I’ve always wondered what keeps me glued to the television when shows like Love & Hip Hop come on. To be honest, the fights make me cringe, the bullying makes my blood boil, the men who dog the ladies out make me roll my eyes…all in all, my blood pressure shoots up. So, whyyyy do I put myself through it? I’ve figured it out and it’s for a couple of reasons. The first reason being, it’s comforting to see how I DON’T want to live. Did that make sense? Let me break it down a little bit. When I see the women fighting, I know I don’t want that to be me. When I see the women dealing with these men who are no good, I see what I want to avoid. When I see these grown folks unable to speak articulately, it makes me read a book (lol). The other reason, is simple…it’s entertaining. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite because the very reasons that make me hate the show, are the same reasons that also keep me watching.
One thing I know for sure, reality television should not be a representation of an entire community! I see the same ratchet behavior when I watch The Real Housewives of Orange County and Beverly Hills. There are lessons to be learned by some of the stuff we see, but overall…it’s just TV!
This morning I saw a status on Facebook that one of my friend’s posted…to say that it was disturbing would be an understatement. I am the first one to avoid pulling the “race card” because I think sometimes it’s pulled on purpose, to start unnecessary drama. However, this story bothers me to the core! Right here in Washington, D.C., racism has reared its ugly head into one of the local establishments. Imagine being young, black, goal-driven, successful, goal oriented, etc. and you get turned away at a bar by a white owner, who did not want to serve you. Check out Elijah LX Harvey’s Facebook status on what happened when he visited the Blue Banana on 3632 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.:
Gather ’round, Facebook. I have a story to tell of racism, drinks and a bar on 3632 Georgia Ave, NW DC called, “Blue Bananna” Please share and spread my story. I don’t want them getting our hard earned moneyI was going to Sweet Mango, which was down the street from Blue Bananna…but it was closed so I discovered a seemingly pleasant bar. I walk in and the hostess asked, “are you with the party”
I said, “What party” she said, “Its fine, the bar is there” I said, “Sweet” I go to the bar, I see a few friends from college (who can vouch) and a group of white ladies (which were hot) at some tables. Anyway, I digress. I see a black couple and another black guy at the bar. The woman had her phone out. I’m thinking. “What is she doing” ….Then I realized, she was recording…I didn’t get it…anyway, the guy is fiddling with the remote (I guess trying to get the nat’s game). I wait patiently for service…a white girl comes up, he stops what he’s doing and helps her…then goes back fiddling..I wait some more… I say to him, “hey, how you doing, bro. Yall got any specials right now?” He says sharply, “No” and THEN goes to help someone else…I get what’s going on now.. Then the couple has the phone on me…and I realize…they are recording the whole thing and shaking their heads. They say, “It’s crazy, isn’t it” I was like, wow. I can just take my business elsewhere. I ask him again, hey bro can i order some food? THEN the black girl hands me a Happy hour menu…(he said no specials) and the white girl comes up behind me looks on MY menu and orders lol. We both LOL because she picked up on it…at this point, it’s kinda comical. I say, “Dude, you said you had no specials?” He slams the stuff down and says, “GET OUT!!!! GET OUTTTTTT” I go back to the hostess and ask for the manager…and she says she doesn’t know his name but describes him I’m like, “Aw sh**..HIM?!” So I go back up to the couple and ask, “Has this been going on a while”…before they could answer, two DC police came up. The owner then says, “All of them need to leave” …which happened to be the black people…. look at the police he’s like, “huh??” I said, “I don’t know bro, I’ll make it easy and take my leave…” The police were like, “you dont even look like you were doing anything” I told him, “I wasn’t” and he was like well, he’s the owner… So we all are outside the police was like, “What the hell just happened” I’m like, “i do NOT know bro” I’m not a troublemaker. I told him, I get that he’s a private business owner, but that’s CRAZY. The police said he’s normally not like that. I’m like…yea…aight I was SO furious inside. Like boiling! I still am…Like I’m not a vengeful type, but I want that place to go down. AND IT WILL….I will be going to the news with this. Please share and spread this story. Blue Bananna should not get our money.
