Home Entertainment Protecting Our Image: Why Should We Stop Watching Trashy Reality TV?

Protecting Our Image: Why Should We Stop Watching Trashy Reality TV?

You can’t be serious…

When I was a kid, parents had these things called rules. My mother had a very specific set of rules for me when it came to the television shows I was allowed to watch. For example, I was allowed to watch Living Single, but not Martin. I spent many nights sneaking away into my room during that time to watch Martin. Though the rules weren’t failsafe, those rules kept me from fully immersing myself in those shows. Simply put, even when I was breaking the rules, I was aware that what I was doing was wrong. Let’s just say, if I wasn’t watching Nick at Night, it quickly became Switch at Night.

I’ve never seen an episode of Love & Hip Hop, Real Housewives or Basketball Wives. Correction, I’ve seen two episodes of Basketball Wives. Once, to see a friend who was appearing on the show, and another to write an article about Evelyn Lozada. I have absolutely no interest in those shows. I’m usually so frustrated with them overpopulating my timeline that I never articulate my thoughts clearly. It wasn’t until a conversation with a friend a week ago that I was able to develop my thoughts into an organized set of reasons why these shows should be euthanized.

There used to be a time when there was some decency to our reality television. At least, Kim Kardashian was a trust fund kid who we enjoyed watching “party” all the time. These shows glorify women who bring absolutely nothing to the table to validate their notoriety except their connection with professional athletes. They’re not rich, funny, talented, or providing any insight that we don’t already have.

I’m aware that it is the parents’ role to control the images and material their children are allowed to digest. With that said, I’ve lost almost all faith in parenting in America. I’m sure there are some parents out there who are doing their best to keep this away from their underdeveloped children’s minds, but the majority are not. This leads me to fear that little girls will grow up thinking that these shows represent viable routes in life. I never want women to confuse starting a reality show empire of trashy women who’s claim to fame rests in their loins with ambition.

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Folks who like to say, “I just think it’s entertaining,” fail to realize that television has never been this trashy during primetime. When we compare these shows to trashy talk shows that were popular years ago, we fail to realize those shows aired while most of us were at work or school. The only people who were able to catch those shows everyday were children without good parents or trailer park folks who made a living off Keno.

Women who watch these shows, faithfully, concern me. Whether you think that Shaunie O’Neal is an excellent entrepreneur or you’re only watching for entertainment purposes, it’s concerning. There’s a problem when you devote time to staying up-to-date with a show about women you claim to never want to be in life. For example, I listen to Jeezy everyday for about three hours. If there was no such thing as guns and jail, I would be in Atlanta selling bricks right now! That goes to show you that if you digest something for a significant amount of time, you’re lying to yourself when you claim you don’t somehow want that life.

Men who watch these shows, at all, concern me. If a man is forced to watch these shows by his old lady, he’s excused. (He needs to grow a pair, but he’s excused.) If a man is watching these shows because he wants to be able to rant with everyone else on Twitter, he concerns me. If a man genuinely enjoys this show, he really concerns me. Nothing about these shows is attractive to me. You know what I hate? Golddiggers and groupies. Do I believe that there is a world void of them? Nope. There’s never going to be a time when the services of those women are no longer needed. We just have to remember how we compensate these women. Outside of yards, golddiggers are paid in gold and groupies are paid by association, not by television show contracts and deals.

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Of course the reply that I received was, “Nothing you can do about it now.”

And I said, “Eh, not really. There’s something we can do, but it’s going to take some work.”

I don’t believe in boycotting anything. It was effective years ago when we had real issues to stand for. In the grand scheme of things, a reality television show is not a real issue. (It’s a non-motherf*cking factor.) We could ask for better programming from our networks, but I fear that will just increase the number of True Blood fans. Also, if any white network executive was to cancel the show, we’d consider it racism. I had a really great idea called, “The New Edition Plan.” Basically, we would force them all to pursue a solo career which never gets past the point of mediocrity. It sounded like a good idea at the time until I couldn’t stand the thought of Evelyn Lozada calling herself, The Queen of Reality TV.

That’s when I realized that we wouldn’t be able to eliminate the show altogether, but we’d have to affect their lifeline, ad money. I dug deep for this one, but I think I came up with a viable solution.

Do you remember the effect this label had on the hip hop industry? This label didn’t kill your career, but it sure held you back. Equipped with this label, anyone watching these TV shows would be well aware that they are now watching absolute trash. Equipped with this label, we’d also be able to use words like “ignorant” and “ratchet” in the media without appearing to be racially insensitive. The parents who don’t have time to check every television show that their children are watching can quickly see the label in the corner of the screen and change the channel. This label and the connotation associated with this label would undoubtedly end all trash television. The ad agencies would stop purchasing ads during those time slots. Then, we could all go back to doing what we were doing before trashy reality television shows took over our television waves… Keeping up with the Kardashians.

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How do you feel about trashy reality TV shows about former girlfriends/wives of athletes and entertainers? Do you feel these shows are helping or hurting our image as Black or Latino people? Do you think it’s feasible to allow this programming to continue in its current format with no real effects on our youth?

