Reality TV? New Show “All My Babies Mamas” is Our Own Doing

BY: - 27 Dec '12 | On the Web

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ShawtyLoAllMyBabiesMamas

Lord Why?

Right now, even as I am writing this post about the new reality television special, “All My Babies Mamas,” I am conflicted as to whether I should be giving this foolishness any more attention than it deserves, which is none whatsoever. Oxygen Media is billing the show as a daring one-hour special centering around one man, his many women, and the many children he shares with them. Although Oxygen has yet to confirm, rumor has it that the show will star Carlos “Shawty Lo” Walker, best known for his hit “Dey Know” and nothing else in particular, and the 10 women with whom he has fathered 11 children. The claim was further solidified by this trailer, which was so painful to watch, that it forced me to shed a single tear and overdose on brownies. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (See full trailer below)

The trailer is troubling. Watching the baby’s mamas battle it out and each be categorized with names like “the fighter,” “the bougie one,” “baby mama from hell”–is troubling. Watching this wannabe pimp raise his brood as he struggles to remember the kids’ names and misses his daughters’ graduations from high school to hang out with his new 19-year-old girlfriend a.k.a. future baby mama 11 is troubling. But what was more troubling for me than anything depicted in the show was this statement by Oxygen Media:

“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.”

Translation: “This new black show will be so full of real-life ratchetness, tomfoolery and coonery that black women everywhere won’t be able to help but to latch onto it and spread it around like wildfire. (and if you do, we’ll be bringing you some more)”

We cringed a little when we first saw wig-pulling on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. This paled in comparison to the fist-to-cuffs conflict on Basketball Wives. By the time Love and Hip Hop rolled around, we forgot about even trying to pretend like the on-screen ladies were any more than groupies, and when Love and Hip Hop Atlanta aired, we didn’t think things could get any worse.

We were wrong. The truth is that it has, and will continue to get worse for as long as we’re willing to tune in. Right now someone is watching the trailer for All My Babies’ Mamas and wondering what they can do to capture a larger audience by outdoing it.

Bad reality shows aren’t just a black problem. The one night that I caught a little bit of an episode of Mob Wives, I couldn’t believe that what I was seeing was legal. The difference is that for every Mob Wives and Honey Boo Boo, there are 10 other television shows featuring white people that reinforce for us that those are only segments of white culture, and don’t represent the whole. Not so in black reality TV. While images of black families are underrepresented everywhere else, the networks give us more than enough air time for negative images of black folks on reality TV, and we can’t seem to get enough.

We would understand how detrimental this is if All My Babies’ Mamas were an actual sitcom. If Oxygen said “we’re going to create a fictional gold-tooth wearing, pimped out black man with 11 kids by 10 different women and put it in our line up,” I can’t begin to imagine what the angry reaction would be, but shows like All My Babies’ Mamas fly under our radar. It’s as if we’ve said that it is not okay for producers and writers to create depictions of blacks acting a fool, but it’s perfectly fine to show us acting a fool over and over again in real life.

I wish that I could blame VH1 or Bravo or Oxygen, but the only ones truly to blame are ourselves as black people for continuing to tune in. The only color the networks care about is green. They won’t put out, and the advertisers aren’t paying for what they don’t have an audience for. So instead of coordinating a large scale boycott, why not just take the much simpler solution; stop watching it. Stop tweeting about Evelyn, stop posting about Stevie J., and watch how quickly those characters disappear. If not, let’s just pull out our popcorn and don’t act shocked when the All My Babies’ Mamas spin-off All My Babies’ Daddies airs next fall, because we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

Will you be tuning in to All My Babies’ Mamas? Who’s to blame for all of the negative images in black reality tv?

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About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 187 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.

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31 WordPress comments on “Reality TV? New Show “All My Babies Mamas” is Our Own Doing

  1. Shonda Love

    Wow…I am appalled and ashamed for the people who will be participating in this travesty of a so-called show….no, I will not be watching

    Reply
  2. Tiya

    I am just disgusted. I am trying to figure out how we can collectively stop this before it even airs. We are responsible for the images that are portrayed of us. Everytime we support and participate we can’t blame anyone else.

    Reply
  3. Briana Myricks

    What I did notice from that travesty of a trailer was that not all of his baby mamas were there. So at least 3 of them had some sort of sense (although they still slept with this man so the verdict is still out). Just those 13 mins I spent watching that can’t be given back. I wouldn’t dare spend any additional time trying to process why on earth we keep doing this to ourselves. Like you said, we did this to ourselves. I tuned in as things got worse on the shows you mentioned. And I just…I can’t.

    Reply
    1. Aja Dorsey Jackson Post author

      I did notice that a few were missing as well as a few of the kids. Not sure why those ladies opted out, but I’m glad at least someone was willing not to put their family on display for a quick dollar.