Ok, I’m not sure about you, but ME personally…I would love to do a sit-in at this establishment. If nothing else, the word needs to be spread about Blue Banana…they cannot get away with turning blacks away as if we aren’t human! This story has already been spread to media outlets and I hope something is done! This is 2012 and if you think that people will remain silent while being treated like trash, you are sadly mistaken. Thank you, Elijah, for bringing this to everyone’s attention!
Well folks, did you learn anything THIS week?!?! Of coooourse you didn’t! Why? Because that ish isn’t reaaal (hee hee)! Regardless of the fakery, once again, I was able to snag some lessons that we could all learn from. Check them out:
1. If you name your kid “Stevie J,” #2 and #3 will more than likely define their path and they’ll look like this:
Aaaaaaand like this:
And bite you like THIS:
2. If you got to therapy with your baby daddy and his side chic, you’ll have to watch him wipe sweat off of her nose.
3. If your baby daddy’s side chic finds out he hasn’t been faithful to her either, your a$$ better bob and weave because she’s going to start swinging (something you should have done already)!
4. If you do vagina exercises now, you will have that snapper in your 40’s that will cause a man to buy you diamonds after less than a month of dating (and all you have to buy him is a fake metal puzzle piece to carry around his neck)!
5. Don’t ever be surprised when your ex drops a mixtape, has a release party, doesn’t invite you and instead brings his new jumpoff (after all, he did take his couches back when he moved out!).
6. Being on a show called, “Love & Hip Hop” when you’re an R&B singer may offer some insight as to why you aren’t further along in your career (but we thank you for being such a great friend to everyone!).
7. Going to see a therapist that says, “WHAT THE HELLLL WAS THAT?!?!” or “Look at the bottom of your shoe…you’ve stepped in something again” may not be the best life choice lol.
The foolery has us entertained if nothing else…who knows why I subject myself to this madness. Oh, wait…I know why…because it makes my life look somewhat normal lol!
The answer is simple…not a DAMN thing! Ok, ok, that was harsh, but seriously…this show CAN’T be real! Of course, that’s because it’s NOT, but it does highlight some interesting things. Check out what you can take away from this ratchet display of poor acting and fake plots:
1. Don’t have babies unless you’re married or else you’ll end up like Mimi, chasing off a Spanish poodle who raps.
2. If you’re going to pounce someone on the first date, don’t do it on national television like K. Michelle.
3. Don’t trust anyone named Stevie J.
4. If you date Benzino for a week, he will give you a key to his house and get you a huge meeting with one of the biggest label executives.
5. Don’t hire your husband as your manager…if you do, you’re going to have to suffer through firing him!
6. If you date a rapper, he will leave you for his best friend and take his couches back when he moves out.
Sorry for the temporary insanity in posting about this crap…trust that my next post will be uplifting and inspirational! We all need a little jokey-joke time in our lives (lol)!
You might be wondering where my fascination with reality television stems from…then again, maybe you’re not, but I’m going to explain it anyway. It all began with The RealWorld, making its debut in NYC. I often wondered, “Is this really a show?”People really lived in a house? With seven strangers? To find out what happened when people stopped being polite and started getting real? (FYI ALERT: Tami Roman, from Basketball Wives, got her first break on The Real World ) From there, it crossed over into my collegiate years; I became obsessed with America’s Next Top Model. How could you NOT love seeing “everyday” girls get a chance to become a TOP MODEL? They went from bland to beautiful right in front of me (well, on TV)! With my interest at full-peek, I started to branch out into other shows like Laguna Beach where I could see rich white kids driving around in a Benz to HIGHSCHOOL! From that moment on, the madness crept into my life! TheBad Girls Club, Love and Hip-Hop, Basketball Wives, Real Housewives(all cities), Keeping up with the Kardashians, etc.