– Dr. J


  1. Thank you for writing this. I could not have said it any better myself. I'm tired of women saying, oh it's just entertainment, I don't complain about your sports. No this is not entertainment, it is actively influencing the way you, talk, think and act. The phrase "non-mother effing factor" has popped up on my TL more than once. I was able to find out that Evelyn Lozada is the one who used this and now more women are using it. Then what kills me most of all, is the reason these shows are on the air is because we (african-americans primarily) continue to watch them. They wouldn't be making a new spinoff if the first one wasn't successful. So please STOP watching this crap. It speaks to your intelligence and frame of mind in my opinion.

  2. Oh this article is great!! My best friend is getting her PHD in Medicine and she DOES NOT miss this trash. And I'm on her so much because I think these shows are so awful. Like you said, the majority of the people who watch this either already think like those women think, or are impressionable youth who are molding their image to that bullish.

    These shows are doing our people any good. Just NONE at all. I don't watch. The one episode I halfway watched with said friend above, I just felt so sad for some of those women.

    But I suppose if you gotta get a check…. I guess…….. Im sure none of those women are thinking about upholding the stnadard of the urban community on their way to the Bank.

  3. I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. I can't stand those t.v. shows and can't for the life of me understand why people watch them. I choose to monitor my kids television shows and the movies they watched. I kids get mad when I refer to it as the idiot box. I also chose not to let my kids have t.v.'s in their rooms. We have one t.v. in the living room and that's it. I just don't understand why they even care what these people are. I had to google to find out what a Snookie was, I thought it was some kind of dog at first. I also don't like talk shows either, they don't talk about anything. I don't care to see another dna test, hear about another actress or any one else. I would rather take a nap.

    1. Jennifer: "I had to google to find out what a Snookie was, I thought it was some kind of dog at first."

      You were correct.

  4. I remember when Ricky and Lucy slept in twin beds. I also remember on TV the first time a couple were shown in bed together. Now we have group sex on TV during "family hour". TV has progressively pushed the edge but we as consumers have not pushed back. We also can block all these shows with a push of a button but just like with the internet we parents fail to do so. Remember when things were shocking and against decency, you rarely hear those types of conversations anymore as we have been slowly desensitized and indoctrinated into accepting a lot of this foolishness.

    I would occasionally watch reality shows (I confess I do watch those fools on LAHH-Atl). But I stopped watching most reality shows for the same reason I don't watch a lot of music videos. Both can warp your sense of reality. We must be careful what we allow to feed our minds. Some of our young (and old) people are constantly fed this reality and it has become their reality. People now aspire to be like the reality show characters. Their used to be some sense of balance on TV. You could see other types of family situations. Now it is all dysfunctional relationships with scripted reality.

    The label will help. However, most folks watch reality shows for the same reason we slow down and look at car wrecks – aint nothing we can do, we just being nosey and we glad it aint us.

  5. I agree with you Doc J. I don't watch these shows frequently. I may watch a few minutes here and there but don't tune in all the time. I'm just tired of all the reality shows and they have all gotten real old to me.
    I miss the days of The Real World when Heather B was on and when Tami was on that Reality Show. I liked her a little better on The Real World than on Basketball Wives. I did watch it because it was funny and entertaining. I learned a lot about Lime Disease from watching The Real World. There was a girl on there that had it, Eileen was her name I think.
    At any rate, yes these shows aren't good for the image of black and latino people at all. They perpetuate all the stereotypes. Now white people are also becoming black stereotypes and are just as bad as black people on reality t.v. ie Jersey Shore and Mob Wives with the fighting and hair-pulling and extreme drama. It's gotten to be ridiculous.
    Unfortunately this is what society has become and this is what sells. Not much just a few people who don't like it can do about it when the general public loves it and watches it and keeps it on the air.
    Your solution about warning labels is a great one and the only viable one I can think of myself.
    And yes people do need to keep a tight reign on their kids and teens and closely monitor what they watch and for how long.
    Many t.v.'s and network providers like Comcast and Verizon have pretty good parental controls if u learn how to use them. They can work well for blocking all the channels u don't want your kids to see.

  6. I really love family-oriented sitcoms and black cinema: Fresh Prince, Reed Between the Lines, Pursuit of Happiness….positive perception television. Magic Johnson has a network coming out for black entertainment that's family oriented called 'Aspire'. Where cleaning up t.v. is concerned, I don't really care all that much because television shouldn't be the most impactful source of anything in a home.

    Rosa Acosta is not the good, consumate woman yet you have no idea how to treat a good woman or how to teach your son how to treat a woman because your trashy fantasies skew your real life interactions, JUST as lazy women won't raise children in the ideal manner or adaquately tend to a home and home dynamics because of the influences of reality television. Both of yall are parenting fails.

    If anything *that* is most damaging to our communities as well as the blame game. Women AND men are responsible for being positive role models. Being a real life example is your priority. Cable t.v. isn't a necessity it's a luxury. Kids should be able to watch mommy and daddy.

