The reality of Reality TV and Black Women

From time to time, I like to dabble in Reality TV. What can I say? It is a guilty pleasure. Well at least it used to be, because for the past while I have realised a trend- a trend that went unnoticed because of the purported and evidenced 'entertainment' value of these shows. 

When I say these shows, I refer to reality shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives of LA, Love and Hip Hop and Blood Sweat and Heels. 

Let me tell you, after a hard day or week at work, they used to be my ultimate wind down. I did not have to spend any money to go anywhere or spend considerable time getting dolled up to go out- and that is a good thing!

And so, I indulged in these shows for quite some time, until recently when I realised the trend that I guess has gone unnoticed by millions of viewers or at least if noticed not taken into consideration. 

These shows particularly Real Housewives and Basketball Wives portray successful, beautiful, married black women who in most cases are mothers. And in an age of racial marginalisation on American TV the representation of these black women was seen as a good thing, and I suppose it is. The problem is, that while these black women of the upper middle class are finally being given an international platform, these shows perpetuate the stereotype of the angry black female. And it is NOT pretty. 

Basketball Wives of LA


Ok, angry may not be a bad thing, if you are talking about their responses to the frustrations experienced by black people as they try to make it in today's world. But we are unfortunately not talking about that kind of anger. If we were, we should call it the fire of motivation. 

Sadly, the anger that I see being displayed by these women on these reality shows is one of sheer lack of self-control, huge ego complexes and no ability whatsoever to handle disputes or disagreements in a mature manner. 

Everything and I mean everything is often taken with great offence. From "dry hi's" to someone not liking a wig. I mean the petty reasons are endless. 

Blood Sweat and Heels


And for these petty reasons, these women are prepared to snatch weaves! Cuss outs, fights, brawls the whole nine yards.

And this behaviour is coming from the most beautiful and successful of black women. And as a result of this platform, society is forced to believe that that is all a black woman is- contentious, acrimonious, loud, no diplomacy or self-control and forever needing the validation of other people's approval to feel respected. 

Displaying this kind of behaviour to the young generation of black women watching, does nothing to advance black people. And I think that that is the real tragedy of these shows. It is not what it does for these women's image, but it is the image and stereotype that they are building for young black women coming up the ranks.

These shows show all over the world. And in places where many people of other races do not have that much interaction with black people. These shows provide a glimpse into how black people behave and how they live. And while they show the opulence of black people's wealth and success, it sadly shows black people, women in particular in the most distasteful of ways. Ultimately, these international viewers are left to believe by default that what they see on TV is a fair and true representation of the black woman.

Real Housewives of Atlanta


That is so sad because it makes the strides of black people look insignificant. Because, let me tell you, if you are not capable of self-control, diplomacy and general decency on TV, why should I take your worldly success as anything of consequence. 

In other words, the behaviour of these women is so bad, suggesting a basic lack of commonsense or 'broughtupcy' that one would be forced to assume that getting rich and being successful is something any idiot can do. 

We all know that success takes time, determination, strategy and motivation. I would like to see that portrayed on these reality shows featuring black women and not the emphasis on every cat fight, brawl or hissy fit. Who in their right mind is going to take us seriously and furthermore, invest in us or even just want to fraternize with black woman? 

I think it comes down to this- social responsibility. Everyone nowadays thinks singularly; never thinking about the fallout or the impact that their behaviour or choices will have on the collective. Black people have had to struggle too hard, albeit with great success, but don't let us lose all that we have striven for by showcasing and highlighting the most treasured of souls on this earth- the black woman, as a twat whose worth to society is only to affirm aged old racist ideas.

Petra Marie…Inspired Be