It got out of control! With violent shows like, The Bad Girls Club and Basketball Wives, I cringe and I feel so uneasy. I really do FEEL the tension through the television! It’s as if I support violence and bullying by watching another female on TV get jumped, slapped in the face, talked down to, called “bitch”, and most importantly being told that they aren’t “black enough”. I couldn’t decide if it was all reality shows that made me feel this way or a select few, so I did a mini experiment to help clarify (internally) what was going on with me. The first thing I did was cut back on reality TV and the second thing was to ask some family, friends, Facebook and Twitter what they thought. I mean afterall, I couldn’t be the only person feeling this way right? Check out what others had to say:
What is the first thing you think of when you see two grown women fighting on national television?
First and foremost, TV is entertainment and the degree to which we engulf in these reality shows is merely our need to be amused…I think it is humorous and entertaining. That is something that I probably shouldn’t admit to, but the reality is this: the women on these shows are adults. They are aware that their actions and words will be displayed for the world to see and judge. They are conscious of entertainment and what it is to “stay” on a show and even possibly (if they are wild and crazy enough) get their own tv shows. That, along with money and attention, are their goals… I have respect for women with greater goals. Acting is an art, being a drama queen is not… So…as long as there are women out there willing to embarrass themselves and show their face in any light for that check…I guess there are women like me who will watch….and be amused.
(1) As a man, what’s the main reason why you don’t indulge in such guilty pleasures? (2) What do you think of females that fight, especially on TV for the world to see?
1. Reality gives people a false sense of reality. Nothing protrayed on any reality TV show is the reality of the normal everyday person. False looks, false relationships, and other negative aspects of life are all that are protrayed on these trashy shows and it honestly is the downfall of positive productive thought. You cannot input such mindless garbage into your mind and not believe that it in some way does not effect your everyday thinking about life, love, or anything else for that matter.
2. Fighting, whether its for tv or not for anyone, is just not ok. Barring some sort of life threating experience to yourself or family; there is nothing anyone should be able to say to you that should make you use physical force to retailiate. Critical thinking is what separates us from animals and its only those who are mentally weak who find the need to physically attack another person. Everyone has had their weak moments where we have all slipped and got into a physical altercation, but as an adult no person should ever have the verbal capacity to make you come to blows because once you have thrown a punch you have already been mentally defeated and already have lost.
As a young professional and the head of a non-profit geared towards at-risk female teens, how do you think images on reality TV shape the minds of our young women and what damage do you think is being done (if any)?
I believe the images being portrayed on certain reality TV shows give young women a false sense of reality. The young women my organization works with are at a very impressionable age and unfortunately a lot of them have not made a clear distinction between their reality and reality TV…Which leads me to believe that in the wrong hands what’s portrayed on TV could be very detrimental to young women in our community…it’s not necessarily about what you watch, but about knowing the difference from someone else’s life versus your own. Putting emphasis on conflict resolution methods that teach young women how to handle the situations they see on TV, in their own lives. While being cognizant of the fact that every action has a reaction, so we clearly think through the decisions we make. Thus becoming accountable for the choices we decide to make as individuals. Essentially, just because you’ve seen it on TV doesn’t make it right.
How do you think reality television is hindering AND/OR helping our youth?
It always amazes me how quickly society forms an opinion of an ENTIRE group – race, age, genre or, in this case, television show…TV shows on Animal Planet, The History Channel, The Food Network, HGTV and many others are, in MY opinion, Reality TV…Unfortunately, however, once MTV served up an appetizer of “real” lies, deceit, sex and violence known as ‘The Real World,’ America’s appetite for drama and thirst for more grew beyond control…In the talk show age, for every Oprah there was a Jerry, for every Donohue there was a Maury The language, violence, sex and drama have a numbing effect that redefines what is the norm for our youth. As a teen, if we’re friends, the Kardashians have taught me the b-word is a pet name for my loved ones… Jersey Shore taught me that sex is no longer a sacred act reserved for someone I love but the new after-party activity with people whose name I can’t even remember… RHONJ taught me that if I don’t like you, it’s ok to run your name through the mud to whoever will listen… *Insert super star searching for love* taught me that moving in with someone I barely know will not only help me figure out whether he/she is “the one” but defined “the one” as whoever had the tiniest clothes and showed potential to give it up quicker than others…As a mother with a 5 year old daughter, this trash is NEVER on my child’s “TV dinner” menu because I believe there’s a maturity level required and I’m far too busy focusing on her learning tools…Bottomline: it’s up to the parents (not the television) to raise their child.
