Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. I really don’t know where to start with this one. I have mixed emotions regarding the show. On one hand I absolutely love the show because it is full of the stuff that good reality television is made of – lots of drama. On the other hand, I realize that shows like it and Basketball Wives are creating a public image of our culture that will cause more harm than good.
Let me take up the former first. Anyone who says that they aren’t attracted to drama is a liar. As humans we feed off drama. Some sort of conflict is necessary for any good piece of entertainment and news. We are generally more comfortable with dramatic shows that aren’t depictions of reality. See, we really can’t handle the truth. The sole reason I love Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and shows like it is because for once people are vulnerable enough to allow their mess to show. We watch the train wreck waiting to happen because we have all experienced some derivative of what is going on. Don’t admit. You don’t have to. I know it to be true. I have yet to meet a woman who hasn’t sacrificed herself at some point for a man. Maybe your sacrifice wasn’t like MiMi’s or Emily’s, but you made one. The beauty of the women on these shows is they are not afraid to expose themselves. Some would say they are chasing a dollar and degrading themselves for a quick buck and 15 minutes of fame. I say there are some people you can’t reach with traditional methods. It will take shows like this to help them see themselves in these situations … to give them the strength to go on. So, call the women pathetic and pitiful if you would like, but at the end of the day we can relate in some way to what they are going through.
How many of you are fighting for your dream? And how many of you have trusted the wrong people, but when you looked up no one was there for you? You felt alone and didn’t know how to keep going … but you found the strength to do so and you are still fighting? And the haters are still there hating. Story sound familiar? Well, that’s KMichelle’s story. She is fighting for her dream. Along the way she got got by a man she loved and trusted. She has an opportunity to share her testimony and show the real struggle behind it. We often hear a testimony after the person has made it over. We never see the dirt and struggle it took to get over. She’s in the struggle and showing us everything. I can appreciate that. And it doesn’t help that she is getting a fat paycheck in the process.
I could break every one of the women on the show down in the same way. Each woman has a story to tell and this show is giving her an opportunity to tell her story. It’s giving us an opportunity to look at them and see their pain, analyze our lives and start making a change.
I always tell people about my favorite quote from Lauryn Hill. To paraphrase she says that we should all stop trying to hide the bull-ish going on inside. Expose it because it frees you and when you do, you will realize you are like everyone else. Maybe then we can start dealing in truth and reality and not lies and fairytales.
I am not foolish enough to believe that all these women saw this as an opportunity to share a testimony. This is a business. Television is a business.
Which leads me to my next point.
I definitely feel like VH1 is making a killing off of us. While my feelings aren’t as strong as Franchesca Warren’s, I definitely believe that major networks are exploiting the people on the shows. While I stand firm on my belief that the shows can help someone and they tell a derivative of all people’s reality, I think there should be a more responsible presentation of the show. If you are going to show the struggle, show the help … add some aspect of therapy or something … find a way for these women to deal with the deep-rooted issues that helped them get into this place. Drama sells the show, but as we saw on Love and Hip Hop NYC, it also ruins lives. Chrissy made sure to tell them, when the cameras are gone I am still dealing with the bull-ish that was created so that you could make a buck. This is my life. This is real and this is not for sale.
Moral of the story: There is a message even in all the wretchedness presented on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. The networks need to do a better job of showing us the message not just the mess.
Oh, and I don’t want to single out VH1 because other networks have reality shows that showcase women in a negative light … and they all aren’t black women. Let’s not forget that Mob Wives, Baseball Wives, Bad Girls Club and the Real Housewives series … just to name a few have drama and fights too … and they feature women of all races.