Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another "Countdown To Prison" Show? Seriously?!?

Boy, is Viacom somethin' else or what? The same folks who bought us The Flavor Of Love, I Love New York, Making The Band, Wild N' Out, American Gangster, and BET Uncut is back with their latest round of Negro Nonsense.

Sorry, I just can't takes it no more.

Yeah, I understand the TI is posed' to be helpin' the kids and whatnot with this show, but c'mon. What's the likelihood that this a$$hole would be even remotely interested in these kids if his freedom didn't depend on it? Was he thinking about those kids when he sold crack to their parents? Was he thinking about those kids when he amassed a military-sized stockpile of semi-automatic weapons? Would he have given a sh*t about those kids if he hadn't gotten caught? I think not. MTV says this isn't part of TI's court-mandated 1,000 hours of community service, but I don't believe that nonsense for one minute. So why bother making yet another show that celebrates criminality and penitentiary chances? Besides, didn't Lil' Kim already have a similar show? I know TeeVee execs are devoid of fresh ideas, but dang.

[Editor's Note: I'm familiar with his older stuff, but I'm no fan of TI's music, so I don't know if his "messages" have changed any since he encountered these legal troubles. Is this dude still rhymin' about "The Traaap"? If you're familiar with his recent work, feel free to correct me.]

At some point, doesn't the market for Negro Dysfunction dry up? Why does seemingly every show on the MTV/BET/VH1 continuum with a black character have to drudge up the worst stereotypes (criminals, hoes, thugs, dawgs, chickenheads) of our culture?

I will admit, I've been part of the problem. I used to watch Flavor of Love. That season where MTB had Chopper, Babs, Dylan and Co. was hilarious. I even watched the Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is marathon this year, ditto for the Real Housewives Of Atlanta marathon. But at some point, doesn't this Negro Nonsense get old? When do these shows cross the line from poorly scripted reality into just plain ole' pointless exploitation?

For me, when it was discovered that the chick on I Love New York and her on-screen Mom were only 4 years apart in age, the gig was up. I couldn't bear watching any more Diddy so MTB was a wrap. And laughs aside, don't shows like Wild -N- Out and Yo! Mama just perpetuate the tired practice of jonin' and self-hatred? I still confess a soft spot for Frankie, but something about Keyshia Cole seems more like a documentary on broken black families than a reality show. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, it goes without saying that I won't bother tuning into TI's Road To Redemption, and neither should you. I'm not about boycotting because I think that sorta stuff seldom works in today's environment. But there's a black man in the White House now. Aren't we supposed to be beyond this sorta crap?

Question: Are "Dude, you're goin' to jail" shows like Road To Redemption harmless fun or further perpetuation of negative stereotypes? Do you think TI is sincere in his efforts to help this kids stay out The Traaap, or is this just some BS to trim down his jail sentence? Am I being overly critical of young Clifford Harris? Who I'm Is?!?

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