Tuesday, May 21, 2024


VH1 should abandon stereotypes…

January 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) Have you ever tuned in to VH1’s “Flavor of Love” or its spinoffs, “I Love New York” and “Flavor of Love: Charm School”?

I sure have and I must admit these programs, as well as many other “reality TV” shows, were downright hilarious.

However, afterward I would always go back and converse among my female friends. We were always baffled at the stereotypes of black women. At one point, I remember asking a friend, “Is this what people think we are like?” You know, booty shaking, potty mouthed, lascivious women.

If you are ignorant of the African American culture, I would presume that based on the media’s false representation of black women, you would think that all, if not a great majority of these women were like this. I know I would be — especially if I came from another country and this is what I saw on television daily.

Recently, a boycott was launched against VH1 to protest network executives who perpetuate negative portrayals of black women. Supposedly, a reality show that involved professional black women actively involved in or seeking interracial relationships was scrapped because the show would not sell.

One executive reportedly said that “viewers are more interested in seeing black people in a ghetto role.” Whether these allegations made against VH1’s network executives are true or not, one pertinent fact still stands — people of color still have downtrodden images of them portrayed in the media. Many television shows still showcase black people in a stereotypical light. I believe that it is solely up to the people to change their images.

For those women who consistently seek out the spotlight and make themselves “spokespeople” for their race, I say shame on you. As women of color we must be adamant about the roles we are willing to accept and play on “reality TV.”

VH1 is not the only one to blame. They are simply making a buck and achieving the American capitalistic dream. The very women who choose to sign up for these trivial shows and present themselves in a grossly unladylike fashion are partly responsible as well.

I believe that it is essential for all people, especially women of color, to control their images and present themselves in a more positive light. If we do not take a stand for ourselves, then who will?

Written By Shermika Dunner


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