27 May 2007

Blaxsploitation 2K7

The whole Don Imus thing a few weeks ago was awful on so many levels. We all know what he said and we all know that it was senseless, thoughtless and frankly, mean spirited.
But personally, I didn't get all up in arms over it. It was a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to say - it wasn't funny, it wasn't important, it was just the mindless rantings of a old guy that always looks to me like he just fell off a horse and got dragged for three or four miles.
I didn't get too bothered by what he said because my personal gripe with the degradation of American Black women starts with the Hip Hop industry, more specifically The Rap industry. No where else in the world do you find men of a particular race degrading the women of the same race in the sheer volume, nature and overall magnitude. The vast majority of Black rappers with any type of media exposure love to fill their music videos with the most beautiful women of color imaginable. Sadly, these women are usually the half naked, bouncing, jiggling, wiggling, sexually starved playthings of the rapper and his Boyz. Oh, and lets not forget usually the rappers are called their women B*tches, Hoes, Tricks and any number of other shameless things.
My gripe with the degradation of American Black women then goes to advertising, television and movies where Black women are usually portrayed as loud, angry, out of shape, finger snappin', neck poppin', single-moms. Okay - not ALL roles on TV fit this mold - but do this survey I do sometimes... Get a pad and a pen, draw a vertical line down the middle of the page and write a "B" at the top of one side and write "W/O" at the top of the other side. Then divide your two columns with another vertical line and write "F/S" on the left most side of each of the new columns and then write "L/C" on the right most side of each new line.
The letters stand for:
B (Black)
W/O (White / Other)
F/S (Fat / Slim)
L/C (Loud / Calm)
Now, just watch about an hour of commercial television and put a check mark under the corresponding column as you see women in commercials. That's all I have to say about that, the marks will speak for themselves.
But, what sent me to my blog at 2:30 in the morning when I should be asleep and dreaming about fast cars or beautiful women, is the fact that I was up and I happened to come across a show called "Charm School" on VH1 - you know, the other music video channel that doesn't show music videos anymore. I've passed by this show once or twice before because I've heard people talking about it and it kinda' left me dumbfounded. In a nutshell, there are 13 young women who were rejects from another awful VH1 show called "Flava of Love" that are brought together under the watchful eye of the comedienne / actress Mo'Nique. Mo' Noque's goal in all of this is to teach these young women how to become young ladies with "Charm" and good manners.
This show is really an exploitative joke. There are 8 Black women in the cast, a few White women and Filipino woman. This is one of those elimination shows and I think there are about 6 young Black women left. What truly bothers me about this show, from what I saw tonight and what I've seen in a prior episode is that helping these women grow and mature seems to be the last thing that Mo' Nique, the producers and VH1 have in mind. All they seem to want to do is put women with anger management issues, trust and honesty issues and little to no self esteem in situations that bring out the worst in them. Periodically, after an intense argument, cursing out or fist fight, the women trudge into this "office" where Mo'Nique is sitting and acting as if she's running a multi-million dollar company and they whine and moan to her. She says something odd and off the wall that is supposed to be motherly and wise and all is good again. Then, 20 minutes later she kicks off the young woman that actually seemed to be getting smarter and wiser.
I think the sole purpose of this show is to keep the loud mouthed finger poppers that are gonna' keep the most drama going onscreen. Nobody at VH1 gives a damn about these women that honestly need some help when it comes to social grace. These women serve as nothing more than tick drivers. They drive the Nielsen ratings ticks up ever-so-slightly for VH1. And yet again, the American Black woman is undeservedly shined on by a dim light.


g-e-m2001 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
g-e-m2001 said...

Yes, but WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THIS? I feel as if I am in the Twilight Zone. We keep having these flare ups of outrage over the degradation of African American women, but we never take any action.

Who were the advertisers that ran during the commercial breaks ?

Did you know that "Charm School" is the number one ranked show among African American women?

Yes, so what do we do about that? Is it worth even trying.

What About Our Daughters

Gunfighter said...

What we do about it is simple.

Don't watch the shows. Don't purchase the music. Don't purchase anything from advertisers for the show or music. Contact the advertisers and tell them why you won't purcfhase their products. Don't buy the music of ANY artist that records nder the sddame labels as these awful rappers.

Tel your friends what you are doing. Encourage them to do the same things.

When companies are worried about their money... they listen to the consumer.


The Thinking Black Man said...

Hi there GUNFIGHTER and G-E-M 2001...

I'm with Gunfighter, stop buying the advertisers products and stop watching the shows.

I have two files, one on my main CPU and one on my laptop entitled "ADVERTISING." When I see commercials I don't like, I sent them letters and lets them know I'm unhappy. I also send E-Mails from time to time. Personally, I try to point these bad images out as often as possible.