  7. Personally I have watched these shows. Our grandmothers had soap operas we have our own cheaper version called reality TV. Each race will always have their set of wild risky shows, the problem I have with these reality shows is that there isn’t an equal amount of positive, well written shows to match. For every mob wives, Jersey Shore or Bad Girls club, there is Dexter, New Christine, Big Bang theory and a list of other well written shows. Also when there is some type of positive show like “Read Between the lines” with Tracey Ellios Ross we have to beg our people ratchet and non ratchet to watch it.
    We also must remember that these shows play on the wild wild west know as cable, so censorship rules are very loose. As far as affecting our youth, most of them see this silly behavior around them, via Facebook and Twitter, or they were already ratchet from the start so their behavior isn’t necessary solely based on these shows. If there are young children watching these shows its their parents fault, they should be in bed or reading a bed time story not watching TV period.

    1. Nobody is putting their children in bed from 8-10PM. It's easier to make that argument for a show like Arsenio Hall which aired at 11PM, but this is primetime television. Soap operas and trashy reality TV are not comparable either… like at all. One is fake and one is real. That's like saying boxing and wrestling are one in the same.

      1. I’m comparing the two based on how viewers react. They’re not exactly the same but they are very similar, lots of drama and they give people somethig to talk about. Women spent hours talking about the stories and reading soap opera magazine just like people send hours talking about BBW and reading blogs about it. As far as children go, you don’t have to have a tv in your childs room, if you do put the parental control on the box if you are worried about them watching it.

      2. I put my children to bed between 8-9p during the week. Last night my 9 year old and I watched some of Rock Center together. It was about women addicted to prescription drugs and the newborn babies that are affected. I questioned whether it was a good choice and we didn't watch it for long but my hope is to keep him aware so he has the tools to make the best choices. Reality tv has over run all of television, it is a sad sad fact. I would be all in to promote a facebook page to add the parental advisory label to the reality garbage-pail kids.

      3. Doc J yeah people do put most little ones under 8 or 9 in bed by 8:00 or 8:30 at the latest.
        When I was a kid I had to be in bed by 9:00 pm at the latest on a school nite.
        Most of my friends with kids and everybody I know with very young kids are getting their little butts in the bed by 8:30 pm at the latest on a school nite. On the weekends and in the summertime they can stay up later usually. So Smielz does have a point that very young kids should be in bed when these shows come on.

      4. It still seems pretty dumb to put your personal life on national television and to top it all off it’s rarely the part where they are actually successful.

  8. Dr. , you made an interesting parallel between trashy reality tv and rap music (Jeezy). I know you were trying to be funny, but I see the nugget of truth there. It's what made me reply.

    I used to watch RHOATL and BBW but it became a bit too much. That is slowly also becoming the case for me with certain hip hop songs. I"m disenchanted about being a part of a race that consistently degrades its women in music, glamorizes 'things' most of us will never have and hyper-sexualizes everything. Not saying other genres of music never do it, but hip hop is consistent with this, especially influential artists. Just like with VH1, I feel like there is a contest to see who can be the most vulgar.

    I wonder if there is a correlation between what we listen to on a daily basis and the materialism, misogyny and violence we also see in our communities. People 'tricking', buying cars and clothes to impress people they don't like while not paying bills, etc. If what we see on TV can influence us, why can't what we listen to as well? Some people can see the irony between tv and music and their own lives. They are critical thinkers and can draw the line in the sand. But as a critical thinker, they also question why they choose to identify with these shows and violent music. But sadly, some of us don't ask ourselves these questions at all. Great post.

    Frustrated hip hop fan and X- trashy, reality tv watcher

    1. It's definitely a cycle. I tell people all the time, the messages that come out of Hip Hop are definitely a product of their environment. Horrible management of money leads to the tricking off once they get on. When you think about it, if you gave someone in the hood $1 million, what would you expect them to do? Yeah, exactly what they rap about.

  9. How do you feel about trashy reality TV shows about former girlfriends/wives of
    athletes and entertainers?

    I can’t stand it. In real life i cant stand listening to arguments, public displays of ratchetness, havenots fronting like they got it so why would I spend my free time watching this buffoonery. Hell even Flavor of Love was a competition, what is the purpose of Basketball Wives?

    Do you feel these shows are helping or hurting our image as Black or Latino people?
    I’d say neither, if you’re really judging a race by VH1 then you clearly didnt have that high of an opinion of them in the first place.

    Do you think it’s feasible to allow this programming to continue in its current format with no real effects on our youth?
    I think it already has. We’ve come to a point where money outweighs public perception. You can’t tell anyone anything without being a “hater” or “mad, bro”, they see these people living better than them, sure they are embarrassing themselves but some look at it as a necessary sacrifice.

  10. People don't realize that they are planting negative seeds in their lives when they watch this trash. I used to watch all the shows and I had to give it up all together. Negativity breads negativity. I feel more at peace and less quick to judge now that I have eliminated the trash.

    What does that say about us as humans that we enjoy watching and judging the pitfalls/failures of other human beings? Not only do we go on twitter and Facebook to judge their lives and talk about how much better we are then them that attitude leaks into other facets of our lives. How judgmental we are towards friends, family members and coworkers and how we have this elitist/entitled attitude like we are better then everyone.

    As women we need to do better. WE all need to confront that inner urge to always want to gossip and find out the latest trash. How sick is it that watching someone else fail at life makes us feel better about ours.