      Reply
  4. Faith

    wow…..so many things i could say. sister wives was crazy, and based on religious ideals (so to speak); this is simply weird. why would women put themselves in this position? and why would anyone let themselves be portrayed as such one-dimensional people?
    obviously this show encourages negative stereotypes. none of the women seemed to care that they were being poor parental role models, and they did not seem to care about their appearance or speech.
    my husband and i watch tv off the internet, via a roku device. most, if not all, cable shows do not air in this manner. as more people remove cable from their homes and budgets, shows like this won’t have an audience.

    Reply
    1. Alycia

      I agree… Currently and for as long as I can remember, I don’t have cable in my home. Not only does it save me money, but it saves me from exposing my children to the nonsense that airs on cable tv. The sad thing is, regular tv and even commercials have gotten more and more inappropriate now days! It’s a shame, but it just goes to show what this world is coming to…

      Reply
    1. Aja Dorsey Jackson Post author

      I have thought the same thing as well. Right now it seems that a large majority of these shows are based out of Atlanta. Not just bad for black people, but bad for that city’s image as well.

      Reply
      1. Lamar Tyler

        GA has a great Tax Credit program for film and television production which is why it’s becoming Hollywood East but as you can see all production ain’t good production.

        Reply
        1. Rene Syler

          Lamar you are so right. And so is Alexis. Time to stop buying from sponsors that advertise in those shows. Look, I think the one thing we need to remember is this is an EXTREMELY cheap format to produce; therefore, as Aja points out below, people need not be talented, only foolish to be famous. Now, I have spent a lifetime in TV. I know who watches, I know the power of the medium and sadly, I know there will be some people who don’t come into contact with African Americans who model the principles of a good marriage. THIS will be what they see and sadly, I fear we will all be poorer for it.

          Reply
  5. Alexis

    It isn’t enough not to watch these shows, although it’s a very good start. We MUST find out who the advertisers are, STOP buying their products, and TELL them why they have lost our business. Imagine what would happen if enough of us like-minded people who are against foolishness and fuckery would just do that one thing. I’m all over this one! I’m tired of seeing us act like coons!

    Reply
    1. Aja Dorsey Jackson Post author

      I am so with you in being tired of seeing us act like this on television. I think the problem is that most people won’t even take the first step of not watching, let alone boycotting advertisers. Unfortunately, there are many women mostly, who are so entertained by these shows that they keep supporting them. I understand that sometimes shows like this can be a guilty pleasure, but unfortunately when we have such few positive representations of blacks on TV, we don’t have room for guilty pleasures.

      Reply
  6. Karen

    Didn’t even watch all of it. Bad example for children! Was he really praying before they ate? I think i’ll pray for them. Makes me sick and he’s proud?

    Reply
  7. Kevin Warmack

    Why do we let garbage like this show us in this light. What’s even worse is that real black men, real fathers who do the right thing are never shown. As someone said earlier, we need to target the advertisers and let them know that we will not support them if they advertise on this “program”

    Next we need to let the network know that we don’t like this!!

    Reply
  8. Utokia Langley

    Unfortunately this show will be viewed just to see the drama and the ghetto fabness (is that a word lol) … I personally am NOT watching and REFUSE to be pulled into the comedic aspect of being a “Baby Mama” it is a disgrace to all the hard-working single Moms who make something of themselves and raise loving, well behaved, educated children … I am disgusted at what “we” will do to make that almighty dollar … I mean really where will this “reality” show business stop? UH it won’t b/c “we” continue to watch … stop it, this is degrading to women and men as far as I am concerned … it is disrespectful and a disgrace to our race, ok, I can rant forever but I am a product of the hood and I am living proof, I do not act a fool like the women on this show … being raised poor does not mean you act a fool it just means you didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in your mouth … it is however, not an excuse for how you live your life today and how you raise your children tomorrow! whew, nough said!

    Reply
    1. Aja Dorsey Jackson Post author

      I think that now we have created a monster in that people realize that they no longer need any type of talent to earn money and a modest level of fame on television. Instead of rewarding those who work hard, we’re rewarding people for making bad life decisions with money and fame. What lesson does this teach? Don’t get an education, have a baby out of wedlock with a no-count man, and you too could become a superstar!

      Reply
  9. Kirstin (aka The Travelin Diva)

    OMG! It amazes me to what lengths people will go to to earn a dollar. That’s what this show is ultimately about. It’s so so sad that all these women fell for this short rapper’s 15 minutes of fame. I found myself laughing but then was overwhelmed with sadness because this is how they live and it is totally acceptable to them. Baby #12 is coming soon trust and believe. I’m not going to watch but my last question is when is the court ordered vasectomy coming? A man who can’t remember the name of the child who’s named after HIM obviously has too many children!

    Reply
  10. Martin Pratt

    Everyone who is commenting on this mess this is not Black America’s fault i blame GA – ATL that ish is sponsored and paid by GEORGIA TAXES. DC NYC PHILLY CHICAGO HOUSTON OAKLAND DAYTON BOSTON LA got our own problems. This is completely YALLL HOTMESS down in ATL. I blame Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris,Tiny, Ti, Lil Jon, Big Boi OutKast, Freaknik aka Black Sorors and Frats – Greek Weekend Picnic this is what all that spawn..

