For the denigration of African American women.

 

Well well well VH1’s done it again, it has managed to corner the market of black exploitation, wrapped up nice and tight like a weave for the hungry masses of people to gobble up, and gorge upon happily. I’m referring to the face palm worthy behavior of the “ladies” of the network’s infamous reality series ‘Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’ . For those of you whom aren’t familiar with the premise of the show, it’s basically a real life soap opera centered around Atlanta’s music industry– the good, the bad, and the ratchet. The show’s main host of characters (and I use the term deliberately) are :
Rasheeda (An Atlanta based Hip Hop artist)
 Mimi Faust (the devoted/diluted girlfriend) 
 Joseline Hernandez (ex stripper/music artist)
Erica Dixon (On again/Off again longtime girlfriend of Lil Scrappy)
Karlie Redd (model/hip hop artist/aspiring actress)
K. Michelle (established, but down and out Jive artist)

Other supporting members:

Stevie J (singer/songwriter/producer/dog)
Lil Scrappy ( C-list Rapper)
Momma Dee ( The mother of Lil Scrappy/former pimp) 
Kirk Frost (Owner of D-lo Entertainment, and married to Rasheeda)….pheww. 
Now, that I’ve introduced you to the “cast”, let’s get down to business shall we? But first, let me pose this question, are we as a society becoming desensitized to the exploitation of women? Most importantly, are we  (African American women) becoming caricatures of a sub-culture that seems to find entertainment in the bastardization of our image, and should we be ashamed by it?  Or should we have pity on these poor women, and the hoards of nameless/faceless wannabes that try emulate them or better yet the lifestyle that this show is glamorizing?
 I for one think that it’s a double-edge sword, where on one hand we can extrapolate from a series such as this that the degradation of our economic standing has exceeded to an all time high, so much to the point that as long as there’s a need– a struggle to obtain notoriety through whatever means possible, and a viable market for it, we will continue to see women humiliating themselves on television for a quick buck, and a name in lights. I think shame, as well as responsibility should co-mingle with each other on this one, and as an African American woman, I straddle a line where the generalization of the title can (and will) be used by racists, bigots, and sexists, who will look at tragedies like this (and shows of its like) as a perfect platform to capitalize, promote, and perpetuate the cancer that’s affecting our culture now. These programs are throwing fuel on an already roaring fire, that’s threatening to burn down four hundred years of fighting for equal rights; setting the civil rights achievements back decades, especially with the antics of one cast member, Joseline, who in her spare time whenever she’s not flaunting her adulterous ways on set, she’s flashing pictures of her genitalia on twitter in an “effort to prove that she’s a naturally born female”…Really? C’mon son in my Ed lover voice.
As a self-respecting black woman, I should fly down to Atlanta and smack every last one of them in the face, instead of watching the train wreck of a show, a show where we’re introduced to broken relationships, baby mommas, and baby daddies. Where, one cast member’s mother is a former pimp! and has boasted in one episode about sending her son’s exes to “the track”???? I mean are we serious here? The thing that saddens me the most is that we are! Or at least these women are, and they’re going right for the jugular of American households.
However, we as a community need to truly internalize the subliminal messages that emerge from shows like this, we need to address the REAL long term effect that this will have on our cultural image, and what message are we really conveying to the populous when we tune in to this propaganda–yes, I said propaganda, because that’s exactly what it is. I bet you the producers at VH1 aren’t concerned about integrity, and morals, but the bottom line, ratings, and how to obtain optimal viewership. They’re not concerned about the glorification of infidelity, children born out of wedlock, and the blatant disrespect of black women, they’re not looking at us as mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives; they’re not looking at black men as fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands. They couldn’t care less, and for some strange reason that’s not the most troubling issue, because I as an intelligent individual do not need my validation to come from any outside source. I do not need someone who isn’t me, and has no way of understanding my life, and the lives of my fellow African Americans to construct a palatable “image” for the masses to digest. However, that’s not why I chose to write this, I wrote this because I’m tired of my people letting others define us, because when you let someone DEFINE you, you give them the power to deMEAN you!
Instead of calling each other niggas, and bitches; pulling each other down, and contributing to our own segregation within our own race, let’s uplift, encourage, and acknowledge each other in positive ways.
I’m reminded of a post a friend (an up and coming producer in Atlanta; in fact I’m tempted to get his opinion on what really goes on in Atlanta’s entertainment underbelly…that should be interesting) had posted on Facebook, it was an open letter from notable recording artist Sinead O’Connor in response to the Trayvon Martin case, where she essentially rip our people a new ***hole, but in that same sentiment, she managed to imbue upon us such praise worthy of mention. Here’s an excerpt of said article:
“For those out there who believe black people to be less than pure royalty, let me inform you of a little known, but scientifically proven, many times over, FACT. Which after reading, you will hopefully feel both very stupid and very sorry. For you dishonor your own mothers and grandmothers.
 
EVERY human being on earth, no matter what their culture, creed, skin colour, or nationality, shares one gene traceable back to one African woman. Scientists have named it ‘The Eve Gene’. This means ALL of us, even ridiculously stupid, ignorant, perverted, blaspheming racists are the descendants of one African woman.
 
One African woman is the mother of all of us. Africa was the first world. You come from there! Your skin may be ‘white’.. because you didn’t need it to be black any more where you lived. But as Curtis Mayfield said.. “You’re just the surface of our dark, deep well”. So you’re being morons. And God is having the last laugh at your ignorant expense.
 
If you hate black people, its yourself you hate. And the mother who bore you. If you kill or wish ill on black people, its yourself you kill and wish ill on. As well as the mother who bore you.
 
When you dishonor the the utter glory and majesty of black people, you lie. Your heart lies to you and you let it. Despite seeing every day, all your life, how you and your country would be less than wonderfully functioning and inspiring to the world, without the manifold and glorious contributions made by the descendants of African slaves, who did not by the way actually ask to go to America and leave their future families there to be disrespected for eternity.
What are you doing hating yourself by hating your brothers and sisters who daily show you nothing but inspiration and love, despite having NOTHING, in their own country? Despite having barely a chance of anything, because of racism. Despite being granted no ‘permission’ for proper self-esteem.
These beautiful people continue to believe in and even manifest Jesus Christ better than you do. That alone could stand as the greatest reason your racism is blasphemy, were it not for all the other reasons.
 
These people you hate and fear ARE the body of Christ, just as we all are. Every child, woman or man. And they know it. Maybe thats why you cant bear to look at them. Because you see Jesus Christ and you cant stand the light…”
 
Now, if a person who knows absolutely nothing of what it means to be black, but still can see the majesty that we possess, makes me wonder, why can’t we?
Think about it.
Love.