  11. "These shows glorify women who bring absolutely nothing to the table to validate their notoriety except their connection with professional athletes. They’re not rich, funny, talented, or providing any insight that we don’t already have."

    The Gospel of Jackson. These people honestly believe they are celebrities. For the most part, they are merely video h0es that got chose. They have no discernable talent whatsoever.

    "I had a really great idea called, “The New Edition Plan.” Basically, we would force them all to pursue a solo career which never gets past the point of mediocrity."

    Hey, let there not be any more New Edition blasphemy! Ralph Tresvant was the only one with a mediocre solo career. I suppose Bell Biv Devoe only had one successful album, but it was extremely successful.

    1. LOL man ain't nobody in New Edition have a career past mediocrity lmao. Bobby Brown might have been the best one, but it just wasn't up to par with anyone else.

  12. I can't stand these shows. I don't find anything about them entertaining. I always find it interesting that people slam BET for misrepresenting us, but will watch the hell out of one of these shows on VH1. I do think these shows can hurt us. For example, a week or so ago, there was an article on SBM written by WIM's (I think) colleague. His white superior hadn't had any real exposure to black people except for what he saw on TV… this is what he could be seeing. It's a flimsy excuse, I know, but the truth is there are some people who form an opinion based on things like this.

    I also worry about the youth watching it to. I remember my timeline blowing up about how badly Fabolous treated his girl, and how Jim Jones' girl was chasing him around, trying to get him to marry her. I don't want young ladies and gentleman thinking that if a man has money, a woman should stick around and take it when he's being disrespectful. I know it's not the show's job to raise kids and teach them these things, but it can get hard to fight as a parent.

    1. I’m sorry but if you feel your child is being overly influenced by these shows then turn the tv off and talk them. I’m not saying I want an influx of these crazy shows on tv, one or two is ok but when every show is ex this and baby father that then we need to reevaluate.
      Also we give bet slack because it quote on quite calls itself a repersentive for the black community. Therefore if they want to take on being the source of black entertainment they need to show a variety of the black spectrum. VH1 I don’t expect to much from , I mean they gave flavor flav a show .

      1. You're right. If I were a parent, I wouldn't allow my child to watch these shows in my home. But what about when all of his/her friends are talking about it? What about when they go to their friends' homes and watch it there? It makes it harder for the parent to convince this child that this isn't the way to be. Think about how impressionable tweens and young teens are… I'm not saying that the parent is absolved of responsibility for teaching their children important life lessons, but this kind of thing and a nonchalant attitude about it makes it much harder.

        Yes, VH1 gave Flav a show and it was the first of it's kind on VH1. It was such a hit it opened the doors for the rest of this nonsense. Just because VH1doesn't herald itself the "representative of black people" doesn't mean they should get to portray black people however the hell they want.

        1. "But what about when all of his/her friends are talking about it? What about when they go to their friends' homes and watch it there?"

          Parents can not shelter children from learning about the good, the bad and the ugly of this world. All we can do is teach and model what we deem appropriate and pray they choose the best path. Every now and then those fears of what my child may be exposed to when they go out the door pop in my head. I get over it once I understand that my children will see me consistently do right and see how that plays out. I don't live a 'do as I say not as I do life'. I want my children to SEE how doing the right things keeps you free and happy.

        2. I never said that VH1 was off the hook , I just said I want expecting them to be the channel too have black shows that uplift vs entertain .I also didn’t say that it gives them the right to portray blacks however they want. Let’s remember that 2 black women brought these show ideas to VH1 basketball wives and L&HH .

          Also no you can’t protect your kids from their friends talking about these shows, but you can teach your kids not to be easily influenced. I have plenty of friends who didnt watch flavor of love reality show in high school, they jut said I don’t watch that and kept it moving. Also if you trust your children enough and have faith they wont run around acting a fool because they saw one episode of BBW then why are you worried about. Most kids don’t go from acting civil to acting crazy because the watches a reality show.

  13. I won't say I haven't watched the shows before, but everryone has some type of guilty pleasure. Some people would make the same arguments about the Hip Hop culture and rap music too.

    I dont think those type of shows should be watched by kids, but who am I to knock people who watch it? Cant be mad at these chicks either for having no talent while people fuel their lives and put money in their pockets. Can't get money in a world this big, you don't deserve to live – Cam'Ron.

    You make some good points, but there's all types of trash entertainment, depending on a POV. Same people here rippin reality TV probably enjoy something that others would find revolting.

    End of the day, I need to find some type of talent that aint shyt and get paid millions. Thats the WAVE!
    My recent post #BeTheBetter Fitness Log: Entry 7

    1. "I need to find some type of talent that aint shyt and get paid millions. Thats the WAVE!"

