Representation

If you are a frequent reader, and I know that you are, you’ve come across my opinion about the show Basket Ball Wives.

Honestly were it not for the presence of Tami Roman:

I more than likely would never have tuned into the show.  I’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with Tami, and it continues.  She appears to be genuine, if short fused, and I appreciate genuine.  I do not appreciate the weave she wore to the Basketball Wives 3 reunion show…but no one is perfect.

I watched seasons two and three of BB Wives, unable to pull myself away from the train wreck, and questioned how it is that portrayals of Black women on television became so hostile, and ugly.

A few days ago it was disclosed that Tyler Perry is the highest paid man in Hollywood so I was finally able to make the connection.  (the protest of the Tyler Perry minstrel show will be another blog…..stay tuned)

I find myself disturbed at the images our daughters are watching, and understanding that television is the biggest – if not the best – influence in so many households, I speak out about the trash we are showing our daughters.

Basketball Wives & its LA spin off would be such trash.

First there is the idea that to be anyone a girl must first be a wife ::: eye roll ::: then there is the glamorized lifestyle with Gucci bags and Escalades that these girls falsely believe will prove the they have arrived.  Your Jimmy Choo shoes do not define you, young ladies.

At the Essence Music Festival in 2011, coincidentally just before the premiere of the LA version of Basketball Wives, the executive producer, Shaunie O’Neal ex wife of Shaq, decided that she would speak out about the negative portrayal of Black women on television.

Shaunie made it quite ‘clear’ that although she still retains the credit of executive producer (and assumingly the check that goes with the title) she was hands off the LA cast.  Now this could very well be the case of her being naive and not being able to own her brand.  It happens to many newbies in show business where creative rights and veto power tend to not be in the final contract.

What it is more?  Shaunie upset that her ex husband’s jump off is in the cast and there is a little chick all of 25 years old, who doesn’t seem to be dating a basketball player.

If Shaunie wanted to show Black women in a better light, even if she WAS hands off the LA Cast?  She could start with her own Miami cast.  It doesn’t look good when Tami is smacking Meeka in Italy, when Evelyn is tossing drinks at Royce, and well I have no idea what to say about Suzie.

Heal thyself Shaunie.

But let’s get to the LA cast:

 
From L to R: Imani, Draya, Laura, Gloria, Malaysia, Jackie

So I am four episodes into the season and I am having a serious WTF moment.

Episode One despite the fist fight at the end of it showed promise.

First off episode one contained two women not in the group cast shot:  Kimsha Artest, and Tanya Williams.  The presence of both these women had me singing the hallelujah chorus!

Tanya is first off beautiful.  Beautiful in ways that Gloria, or Evelyn, or any of the other “wives” could never be in my humble opinion:

Her presence is extraordinary, she can speak full and complete sentences that do not contain the word Louboutin, and she advocates for women who have been victims of domestic violence.  She could be a positive role model for young Black women on her hair alone!  Look Ma!  No Weave!

Alas, there has been no Tanya on screen since episode 2, and she is not currently appearing in the opening credits.

 My second hope for the show was Kimsha Artest:

Another brick house beauty with her OWN HAIR!  Kimsha is kind of like what you want to see Tami be when she grows up. She seems real, genuine, mature, and unlike Tami doesn’t seem to feel the need to pop off at the mouth.  You look @ Kimsha and think she will fuck a bitch up yet she’s never running around SAYING I will fuck a bitch up.  At least you think that…Kimsha also has been banished to she’s not stereotypical and loud enough so we won’t show her limbo.  Kimsha is also no longer appearing in the opening credits.

What we do have is lots of crazy Jackie Christie and a young woman who I lovingly refer to as walking herpes: Draya.

When I first saw Jackie, I thought wow she’s not 30 like the rest of these kids, great she will bring some stability to the chaos.  I didn’t know she was crazy Jackie Christie.

For what it is worth she’s been married 16 years to her husband Doug, who appears to love her.  It makes her no less crazy though.

Draya is a stripper, turned King magazine model, turned Chris Brown fling.  I don’t knock her for dating more than one famous person, but that doesn’t make her look any more intelligent or less dirty.  We all have a past, and I am sure I have more skeletons in the closet than she does.  I do not look like walking herpes though.

It is one thing to come from a working class background and have to do non traditional jobs to have success.  It is another to not be able to put together a simple sentence without 14 ya know wha I means?

Yes part of it is a generational gap for me, I don’t “get” most 25 year olds.

I could speak the king’s English at 25 though.   There is a feeling about Draya that her 25 year old body will take her everywhere in life.  It is a nice body (even if she is on the skinny side) but 25 and its looks don’t last forever. At 28 when the industry has determined her to be ‘old’ you feel well she will have nothing else to stand on.  I hope that is not the case, but I fail to see how you can look at her and see anything different.

You have the choice between Tanya and Draya and you feed your viewers Draya.  Okay VH1….I see you.

It is time that we demanded better, and turned off BET and VH1 when our kids are in the room.

About Aphrodite Brown

Aphrodite Brown is the owner and creator of Vizionz from the Bottom. Vizionz is a life and culture blog covering all aspects of life from pop culture, to politics, to parenting, with an extra heavy dose of alternative lifestyle & sex positive living.
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2 Responses to Representation

  1. bottom bytch says:

    That is why I mentioned the two women who I think could have been positive role models.

    When you look @ Tanya you see a beautiful Black woman, who chooses to walk a different path.

    I don't know any of these women personally (obviously) but it is clear that the choice has been made to feature certain characters over others.

    I look at Tanya and just on her brief appearances I see an educated woman with a positive attitude, in great shape and who loves life.

    You look at say Laura who has a questionable history (at best) who in episode 4 goes off on a rant about how she will never date a Black man again.

    Her ex didn't treat her badly because he is Black he treated her badly because he is an asshole, and she allowed it.

  2. MV's esclave says:

    These shows are just plain trash. I watched two episodes and that was enough for me. What makes me infuriated is that, in my mind, they basically say that you can't take a black women anywhere. That no matter where she is in life she will always act like she's from the "ghetto". Frankly I'm tired of seeing that on TV.

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