Usually, I tend to stay away from entertainment because frankly I don’t give much of a damn about it. But upon hearing the news of rapper Shawty Lo’s new-found reality television series, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on the subject. Let me first start off by stating that I have a love/hate relationship with television. I love it for the wonderful entertainment that it USED to provide when I was growing up. To this day my heart grows nostalgic for Nickelodeon, “Family Matters,” “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and Saturday morning cartoons. Today is very different. Our children and teens have very little inspirational or innocent programs to look at. Cheesy talk shows about cheaters, wife beaters and baby mamas dominate the day with reality shows surrounding the lives of B and C list celebrities claiminglocal and national programming’s night time slots. The only time I really watch television is when I don’t want to think about anything and that’s quite sad.
This leads me to the subject at hand. Shawty Lo’s reality show “All My Babies’ Mamas (I’m Sorry);” set to air on the Oxygen Channel this spring. According to News One, the show’s creators describe it as one that will:
“capture the highs and lows of this extreme ‘blended family’ that is anything but ordinary, while also showing the drama and the passion behind life’s most unexpected situations.”
Oxygen’s Vice-President of Development continue to state that: “‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about.”
Here’s the deal about ATL-based rapper Shawty Lo. He has 11 children by 10 different women. The show will chronicle his day-to-day life interacting with “all his babies’ mamas” while trying to maintain sanity and peace throughout the entire ordeal. Makes for an interesting peace of coonery. On social media, the reaction to the show has been pretty mixed. Some say it’s a disgrace and an epic fail for African Americans. Others have the sentiment that it’s just pure entertainment and for those who dislike it, flip the channel. While everyone’s talking about it, one woman decided to start a petition in hopes of cancelling the show. Sabrina Lamg’s petition on change.org has a little over 3,ooo signatures and upon further research, she is one of at least five other individuals who have started petitions in opposition of the show.
Here’s an excerpt from Lang’s petition:
Our Children…our Community… Deserve Better.
Ban This Poison.
Ban This Television Show.
What is the difference between this minstrel show and the others which clog the airwaves without proper balance of the beauty and positive aspects of our community??
Too often people discredit to power of media. We as adults have the sensibility to either flip the channel or take it at face value. While Shawty Lo’s story of having children with more than one person is one that rings true for a large majority of African American parents, it joins a list of well shown stereotypes that are constantly reinforced in mainstream media. From the name of the show “All My Babies’ Mamas (I’m Sorry)” to the very setup of its delivery, this so-called “daring” 1-hour special is bound to send the message that with lots of unprotected sex resulting in multiple baby mamas comes reward.
Let’s start with the phrase “baby mama.” Statically speaking, more African Americans have children out of wedlock than any other race. So much to the point where we’ve coined, and glorified the term “baby mama.” We do it in our music and now Oxygen is looking to highlight it with this new show. So there is a subliminal message sent to millions of children and teens, regardless of who Oxygen is marketing this show to, that it is okay to have multiple children out of wedlock. I get it. Things happen.Everyone isn’t meant to, nor has to be married to have a child. But to blatantly promote an extreme case like Shawty Lo’s is degrading to African American culture and families.
Overall, America is seeing a delay and decline in marriages. My belief is that marriage is becoming a less valued institution; especially among African Americans. This is important to highlight because back in the day, blacks married. If a woman got pregnant, they got married. If she had 10 kids, chances are they were with the same man. There was a strong male figure present in the household working and raising the family alongside his woman. Now, what we see today is a division of the black household. I can guarantee that this division will be presented on “All My Babies’ Mamas.” We’re going to see women showing jealousy towards one another, the cattiness that is present in say…”Real Housewives of Atlanta” or “Bad Girls Club” will be amplified because of the attachment each woman has with this one man.
The second part of the title “(I’m Sorry)” is one to be noted as well. I cannot imagine anyone, black, white or other looking at the show and not thinking that this is a sorry and sad situation. Shawty Lo may be sorry for the mistakes that he made, I’m not really sure, but what he’s signed up for is a sorry display of the broken African American family for everyone to laugh at. People need to be aware that the subliminal is more powerful than the direct. Our consciousness, especially if it’s underdeveloped is quite impressionable. This is not to insult our youth at all. I’m sure a nice amount will look at the show and think to themselves “I will not make those mistakes.” A large part of me just wishes that we as a whole preferred to highlight our successes, which can be entertaining more so than the drama-filled reality that has consumed our modes of entertainment.