      This is funny cuz it's True!!! *Shrug*

  14. I strongly dislike reality shows. My early adulthood included the TalkShow syndrome of early Springer, Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, and then came along the surge of court TV. Watching the average commonplace person wallow in their dilemmas was an escape, if only to say "I'm thankful I'm not dealing with what that person has!" But something happened along the way. The ficticious Claire Huxtable was someone I looked up to, being that she was accomplished, beautiful, and above all classy! But that was all scripted, and the writers/actors strike from years ago gave birth to what we have now in quote-unquote reality TV. The networks have basically given up on the loving mother who can hold down a household, her man, and her career without getting into petty arguments. Anyway, I really dislike reality TV. It influences the behavior of the people watching them to think it's okay to blow up on anybody who crosses your path without being rational about it. To me, it spawns a mindless behavior. Great blog/write-up you have here Dr. J! I couldn't agree more!

  15. I initially watched BBW, but I stopped because I couldn't understand why they were fighting all the time. Every show was like this:
    Hey girl!
    Let's order some food.
    Whatchu mean "let's order some food?" Who the muthaeff do you think you talking to?
    Bish, I'm talking to you, let's order some GD food!
    *drink thrown in face*
    *expensive rented clothes ripped*
    *weave pulled*
    Annnnnnnnd scene.

    Really? And that's pretty much the script for all the NeverWasRealWivesHipHopHoes episodes that I caught. It's bizarre.

    I think it hurts the image of black women, who are already viewed as angry, hypersexed and out of control unmarriageables with baby daddies and loose morals.

    I think the youth that are buying into the "lifestyle" these women portray are probably lost already due to poor parenting.

  16. i hate shows like this. i watched the first season of the flavor of love and the the love of ray-j then i realized that it really cast black people in a negative light. i don't watch ANY reality television anymore. i just can't do it. i secretly judge ppl who watch it. modern day minstrel shows. crazy thing is that the majority of consumers of these shows don't look like us. i actually read something the other day that stuck with me. its a little long but i'll only quote a little of it. its from michelle alexander's the new jim crow.

    "Like the minstrel shows of the slavery and Jim Crow era, today’s displays are generally designed for white audiences. The majority of consumers of gangsta rap are white, suburban teenagers. VH1 had its best ratings ever for the first season of Flavor of Love-ratings driven by large white audiences. MTV has expanded its offerings of black-themed reality shows in hopes of attracting the same crowd. The profits to be made from racial stigma are considerable, and the fact that blacks- as well as whites- treat racial oppression as a commodity for consumption is not surprising. It is a familiar form of black complicity with radicalized systems of control.

    Many people are unaware that, although minstrel shows were plainly designed to pander to white racism and make whites feel comfortable with-indeed, entertained by-racial oppression, African-Americans formed a large part of the black minstrels’ audience. In fact, their numbers were so great in some areas that theater owners had to relax rules segregating black patrons and restricting them to certain areas of the theater."
    My recent post Build a Fence to Keep Asians Out???

    1. Shout out to Michelle Alexander, a professor here in my hometown at Thee Ohio State University, lol.

  17. i cringe when these shows come on. i just… i don't understand what's so interesting about watching a bunch of overgrown women fight over men that barely claim them. i just… ugh.

    if there was a balance in the content, then fine. but when that crap is ALL that's on all the dang time… it's just sad.
    My recent post Beautiful, and Other Thoughts.

  18. I think these shows put our community on blast. These shows kill a lot of birds with one stone. Hear me out here….

    When these people see themselves on t.v., they have to take a second look I am sure. It forces them to deal with the man in the mirror. It forces us to recognize bad behavior in ourselves and others. There is no sweeping our trash under the rug anymore….it's all out in the open for us and others to discuss.

    People do crazy stuff all day every day in reality. I can bet these shows have changed the thinking of some. It becomes apparent by observation how our actions shape us. Most don't know how insane an action is until they see others do it. Most of us do not have a camera following us catching our mess ups. The psychoanalyst in me just hopes they somehow get an epiphany from this. The optimist in me also hopes that our young and old learn something about what not to do or accept in life.

    These shows don't glorify anything; if anything these shows prove that the love of money is the root of all evil.

    1. "I think these shows put our community on blast"

      *lol* Yeah that's what I heard people say about "Boondocks" — that show was telling all our secrets.. *FacePalm*

    2. "I think these shows put our community on blast."

      No they don't and that's the problem. This is not an accurate representation of Black and Latin peoples living in the United States of America. However, it is the message that is being promoted to the masses. That's why you have to stop it. It's funny, it's hilarious, it's entertaining, whatever you want to call it, but it is not what Black America looks like. Never has and never will be. It's just what they're choosing to put on TV.

      1. Dr. J are you living under a rock or something? Not to discredit those that do better but there are many people….

        feeling as if money, expensive clothes makes you "somebody"
        that are just down right uncaring, greedy and insensitive
        having babies by an unavailable man
        Chasing $ (no matter the cost)
        unwilling to commit
        being left by the child's father for the other woman
        waiting for a rap and or singing career to blow up
        glorifying hustling and pimping
        living for self

        This goes on daily in the real world. Do you truly believe everybody actually tries to take the high road? Is that what the majority of the community reflects? Are you basing your conclusions on the few that seem to have "made it"?

        1. oh yeah don't forget the anger management issues some are walking around with…hence all the killing that's going on.

