Black Culture and The Misfortunes of Reality TV


So like any other 19-year-old, I've watched reality tv. In 2006 when the world became fascinated with shows like Flavor of Love, I too was glued to the TV screen every Monday night. Little did I know reality shows how impactful Reality TV would become to cable. After years of watching these shows, I began to realize a repeated pattern of entertainment, deriving from a demographic of "stereotypical" men and women. Whether showcasing the images of the angry black woman or the womanizing black male I tried to figure out how television in particular Black American Sitcoms began as Good Times and What's Happening? And shifted to "Black Ratchet TV".

How did we get to the point where the highest rating shows on cable depict modern day minstrel shows of Blacks infested with anger, animosity and ignorance? No matter if one has a degree or has worked their way up from the slums "Black Ratchet TV" is airing out the levels of Blackness.

I get it. Drama sells, negativity sells because people enjoy watching the lives of other. Especially when our interest becomes involved with a celebrity storyline who's crashing and burning left and right. However, when individual attitudes start to depict and reflect the perceptions of an entire race, I began to question WHY these shows are continuing to develop, yet it seems I forget the people heading the networks. Money oriented, driven people who may not be thinking ethically, but are thinking GREEN, and it does not matter what community is outraged about it. Unfortunately, these shows depict how money overshadows REPRESENTATION.

It's not just the recent proclaim of disrespect within shows like Sorority Sisters but shows that portray all sistas and brothas negatively. I will agree, some individuals a part of these shows know what they're getting into deliberately signing up to have their lives exploited. It's another paycheck for them and another path to "success". However, in the big scheme of things it seems people are selling their demons to the world, giving an avenue for people to assume personal attitudes among the different races, especially, African-Americans.

There's a distinct shift from the shows that used to bring morals and virtues to the Black community.
I grew up on shows like Good Times, Sanford and Son, Living Single, A Different World, Martin, The Steve Harvey, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In one way or another highlighting what it meant to be Black in America these shows taught me about culture and the importance of striving forward through adversities. Even within the comedy presented in these shows I never once felt they were toxic to their viewers. Today, I don't look at television the same.

I believe that reality T.V's is making money off of stereotypes and exploitation. For black culture, I don't think it's a price worth paying. Honestly, It's not even worth the watch because no longer do I see shows that are relatable or age appropriate.

I can't relate to being rich and famous, having no care in the world, ready to throw drinks in the face of my enemy. Let's not even mention how the depictions of our community on television affects the youth.

With that said I'll keep on watching my re-runs of 90s sitcoms and reciting the scripts word for word. Truth told I rather watch something meaningful to my existence the fourth time around than have my eyes glued on toxic representation. #TUNNELVISION