Friday, April 30, 2010 Guest Post - Lonely Reality TV Sistas: The New Grand Hu$tle.

[Editor's Note: I'm not just a blogger, I'm also a fan of blogs, and one of my favorite is the brilliant TheFreshExpress, an urban blog aggregator on which my posts frequently appear. If you ain't up on game, you should get familiar. Fellow FX'er, Miss Blurbette from Sable Verity goes in on the recent cable TV explosion of single black women shows. Sure, this topic's been covered here before, but never this properly. Enjoy.]

There’s something in the red kool-aid and the B-Listers on down are drinking gallons of it. It’s making them do things they once thought beneath them, things I thought once beneath them. It’s forcing them to all seem so common. It’s setting them up with a half hour of cable prime time starring in their very own reality TV shows.

With a burst of lace fronts, VH-1, Style, BET and the lot are all welcoming the sistas to the reality TV game.

It’s like the Latin invasion, only with surgically engineered solid C-cups and more melanin.

I call them “The One-timers”.

There’s Chilli, one time singer for the group TLC; Shaunie O’Neal, one time wife to basketball player, Shaq; Pep, one time rapper from the group Salt N Pepa,; Lisa Raye, one time actress; and Brandi, one time teen star, actress and singer. The recurrent theme amongst the One-Timers’ shows is “I can’t get a man.”

In the first episode of “What Chilli wants”, Chilli shares her list of requirements and in addition to no scrubs, she doesn’t want a man that smokes, drinks or eats pork. (Cue the BowTie choir singing, “There’s a place for us”).

Matchmaker Tionna Smalls recruits potentials for Chilli at a Braves game. After corralling several gents into a room and tossing out such deeply meaningful questions like “Are you a freak”, and asks to see their abs as a 6 pack is another requirement of Chilli’s, Tionna finally presents one hopeful- a good looking personal trainer- to Chilli…and a room full of other women for their consensus of approval. He was denied. (awwww…)

As for the latest in Brandy’s world, she was invited to attend the Grammy’s with Flo-Rida, then uninvited because neither of them wanted the media to think they were “together”.

Brandy, how you gon’ get fired on your day off?? And Flo got invited to the Grammy’s and you didn’t? Girl, get back in the studio NOW. And fire your hairstylist. I’ve never seen a weave go all the way to the bridge of someone’s nose like that. I say this with love.

Pep and Basketball Wives are essentially the very same show with different women portraying the role of scorned ex. Out of the entourage of supposed Basketball Wives, only ONE has been wifed, another divorced and the rest appear to be baller groupies that lucked into child support. They spend their days shopping and their nights at the club, then meet for cocktails to complain about how good they used to have it when they were with the men that cheated on them.

Lisa Raye says she was driven to the new show by a desire to “come back to her brand”, but outside of portraying a stripper in the film Player’s Club, I’m not aware of her having a brand. In a recent interview when confronted with the perception many have of her as a gold digger, Lisa Raye said, “I dug for gold in high school. I’m a platinum girl now. I’m an international person.” Well, yes, she is an international something. Now, she insists upon only dating men with money because she believes in moving forward after the much publicized split from husband Michael Misick, Turks and Caicos Premier. She’s been romantically linked to Nelly, Ocho Cinco and even Al Sharpton. I understand that it may be difficult to find someone with the same level of success you have, but come on, isn’t Gerardo still available? Sisquo?

She did a spread in the April edition of Black Men magazine scantily clad in a bikini, although she admits it was 23 degrees in the desert where they filmed. She is taking issue with the magazine’s publishing of several photos she deemed inappropriate claiming she was unprepared for the shots even though she is looking right into the camera lens. If I were trying to avoid the publication of provocative and embarrassing pictures of my assets, I would probably put on some damn clothes before the photographer showed up, but that’s just me.

Ladies, did you get jealous of Flava Flav and Ray J? Is that really how you want to be remembered? Is this all black women are because between Stella, Steve Harvey and these shows, they’re giving the other folk that impression.

I don’t consider any of these shows a benign form of entertainment. All of them are a continued perpetration of the myth that black men are nearly extinct or chock full o’problems and black women regardless of level of success just can’t find a man; a myth disproven by statistics and happy relationships around the globe.

[Editor's Note: I DO consider all of these shows a benign form of entertainment, but I agree with most everything else Sable's saying.]

If Lisa Raye can’t find a man, it’s probably because she is a gold-digger and men with sense can read any one of her 200 interviews stating as much. If Chilli can’t find a man, it might be because she has a list taller than she is of male requirements but none for herself. If Brandy can’t find a man, it’s probably because as evidenced by the show, she can’t seem to cut the apron strings from her family, and her family can’t cut ties with scandal and trifling. And as for the basketball “wives”, well, honestly what man is going to waste his time when he knows a date with you will cost him half plus alimony. So what I’m saying is, Ladies, you’re probably the reason why you’re single. Michelle Obama didn’t seem to have a problem.

If there is any good to come from this new direction in reality TV I guess it’s that it took our minds away from Tiny and Toya and Keyshia Cole’s crazy ass family for a few episodes.

My advice to the entire cast of reality world newbies is this: When you’re DOING YOU, it appeals to others and they’re more apt to want to do you too. Remember your talents and what made you famous in the first place. So Pep, Brandy and Chilli, go make a record. Lisa Raye, find a pole.

I’m just saying.

Question: Are these "Single Black Women" shows simple mindless humor, or a dangerous perpetuation of the very stereotypes responsible for the destruction of the black family? Which ones do you watch? Don't lie, I know you want this stuff.

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