        2. No I am not. The majority of Black people in this country are not in poverty, they are not unemployed, they are not incarcerated, they are not illiterate, and they are not miscreants. Yes, the rates of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, etc. are the highest in our communities, but that is not representative of the majority. Unemployment in the Black community is double that of the national average at about 15%, that means that 85% of the community is employed. There are plenty of people who are doing "ratchet" things, but that does not accurately reflect the entire community, only the lower echelon.

          It is alarming that 26% of the youth in Black America are illiterate, but that means that 74% are not. It is alarming that 1 out of every 3 Black males are incarcerated, but that means that 2 out of 3 are not.

          I am not saying that everyone takes the high road, what I am saying is that this is not an accurate depiction of Black America. What I am saying is that the majority of women in the US are not using thier vagina and good looks to procure a professional athlete or entertainer. That is a very small subset. Nobody is showing you a picture of what is really going on in our community. And this is how they choose to portray Black women and peoples in the media.

          And I RAISE this point… why won't you ever see a reality show for Raven or Willow? They'll show you a reality show for some white trust fund kid, but they won't do the same for black people. All we get is Real and Chance, and BBW and Love and Hip Hop, but they neglect to produce a show that depicts Black America in it's current state, in it's accurate state, they just refuse.

          Let's just be real, it's not us. Not to say that we are without faults, but that's not the majority of the people in our community.

        3. I totally agree with you. It's sad, but they never protray positive shows on the big network channels. Can a brother get some shows that I can relate to??

          *Reminiscing about Teen Summit*

        4. There has been a few positive black shows on network television, Hawthorn, My wife and Kids, Lincoln Heights , it’s just that major African American movers and shakers in the industry have to get them green lighted. In all honesty when we do put these positive shows/ movies out there we have to go through heck and high water to get our people to come out and support it. Think of the Tuskegee airmen movie, black entertainment outlets almost had to beat it into their audience head to go see this movie, yet Madea sells out with no issue. Same thing with Read between the lines and “Let’s Stay together” on BET. (cont)

        5. My problem isn’t with reality shows as a whole because some are good and interesting; my problem is with viewers being bombarded with reality TV. For example one show about ex wives/ex girlfriends of famous, ok cool whatever floats you boat, but 5 shows about it is a bit too much. The only thing that scares me about black reality TV is that it will be the only shows we have on TV that major networks will take serious if we don’t start putting out more scripted positive popular shows. Other than that one crazy show won’t kill me if I have 5 great ones too over shadow it.(cont)

        6. As far as BET, they want to represent our community, they catch a lot of slack because as a station they don’t show they diversity within our community yet they want to be the entertainment representative for it. No; VH1 shouldn’t have us running around like idiots but as long as rappers/exes and others show up on stage to do the show, people will watch. Most of the reality shows on VH1 are meant to make people look wild anyway so why would we expect anything else.

        7. Well, wait. Tia and Tamera have a show and it's not terrible or ratchet. And I used to like the show with Run DMC and his kids.

          But, I see your point though.

  19. "Do you feel these shows are helping or hurting our image as Black or Latino people?"

    Helping us… Hell NO!! but at the same token I don't think it's really hurting us either, and the reason I say this is because the damage HAS BEEN DONE a Loonngggg Time Ago and quite honestly we did it to ourselves way before VH-1 and Bravo came along.

    At the end of the day these shows DO NOT represent me. I represent ME.

  20. i don’t want to sound old, but the last reality show i actively remember watching was the 2nd real world in nyc. i cant get into what comes on now, but i find it partly fascinating that the same women that criticise rappers, livetweet h.o.atl.
    then again, since i listen to rick ross, 50cent, and think the 60 racks remix song is hot…i can’t say nothing, lol.
    right now, my only reality tv is sports and politics, lol

  21. Personally, I can't watch these shows. It is full of foolery and other acts of ignorance. At the same time though, I can't be mad at someone who wants to make a dollar even though their brand will literally be destroyed. While these programs definitely don't reflect me as a person, we all make decisions and if that's the choice you make to either watch it, support it, or become a participant, that's on you. I would rather use the time being spent watching these shows reading a book on how to invest in stocks, participating in community activities, or even just surfing the internet to figure out a new skill to add to my portfolio. It amazes me how people find the time to actually watch tv these days as an adult or maybe i am a man on mission trying to concur the world.lol
    P.S. Man I really miss the days of the cosby show, living single, new york undercover, a different world, martin, and in living color….good primetime shows that had substance…..

  22. I do watch shows like BBW and Love and Hip-Hop as a from of escapism, which is the purpose of television anyway.( fyi other shows like Mod Wives are just as ratchet as BBW and the other Housewives on Bravo besides the black ones are bad too.) To deem that a person has soon kind of insecurity from watching these shows is a stretch to me; personally I like it because it is filled with drama that has never been apart of my life. I am curious about how these women think just as I am curious about how the greatest minds of our time think. I believe Black and Latino people can not blame the all negative stereotypes of our women on these shows. I believe if people really want to see a change on television they have to show it. I do believe that more shows that show the variety of the black community are needed but in essence you can say that about television programming in general. The American people have become obsessed with tawdry programming and networks have just responded. I think reformation should come on all fronts of entertainment if that's the case versus making a few shows the scapegoat.