I posed the question on my Facebook and Twitter pages, “Do you think reality TV rots our brains?” and here are some of the responses I got back:
Yes, but it doesn’t mean im going to stop watching. Those real housewives crack me up haha ~Sapna
Not only does it rot brains, but it becomes the guideline for some peoples’ lives, they try to act, and look just like these reality stars ~Delonte
If someone has a brain they never watch reality shows. ~Charlie aka Dad
Yes I do…everyone wants fame because it’s so accessible,people should always strive for talent not fame.Be talented & fame will come! ~Lead Singer of The Electric Barbarellas
So, after hearing what others had to say, I’ve concluded that I’m not the only one who thinks about the damages that reality shows do to the brain, but I was also able to understand that uneasy feeling inside of me. I agree that not all shows are bad! I can see singers chasing their dreams on American Idol or chefs showing off their skills on Top Chef. I don’t have to watch bullies and violence and quite frankly I don’t think I should. What we put into our mind eventually comes out in our thoughts, words and actions! It’s safe to say that I am much more aware of the negative effects the “bad apples” can have on not only me, but society as well.
As you depart from the Dreamworld, check out what Shaunie, executive producer of Basketball Wives had to say regarding bullying on her show:
I’m going to attempt to share my thoughts about the film, Dysfunctional Friends, without giving away every detail (for those that haven’t seen it). For those that did see it, I’m sure you can share in my sentiment of it being a good film. Starting with the opening act, my attention was solely on the screen watching Persia White, who I think is a phenomenal and underrated actress in the industry (formerly on the hit show Girlfriends), involved in some girl on girl action. The initial plot build-up was great! Of course, everyone knows by now that the premise of the story involves a friend who suddenly dies from a freak accident and leaves his estate to his close circle of friends. However, in order for them to cash in, they need to last a week together and work out whatever issues they have and get reacquainted. This is an amazing storyline, being as though it relates to so many friendships nowadays where life gets in the way, people grow apart and before you know it, years have gone by!
One of the biggest perks of the film is seeing actors/actresses who are super talented, yet haven’t been on the big screen in a while, i.e. Wesley Jonathan, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Persia White, Tatyana Ali. Another added bonus is that even though there’s a heaviness of the initial plot (death), there is comedy throughout to provide a healthy balance. What you will find is that each character is probably a representation of someone that you call a friend or whom you know in real life and because of this, there’s nothing phony or “Hollywood” about the film; it’s actually a very accurate depiction of the real world.
One thing that some may find is that the pace of the movie is steady and almost teetering on slow, BUT for someone like me who appreciates character and plot depth it matches perfectly with the story. For example, there are close to 10 main characters and the basis of the scenario requires them all to remain in the same house for the majority of the film. So all of the craziness that ensues forces each character to develop in front of one another, which allows the viewer to truly understand each role and get familiar with who is who and what there purpose is. How many times do we see a film and there is so much going on that we sometimes forget the name or what happened in the beginning of the movie with them? Not in this case! Corey Grant does an awesome job with the script and the direction.
The ultimate kudos is for the film NOT BEING PREDICTABLE. There were plot twists, moments of who’s sleeping with who, what secrets are they hiding, who ends up with who in the end…there is so much that will allow you to really appreciate this independent production. There were some really awesome breakthrough roles, fresh faces (Vanessa Simmons) and finally great representations of black actors! I give it two thumbs up and strongly recommend purchasing the DVD! Showing support for independent films is key!