Vh1 basketball wives, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Shaunie O’Neal, Mona Scott Young: Ghetto Hot Mess.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Initially this post was to just be directed at Shaunie O’Neal, head basketball wife in charge. Then I saw the picture above and spent half an hour trying to pick up my jaw off the ground. I neglected to include in the ghetto hot mess category Glenda Hersh, the executive producer for The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and Dan Cutforth the producer on Braxton Family Values. They have no special affinity for the Black community and therefore will not be held accountable for promoting negative stereotypes toward their own community. Unfair? Yes. But true. Hersh and Cutforth are still responsible for the trash content they direct onto the airwaves but Mona Scott Young and Shaunie O’Neal are held to a higher standard.

I haven’t really discussed the shenanigans of the “wives” this season because there’s not much else for me to say. They’re negative, they fight, they’re a bad representation of Black women in the media, they’re a shame to their race and they should all go away quickly. All of this is said week after week as these  ladies embarrass themselves more than the time they did before. But what got my attention and forced me to my computer — besides the VIBE cover story — is the sneak peek for next week’s episode. Shaunie O’Neal, apparently in a business meeting says to the apparent Black businessman before her she always gets wary going into business meetings, “especially with Black people” because she’s wondering if they’re thinking she’s just “a ghetto hot mess.” ( The Real Housewives of Atlanta & Vh1 basketball wives )

To answer your question Shaunie, yes we think you’re a ghetto hot mess. You may not participate in all the drama — especially now Gloria’s gone — but the fact you promote it and it’s spin off makes you no better than your bottle throwing, weave pulling, curse hurling castmates. But Shaunie you are not alone in you’re hot mess-ness. Mona Scott Young is right there with you. And the fact you two had the audacity to give statements to VIBE for their June cover story glossing over the drama your cast members tackled head on proves you are living a deluded version of reality.

SHAUNIE O’NEAL, VH1 Basketball Wives
“…Part of creating the show was to show that some of us had aspirations outside of being somebody’s wife or girlfriend or fianceé or baby mama. We would get together and brainstorm different business ventures. It wasn’t all: sit around and be pretty. I go to sleep well at night knowing who I am and what I stand for.” —As told to Clover Hope

“The feedback I’ve gotten from my cast is that it’s difficult being vulnerable and showing the more sensitive parts of their lives. But for them, it ends up being almost cathartic. If in some small way, they touched someone else’s life or told a story that someone else can relate to, I think there’s always something positive to be gotten from it. … ” —As told to Adelle Platon

Ms. O’Neal and Ms. Young, you seem to think by wearing the hat of producer or creator you are somehow separated from the negativity broadcast weekly on your show. You are not. While the women on your shows understand they are not actually role models you somehow seem to think you are. You are not. As a producer I look up to neither one of you women. Instead of using the great opportunity you’ve been given to change the stereotypes about your race and gender you instead feed into them and encourage the image damaging storylines. Instead of stopping the drama in its tracks by calming the volatile personalities and not putting them in positions they obviously don’t want to be in so you can instead focus on the charity events you all so love to get glammed up for and fight at, you leave editors and networks no choice but to include every kick, scratch and scuffle in sneek peaks, super trailers and full episodes because that is what makes money. ( The Real Housewives of Atlanta & Vh1 basketball wives )

This is entertainment television yes, but as a Black woman you two should feel some kind of responsibility to be more responsible to your community, your race and your gender. Black women remain “de mules of the earth” in every aspect of this country and now you two give people in this country more reason to step on us, over us and disrespect us. Have you no shame? ( The Real Housewives of Atlanta & Vh1 basketball wives )

Don’t answer that because I and everyone else who tunes into your show (for guilty pleasure, because you’re interested in the women’s lives whatever) already know you have no shame. We’ve seen Black men and women absolutely lose it on these shows. We’ve seen frivolous lawsuits filed. You’ve single handedly made a mockery of relationships, marriage and the title of wife. And the extravagance is played up in such a way reality is now a Frankensteinian amalgamation of Jerry Springer with the sets of Cribs. ( The Real Housewives of Atlanta & Vh1 basketball wives )

Reading the VIBE article Evelyn, Chrissy, Kandi and Tamar were who they were. The answers they gave and the conversations they had were as conflicted as their on screen caricatures of themselves. While I will take Braxton Family Values any day over Vh1 Basketball Wives, Real Housewives of Atlanta or Love & Hip-Hop this does not excuse the famous singing sisters’ tendency to go off on each other. It’s different with family yes, but Trina really did not need to yell to the world how much she loved her oral transaction with her band member.

Watching reality television will always leave the majority of its viewers displeased with the content. The hypocriticism we display by watching what we criticize week after week is no better than Mona Scott Young and Shaunie O’Neal’s statements, or the very public rebuking of the violence and promise to do better. The responsibility belongs to us the viewers as well. Shaunie O’Neal and Mona Scott Young are no role models and neither are their cast members, but neither are we the Black female viewership who only criticize but never turn away from what we say we detest.

Who Are the Real Role Models for young women of color?

Staff Writer; Nikesha Leeper

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