  23. "The only people who were able to catch those shows everyday were children without good parents or trailer park folks who made a living off Keno." <— LAUGHED OUT LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I feel you here cause my Mother wouldn't allow me to watch "The Simpsons" when it first came on because "Bart's mouth was too smart". My kids can watch Nick Jr and the Disney channels…thats it.

    Look, I used to RUN home from the subway station to catch Jerry Springer when I was a teenager. I thought that mess was funny and entertaining…when I was a teenager. Grown CO81 is not entertained by mess, I'm sorry. I'm repulsed by it. My guilty pleasures are cinnamon raisin bagels after midnight, LOL…which I'm sure repulses Streetz and all other health nuts, LOL!

  24. I don't really watch much TV at all. When I have free time, I use it either catching up on work, or going out and about in the world interacting with real ppl. I think me and my friends lives are more interesting than what I've seen on TV.

    I'm just sad to see that so much of these women's lives are based on women who seem to center their identity on their relationship or past relationship with a man. Usually a successful man. They seem to take the man's success as their own by proxy… but the connection isn't always obvious to me. Its 2012, we have access to education, jobs. more control over when we want to get married and have children… we can make our own sucches. I feel bad for these women b/c its clear they have very little going for themselves… and the other thing is that a lot of them are old.

    I dunno… when I'm 35+ I hope I'll have a lot more going for myself than these women do.
    My recent post 3 days on MICU.

  25. Your intentions are good but the way you articulate them is pretty bad.Your credibility fails when you cite "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" as a decent reality show bc of Kim's trust fund…no sir…Kim gained notoriety for sleeping with Ray J on tape…her show is no more constructive or educational than the ones entitled "Wives." "Only trailer park kids" were able to watch prime time reality television a few years ago?? Completely untrue. I grew up in the suburbs and rarely missed school and I was still able to catch episodes of Springer and Maury during the summer, which is enough to influence a 12-16 year old mind. "If you digest something long enough you really want it" maybe YOU do but that is not true for the rest of us. Sometimes people really do find it entertaining to watch others make a mess of their lives. Is someone who watches "1000 Ways to die" regularly automatically suicidal. And what's up with the gender stereotyping? "If a man enjoys this show, he genuinely concerns me" as if men are excluded from enjoying mindless television. And that whole thing about the "parental advisory" label holding people's careers back is also bunk…if anything it was harder to sell a rap album without that label and the PA label is only for music. Television has it's own rating system and since it is censored it is not considered a Mature rated show(to be shown on special channels like HBO after a certain hour) but is rated TV PG. I'm sorry even if I agree with your point I can't ignore the glaring logical fallacies with which you made it. You need to check your facts and your bias before writing.

    1. A lot to reply to here.

      1) Keeping up with the Kardashians … was a joke. I am pretty sure that 99.9% of the people who read that line, knew that.

      2) ""Only trailer park kids" were able to watch prime time reality television a few years ago?? Completely untrue. I grew up in the suburbs and rarely missed school and I was still able to catch episodes of Springer and Maury during the summer…"

      Interesting… prime time television is from 8PM to 10PM, would you like to rephrase?

      3) "Sometimes people really do find it entertaining to watch others make a mess of their lives." — I truly believe that people who believe this are shallow and lonely people. I wish you the good health and wisdom in your future.

      4) "Is someone who watches "1000 Ways to die" regularly automatically suicidal?" — Yes.

      5) ""If a man enjoys this show, he genuinely concerns me" as if men are excluded from enjoying mindless television." — You're single, no woman would date a man who says something like that. What in the heck man? We've worked too hard to not be considered cavemen for you to pull that BS.

      6) "And that whole thing about the "parental advisory" label holding people's careers back is also bunk…if anything it was harder to sell a rap album without that label and the PA label is only for music." — If you go back to when the label first started appearing on rap music it caused parents to take a second look at it before purchasing it for their children. Death Row and Bad Boy suffered a great deal from it. Had it not been for the impact of censorship on Hip Hop it wouldn't have taken until 2003 for Hip Hop to have it's global movement, which then resulted in Jay-Z being regarded as the greatest rapper ever because he was considered the Best at the time.

      We're all aware it's only for music too. It's called an idea.

      Those are your facts.

      7) OMG can you tell me where I can find this rating system for TV online?! I'd love to read more about it!

      Have a good day Rob.

      1. I hate that I was on vacation when this posted I have a lot to say about trashy reality tv but it wont add anything days later. I just wanted to give you this link about the ratings for tv shows. They have been around for at least 5 years and it was a pretty big deal when they were implemented. You probably haven't noticed them because they don't stay on the screen throughout the entire show. http://www.tvguidelines.org/

        After re-reading your comment I am not sure if you were being sarcastic about the rating system *awkward*

  26. Man I can't with these reality shows. My wife loves them though. When they come on I either move the PS3 to the other room or go play WoW during the time until I don't know they have been over for 45 minutes.

    I have to be safe that they are indeed over.
    My recent post Murci, Murci Me

    1. It's crazy because back in the day men would get their old lady an Nintendo DS so she would keep quiet during his football game. Now we're trapped watching this crap.

  27. "You can't be serious"– the perfect caption for that picture.

