Friday, July 13, 2012

Representin' For the Chocolate Sistas: Shari

Me and Cuz
So, I was just as I was about to catch up on the latest episode of one of my guiltiest of pleasures, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta  (hangs head in shame). Recently, I've become an avid watcher of this show and had been reading the buzz on it via twitter, fb and online so I was pretty surprised when I came across this article that one of my most favorite cousin and most talented freelance writers I know had written for with her thoughts about the show.
Usually, I tense up at the mention of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta in particular. The reason being is because many of times it tends gives off a negative connotation of (mostly) women and men of color because
the situations they times deal with are viewed at as taboo and because right now we have some shows that have started popping up that also don't show minorities in such a great light (ie: Basketball Wives, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop). They deal with things such as broken families, unstable finances, cheating, fighting, abortions, and the list goes on. To sum it all up, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, like most of these shows are usually is described as a hot mess, "ratched" or some coonery. However, be that as it may, I tend to watch it if I'm home. I am really unsure of how I got sucked into it but, hey what can I say, you can't seem to get away from reality TV these days. Sometimes its good and sometimes it isn't.
When it comes to discussing how people feel about this show I enjoy playing devil's advocate and  hearing what others think and feel about it from a two, or three sided perspective because everyone's thoughts and opinions on it varies, it gives you much to think about and brings a little something new to the table. With that being said my cousin Shari Wright's is representing for the Chocolate Sista's with her most recent article:


July 12th, 2012 - By admin

by Shari Wright
This is what everyone has been waiting for. And by everyone, I am only speaking about the critics that have denounced the show since the first 10 minutes of episode one of Love and Hip Hop ATL(LHHATL). Monday night we finally saw the “OMG look at how they are shaming our community” worthy footage. Because before this, the show seemed actually light to me. Yes, the triangles and personalities involved in LHHATL are wild and boisterous and sometimes perplexing and unbelievable, but as for specific embarrassing actions, the most we got was a sprinkle of an apple martini thrown on the back of the dusty jacket Stevie J was wearing. No bottles flying overheads, no slaps or punches, no weaves snatched (at least not literally), in fact there was barely anyone raising their voices. Of course, after Monday’s episode, all that is clearly out of the 15th floor window. So protesters, your proclamations of shame and distress that were announced weeks ago may now have credence. Or not…
First of all, I’m not making any excuses. The show might possibly be the most unhinged reality show starring black women, but I can’t forget the image of beautiful, vibrant women battling for the “love” of Flava Flav…so there’s that. I’ll say it’s a close second. Even with the jaw-dropping storylines and the scenes that induce heavy pauses and double blinking, I believe there’s a stint of purpose in the show.
Think about why we fall for LHHATL and subsequently all other reality shows. For one, it’s entertainment. For another, we can relate. We sometimes see ourselves, friends, or maybe work acquaintances reflected in these situations, and we are happy when we don’t see ourselves in this light; we get invested in characters that have a glimmer of the traits we admire. Sometimes it’s the loud mouth in the bunch, unafraid to stand up for herself regardless of the situation or person she’s facing, or sometimes it’s the quiet, loyal friend with the open heart that is simply longing for their love to be reciprocated properly. It could be reflections of self or associates… either way these people that are followed by cameras are not anomalies.
Take Emily from the original Love and Hip Hop, who was faced with the “I’m dating a rapper and I have his childbut he won’t claim me publicly” life. I read several tweets and posts of girls saying they knew what she went through. They related and they identified with her pain. They needed to see her take that momentary step where she finally put her emotional care in front of her emotional longing and walked away. The cameras followed this woman and caught her not screaming or throwing her ex’s clothes out on a sidewalk, but caught her instead throwing herself into a place where her sanctity mattered most.
Stop for a moment and ask, who on LHHATL was truly being “ratchet”…Momma Dee, but she isn’t ratchet as she is loud and unfiltered(also often filmed sans medication), but her personality appears to come from her struggles as a single mom looking to raise and protect her kids on her own. K Michelle could have been ratchet and started blasting her abuser’s name, but she used class and told her story without identities. I wish I could start a quick count of the many useful dialogues that crossed the social media forums dissecting the Mimi’s of the world and the women who can’t seem to let go of their turbulent relationships no matter how many times the man is caught disrespecting their existence. These women are present in this world. Why can’t we make room for their tales of woe?
Yes it’s a mess. Yes, there’s so much to shake your head about. However, it is entertainment. Every show does not have to offer deeper meanings. Not every medium will be available to fight for the/a cause. And that’s ok.
No one gets on Jack Black or Adam Sandler for making white people look like simple pot heads or ignorant, irresponsible drunks. What about the Housewives of Orange County, or New York, or New Jersey…Beverly Hills? Are there white women cringing and posting after every episode of their silliness and superficial flaunts? I dare not touch Mob Wives. Their commercials should be Rated R. But I digress. Those questions remain rhetorical. Those aren’t the only portrayals of white people. They have little to fret about.
This is why I think the critics have steered off course. LHHATL isn’t the main issue; limited portrayals are the problem. Our energies should be turned to getting more varied perspectives of who we are. We should then turn our remaining attention to actually supporting and viewing this array of depictions we desire. Better yet, why don’t we look into some indie black films/filmmakers/writers and support them? Find the students that participate in ‘Lens on Talent’ and other small film festivals and contests to give them financial backing. Maybe we should cease the protest against the obvious one-sided, too absurd to be commonplace occurrences entertainment that takes place in reality shows and demand for increased options. Or better, create the platforms for those options. But again, I digress