white corporations to a standard we are not willing to hold ourselves to. And while it is particularly disgusting in this instance to see children involved, let’s be clear that our own, BET, has been parading negative stereotypes and demeaning music videos marketed particularly and intentionally to our black youth, for years. Where’s the petition for that?
Where was all this communal power when our own treasured women's magazine had the nerve to put some of these weave snatching basketball not-wives (who are mostly mothers) on a "women's empowerment" panel. Empowerment???
We can't ask others to respect us when we don't even respect ourselves. We can’t demand others treat us better than we treat ourselves. That's like a prostitute insisting on being treated like a lady.
It’s. Not. Going. To. Happen.
We did this to ourselves. We let ourselves, black women and now our black children become fair game for the reality machine.
Now about this Shawty Lo, whom I don't know (wait, maybe I could rap rhymes too!). I'm not sure how he's paying child support or if perhaps these women are in some sort of ghetto “Big Love” arrangement, but these women also brought it on themselves.
All 10 of them agreed to exploit themselves and their children for this show. Not one of them seemed to have the good sense to say, hmmm, maybe not. Not one?? No grandmother, auntie or “Big Mama” in their “village” or extended family pulled them to the side for a reality check.
This is a community failure.
Side note: Ladies, if your boyfriend has two other children from 2 different women already, please wake up and smell the coffee and use some condoms. Or even the Plan B for crying out loud.
We need to work on more individual responsibility in our community, help women value themselves. Help parents parent. Show our children a better way forward.
As far as I’m concerned, the only way to fix this problem is to remove the financial incentive for this type of programming by voting with our remote controls.
Stop watching the foolishness. I did. And I certainly never have and never will allow my children to watch it.
That’s the petition we need to start today.
I will gladly sign a petition declaring that I will not watch such a degrading display.
I will sign a petition where black people and “Black Twitter” agrees to stop tweeting about shows that perpetuate the most negative and dangerous stereotypes of African Americans into the social media universe.
I will sign a petition (twice) begging Iyanla Vanzant to come help these women find their self-worth and fix their lives.
I will sign a petition declaring that I will be a parent mentor for any young mother.
I will sign a petition acknowledging that as a black community, we have failed to protect and uphold our disadvantaged young mothers and children.
I will sign a petition pledging to do my part in removing the financial incentive behind these shows. Because then and only then, will anything ever change.
Now, how many people will sign that?