    I don't have a tv–I am not at all a tv person, I'd rather listen to music or read but I do catch re-runs of reality shows when I'm at my moms house…..they are so scripted and send a horrible message but when I have had a difficult day one of my favorite things to do is watch the trashiest, reality shows (black or white) that's on t.v at the moment.

    I know I know.

    In my opinion they are getting so played out. I have no idea how the Kardashians are in their 8,000th season because like the rest of them they've become trite and pretty much annoying. After season 2 of most of these reality shows I was over it and stopped watching.

    I had a student tell me that she loves and looks up to Tammy from Basketball Wives. I was like huh? That really concerned me.

    Maybe in the future there will be a decline in viewership…and reality tv will just be a memory….not sure.
    My recent post vogue:

    Christian Dior Fall 2012 Couture
    Go to Vogue.com for the…

  28. "These shows glorify women who bring absolutely nothing to the table to validate their notoriety except their connection with professional athletes. They’re not rich, funny, talented, or providing any insight that we don’t already have."

    I laughed out loud (I had to spell it out to get the full effect).

    This was a very good read. Unfortunately, "reality" shows are going to be around for quite some time. I don't believe anyone has mentioned it but the reason why they are going to be around is because it's much, much cheaper to produce a "reality" show. The cheaper it is to produce, the more money it's able to rake in.

    We are going to be stuck with them for quite some time.

    Hide yo kids, hide yo wife…
    My recent post Romantic Tip of the Week: Candles

    1. I don't know anymore. They've been talking about the amount of money that's going into BBW and how it has to change. That's something i'll actually listen to Shaunie talk about. She's trying to figure out how to pay all the women and also have the budget for fashion and the trips that they take. As these shows get more and more elaborate it will reach a point where it's cheaper to go back to shooting a multicam sitcom.

  29. If people would stop watching trash, trash would stop being produced. Consumers underestimate their power. When parents made a fuss about BPA in baby products, companies quickly stopped making products that contained the chemical. Same thing happened when the fuss over trans fats started. When shows have low ratings, they get canceled. These shows are on tv because people want them on TV.

    As far as the effect of these shows on our youth, I'm kinda on the fence. While I don't deny that these shows can be influential, I think that the influences in a child's real world environment have more impact. If mama is ratchet and daddy ain't ish, then that is the behavior the children will emulate. If mom and dad have a healthy relationship and behave honorably, the children will most likely mimic the parents and scoff at or make fun of the trash on tv. The best approach is to create positive home environments and communities and limit the influx of media influence.

    1. That's what I'M saying. For real? You can't turn off the tv or cut it out altogether and be examples for your children? For real? It's the media's fault? Okay. but I agree people need to stop consuming this garbage. I would more so say people need to stop living it.

  30. I hate these shows, I hate all talk shows, and I have hated all rap for at least 10 years for the same reason – it's all useless and stupid. BTW, you had me until you put NEW EDITION and MEDIOCRITY in the same thought. That's sacrilegious……
    My recent post Speakerphone Madness. Say What?

  31. honestly, i enjoyed these shows for years. But something just change in the past several months. I couldnt figure it out then I realized there is no kindness. These shows have no kindness to one another and no filter. Anything and all things come off their lips. Are these shows a reflection of our real reality? When i go to work i hear no "please or thank you", no one leaving doors open for the next, no one holding the elevator door, no good mornings or a easy smile when passing in the hall. Are we one soda away from throwing our frustration at our coworker in the meeting because she doesnt agree with my line of thought.
    i do know i no longer take the time to watch and guess what i dont miss it, lol. i am watching Newsroom, Walking Dead, Scandal, Shameless – wow good written shoes with trained actors in their craft.

  32. I have no real opinion of substance here to add. I don't watch these shows very often….maybe every now and again, but I'm not a regular. Honestly, it's not because I think the programming is bad/ratchet/embarrassing, etc….really it's the same reason I don't watch the "good" shows like 'How I Met Your Mother' or 'The Big Bang Theory' …. I'm either watching or doing something else at the times they air that apparently I find more time useful.

    People are going to like what they like. No judgment here, really. Those that harshly judge people for their choice of entertainment they choose to watch on television is interesting to me. That'd be almost equivalent to people judging those who regularly frequent strip clubs or something similar (well, I guess ppl do judge that, too, lol). Anyway, if you are wise/smart enough to leave the reality tv stuff there on tv and not bring it into your reality then you should be ok…but I guess the "should be" is never guaranteed.

  33. I am guilty of watching every single one of the trashy reality shows you've mentioned and then some. I'm completely aware it's trash, but, I'm also an adult that knows the "trash" factor involved. it is entertainment, but it is piss poor entertainment since, unfortunately, there isn't much for 'us" to watch. Would I be upset if all these shows were cancelled? Not at all, but I would be hoping that it was replaced with something of some substance that put us in a better light,but maybe I'm asking for too much. Getting a "Cosby Show or Living Single" type show back on a main network (and I do not mean BET) seems like it would be easier to just walk into Fort Knox and look around to see what's there.

    I do like your parental discretion idea.

    Keep up the good work. Nice post.
    My recent post Music Monday: Special Edition


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