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      Martin, it would be GA’s hot mess only if it stayed in GA. Unfortunately, it becomes OUR hot mess when it’s broadcasted across the USA (and anywhere else they can get this on the airwaves). Not in terms of just taxes, but in terms of interstate and international sponsorships (meaning MONEY), and in terms of all of the folks watching this and being adversely affected by this. Yeah, we got problems elsewhere (I’m in Chicago – imagine what a hot mess it is when you are compared to Iraq – Chiraq is our new name) but we all going down whenever and wherever our garbage sprouts up!

      Reply
  11. THE ALCHEMIST

    Black women are only about 8% of the population. They can’t be dependent on only 8% of the population to keep these shows on the air.

    Reply
  12. Katherine

    I feel as though I just watched dissertation on Baby Mamas in documentary form. Further proof that we must, as Bob said “Emancipate ourselves from mental slavery” – this is beyond deplorable. It speaks to the unraveling of everything that people fought and died for. Apparently, these sisters want a pay check and air time. Please post who the sponsors of this program are when possible, as the real work to be done is mobilize folks and boycott.

    Reply
  13. Pingback: In Response To BMWK's Article on Shawty Lo and All My Babies Mamas | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  14. Pingback: Open Friday: Shawty Lo and All His Baby Mama Drama « From Ashy to Classy

  15. Annita

    My goodness. After reading that article I really cannot say that I am surprised at where television or the media has matriculated. This has been coming for a long time due to the decay of the moral fiber and fabric of the human psyche. You stated it so eloquently when you said that television stations have to produce more disturbing material just to get a response from the viewing audience.

    Something has to change and the chance has to begin with the hearts and minds of the public. If we were to follow the Word of God, teach our children how to love themselves and fellow man, keep our noses in the Word and be proper Christian disciples things could come but they could not destroy the standards that we would uphold.

    I notice that the Anonymous Responder cited slavery and families being separated and sold to create oppression. I would say that is true to some extent and then I am not so sure about that even then because everyone has something precious that God instilled in us and that is free will. It is what sets us apart from any other living thing on this earth. While there are some influences in our lives as blacks that can send us down that unsavory path, I do not believe that we do not have some say so as to what happens in our lives. No one can make us do what we do not want to do. I used to believe that about blacks not having a chance because of what happened to us during slavery. I don’t buy it now. Look at the Jewish nation who was almost wiped out during the holocaust. I have not heard of one who uses that dark time in history as a crutch to not put forth their best effort. Far from it as they take what happened pass it down as with all of their history and move from there.

    Until we as a race of people make up in our minds that we will not settle for anything but the best that we can do and don’t try but do it we will always be viewed as second rate. Explain why some of us do succeed in the face of adversity. It is quite simple. There is drive, focus and goals. I know many who were born in a bad situation but became someone totally different than where they came from.

    There are many reality shows that come on television, but I don’t give them the producers the satisfaction of watching any of them as I have too much pride in myself as a person to be thought of as a voyeur in today’s society. I was too busy rearing my young boys to become upstanding, productive black men and am still doing the same with my grand children.

    The media puts out what they think we want to see. We have to let them know that they are lying and the truth is not in them.

    Reply
  16. Pingback: Shawty Lo and the Baby Mama Show: A Single Mother Speaks Out Against Critics | Naturally Moi

  17. Herman Hawkins Jr.

    Enough already! Reality TV, whether it is the Basketball Wives or Honey Boo Boo, is debasing, degrading and disgusting. And the sad thing is that there is a market for this garbage and people willing to deal in gossip and drama. The bean counters at the networks know this and are willing to put out this cheap garbage because it doesn’t cost much to produce. We consume this junk as much as we consume fast food, and neither is healthy.

    Reply
  18. saundra1571

    I hope this show does come on. I am definitely watching it, I don’t understand why people are trying to stop it from airing. If these women put themselves in this predicament, why is it wrong to air it on TV? it’s not about race, so why is everyone focusing on Race. Every time there is a show, or anytime of negative attention brought to African Americans, the race card is pulled out. I personally am sick of hearing about it. I think that African Americans are more racist them are white people. I am a European woman, some label me as White. An African American Male savagely murdered my younger sister, he stabbed her 64 times, raped her and then set her on fire, I don’t go around pulling a race card, I don’t go around trying to kill every African American male that crosses my path. Another example just last night I saw a commercial on Tv for a dating cite called meetblackpeople.com, really,,, is there such a cite that is only advertised for White people? I think not, another example BET, Black Entertainment, is there a White people only show? It’s time to get over the race bullshit. its one sided.

    Reply
  19. Pingback: Shawty NO: Controversial Reality Show Gets Canceled | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  20. truong

    I don’t even know the way I finished up here, however I assumed this post was once great. I don’t realize who you might be but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger in case you are not already. Cheers!

    Reply
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