A black woman watching television
A black woman watching television. © Monkey Business - Fotolia.com

From Clutch Magazine:

In the past few months several Change.org petitions have surfaced calling for the cancellation of various “ratchet” reality shows. While it remains to be seen how successful these petitions will be in their efforts, one thing is becoming clear:  more and more black women are speaking out against the minstrelsy of black women on negative-themed “reality” shows.  Could it be that black women are finally getting sick and tired of the “Crazy Black Reality Chick” meme?

Last year violent, “ratchet” reality shows were all the rage.  The stereotype of the materialistic, loud, aggressive black woman is still the dominant one on cable; however, it now seems that the interpersonal violence is not as frequent (most likely due to economic and legal consequences via lawsuits by current and former cast members).

There’s still a long way to go in rehabbing the overall depiction of black women in various forms of media.  But it does appear (at least on this date) that two things are happening right now around the reality TV genre:  1. public sentiment around these “guilty pleasures” is shifting away from blind acceptance, and 2. violence on the shows seems to be decreasing.

What was the impetus for this subtle change?  In large part, I believe it’s due to the actions of the following four women.

  1. MEEKA CLAXTON:  After being physically attacked by fellow Basketball Wives cast mate Tami Roman, Meeka filed suit against Roman and the Vh1 network.  No word on the disposition of the case, however her decision to hold Tami accountable for her actions sent a loud signal to the network that violence between cast members could have some potentially serious financial and legal consequences.
  2. KELLY SMITH BEATY:  Her “Will the Real Black People of Atlanta Stand Up” Huffington Post op-ed brought attention to the constant battering that the image of Black women in Atlanta are receiving via the reality show genre.  Beaty’s impassioned plea for the networks last summer to stop defaming the image of Black Atlantan’s was a viral success and garnered tremendous attention on the stereotypical representation of Black women.
  3. SABRINA LAMB:  When the teen financial empowerment guru behind WORLDOFMONEY.ORG saw the trailer for the horrific Oxygen network spawned “All My Babies’ Mamas” (a reality show featuring G-Unit rapper Shawty Lo and 7 of the 10 mothers of his 11 children), she hit the roof.  Lamb’s uber successful CHANGE.ORG petition is largely credited with getting the show yanked from the air.

Read the rest of this story on Clutch Magazine.