Exciting, riveting, jaw-dropping, pearl-clinching and gut-wrenching ― all descriptions of reality television. Privately, fans enjoy the drama without understanding the more public impact that reality television has on how black women are perceived.
African-American producers round-up other African-Americans. Just as it was done on the banks of Africa where we sold each other into slavery, we now do, in the boardrooms of America. Producers craft dehumanizing story lines that target their own community, their own sisters, their own brothers, their own blood. Knowingly they cast vulnerable, unaware, uninformed, lost, hopeless, frustrated, ignorant, greedy, thirsty women with the intention of orchestrating chaos. Chaos that single-handedly triggers record breaking profits and sets the scene for the social genocide of the Black Woman. All while ushering in a new era of Blaxploitation.
African-American reality television show producers often times prey on the most emotionally unstable, ignorant, and the most vain among us, often times annihilating any potential future these women have of developing a legitimate career. As if that weren’t enough, the images that they perpetuate on this type of television programming support stereotypes that stem from propaganda that has long been used to create ethnic and racial divides. It’s almost as if, one day we were standing arm-in-arm singing “we shall overcome,” and the next we’re using our brother and sister’s character flaws as a “come-up.” It’s ridiculous.
Whether it’s the “brotha nod,” or a pleasant smile exchanged one to another; there’s an unspoken bond, or kinship that we feel and recognize, even amongst strangers. Using that same fraternal bond to lure people into reality TV is an abuse of an inherent trust that we have among each other. And for that reason, I believe that African-American reality television show producers and stakeholders have a fiduciary responsibility to their cast, community, audience and society as a whole.