Monday, January 14, 2013

reality tv

Reality tv is here! And it's here to stay! It's not going anywhere! As long as there is a demand, they will continue to supply it to you

There...I said it. I had to state the obvious.

That said...allow me to vent speak for a moment.

Before I delve into the subject, I will be the FIRST to admit that I have watched reality shows before. You know...The Apprentice, Celebrity Fit Club, The Real World, The Salt & Pepa Show, and the first season of Flavor of Love. I think we all have to view reality tv for what it is...a form of entertainment. I will admit that I found much humor in watching beautiful women THROW themselves at Flava Flav. The former Public Enemy hype man had a ton of models who were fawning over him. The man who penned the song She Watches Channel Zero was once the star of his own channel zero is interesting in itself.  The mere thought of a model drooling over a "handsome hunk" like Flav is pure comedy. least it was to me. But one season of laughs were enough for me and I moved on. And it seems that reality tv has, too.

Some reality tv shows are just downright terrible. More importantly, I think the reality shows that feature black casts (Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives) are horrible. These shows feature "C list celebrities" and their made for tv lives. Reality tv is here because it's cheap to produce and people watch it. However, I am extremely bothered by the images of how black folk are portrayed. Black women are constantly portrayed as loud, combative, and jealous. Black men are portrayed as oversexed and ego driven.

I know what you're thinking..."Kyle, it's just tv. We know it's not real." But it's deeper than that. If you turn on the tv, there a NO black shows with all black casts any more. No more Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons, Good Times, The Cosby Show, 227, A Different World, Martin, Living Single, or Fresh Prince of Bel Air. While blacks are featured on mostly dramas on network tv, there aren't any sitcoms on network tv any more (not talking about cable). If the only time you see a predominantly black cast is when we see Love and Hip Hop, that's a problem. Reality tv took an even bigger turn when the Oxygen Network was set to air a show called All My Babies' Mamas. The show is about a rapper from Atlanta named Shawty Lo and his TEN baby mamas from 9 different women. After threats from civil rights groups, Oxygen has "put the show on hold" and has yet to say if/when they will air even one episode. I'm not sure what's worse...having 10 baby mamas...or the fact that people would tune in by the MILLIONS just to watch. The sad reality is that more than a few black people don't see it as a problem. I'm not sure what day or time any of these shows come on but when they do, my twitter and facebook timelines are filled with their show commentary. Could it be that it's entertainment to them and not to me? Possibly! But you have to look deeper into the specifics of those shows that entertains you.

I can't get into seeing two black women fight each other and degrade each other for a man...for whom neither are married beyond me. It's a modern day Minstrel Show. To me those images are about as funny as a Minstrel Show.

A minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the Civil War, black people in blackface .Minstrel shows lampooned black people as dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, happy-go-lucky and musical. The minstrel show began with brief burlesques and comic entr'actes in the early 1830s and emerged as a full-fledged form in the next decade. In 1848, blackface minstrel shows were the national art of the time, translating formal art such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. By the turn of the 20th century, the minstrel show enjoyed but a shadow of its former popularity, having been replaced for the most part by vaudeville. It survived as professional entertainment until about 1910; amateur performances continued until the 1960s in high schools, and local theaters. As African-Americans began to score legal and social victories against racism and to successfully assert political power, minstrelsy lost popularity.

The bottom line is that until we as a people stop tuning in and demanding better shows, then we're gonna keep getting what we've been getting...or worse.

My boy George Brown said this to me the other day..."There is a big difference between comedy and coonery." And he's right!!!

The one REALITY about reality tv is this...the remote control to the tv is in your hands...

1 comment:

Tyrone said...

I've really come to despise reality TV. It's original for one season, then it becomes a caricature of itself and the people they're trying to portray. I can't co-sign to ANY of it.