I think speaking out is our best weapon. Like GUNFIGHTERF said, when folks are worried about their money they make changes.

I didn't know the CS was top rated among Black women. I'm halfway NOT surprised... that dreadful "Flava of Love" was always being talked about by women that I thought were fairly intelligent, but they were watching it. This is probably why networks REFUSE to give us Black people decent television programs to watch - they know that many of us will be happy to watch the mindless, ignorant drivel that we are given.

But, I too worry about our daughters - lets just love them, protect them and instill them with intelligence and self-esteem. And, lets speak out to the commercial advertisers.

BTW - G-E-M 2001 Welcome to my blog and thanks for the comment!

Anali said...

I agree that people need to stop watching this stuff. So many people who know better watch it, because they say it's something fun and mindless. Well, they are supporting these horrible portrayals.

When these programs are shown all over the world, for some, this is their first impression of black women. When we travel, we may be treated accordingly. That is not what I want.

Lavatory Lady said...

Oh, I have found a new blog to love. Yes, the show is a joke. Have you ever heard Monique's stand-up routine? She would have better luck teaching an aerobics class than teaching these girls how to be "ladies". No "lady" is going to get on a show and whore herself in front of the world. This also goes for "ladies" on the bachelor, BUT there are enough positive views of white women to counter-act the ridiculous ones who are on the show. Well said, TBM, I am going to start my list TODAY!!

Anonymous said...

"Did you know that "Charm School" is the number one ranked show among African American women?"

Now that's what they say, but i haven't seen any numbers or stats to prove that. I know that I'm out of their demographics, but no one i know or have talked to watches that show. So how do they know Black women are tuned in? I will not just blindly accept what they say. This time I'm going to give my sisters the benefit of the doubt. We are not watching that TRASH!


Gerard said...

Thinking Black Man,
I live in Miami Beach, and this past holiday weekend attracts large numbers of Blackpeople to the city (much to the horror of the white population). I was walking down Lincoln Road yesterday with my aunt, my sister, my mother, and a female cousin. We passed three young white men, one of whom was wearing a t-shirt with the message: "Looking for a nappy-headed ho." The four of us stopped and debated whether or not to stop the three men and tell them exactly what we thought about the message on the shirt. Needless to say, we were outraged. The fact that this young white man would feel comfortable enough, or, perhaps, privileged enough, to wear such a shirt amongst large numbers of Blackwomen, left me speechless. My mother, aunt, sister, and cousin were all insulted. I have read many a comment that said Imus's comment was harmless, the whole thing will be forgotten, freedom of speech, etc. The degradation of Blackwomen is serious business, and words -- powerful, loaded, degrading words -- are never harmless. They seep into aspects of contemporary culture that only exacerbates the harm for which they are intended. I don't know where all this ends.

If I had a blog, I believe I would really have to call it The Angry Black Man. But love your blog. Thank you.

Mizrepresent said...

Wow, i was gonna say...great post, i agree, but got stunned by what Gerard just said in his post, and the white guy wearing the t-shirt stating "looking for a nappy-headed ho", although i never consider the terms "bitch and hoe", being referred to me, bc, i know i'm not one...i think if i saw this ignant mofo walking down the street (oooh, i'm losing i'm heading to the dark side)...i would be handcuffed and in a squad car from breaking opening up a can of WhipAZZ on him, but more importantly he would know that it is not safe, or respectable to wear that t-shirt around me, or any woman. Man! This is the t-shirt i would wear and i suggest other ladies to wear...my take on hoes and bitches.


Somebody’s mom
Somebody’s daughter
Somebody’s sister
Somebody’s niece
Somebody’s aunt
Somebody’s friend
Somebody’s confidante
Somebody’s love
Somebody’s savior

NOBODY’S Bitch, Trick or Whore!


Anonymous said...

Well said, but we'd do well as black folks to pay attention to the growing ranks of white men and women who hate us and listen to talk radio. Our rights are being stripped away each day and we aren't paying attention. This is not an either/or proposition. We need to fight our own self-hatred AND white racism. It says something horrible about our society when yet another opportunity to examine how racism continues to work turns into a discussion about how "bad" those black people are.


mark said...

Yo TBM excellent post and true. My sentiments echoe what the other posters have said.

DJ Black Adam said...


That white guy wearing that shirt should have been introduced to the working end of a Marine Corps beatdown.

Liz said...

I am sure we all know someone who watches Charm School. I think it's like porn. Most folks don't want to tell the world that they have a little stash of dirty videos and magazines, (not saying I agree with that stash existing) and I'll folks hide their Charm School viewing in the same way.

The folks that are totally upfront about watching are the white folks at my job who insist on discussing the episodes in detail when I'm around. They love acting shocked when I'm unable to contribute to the conversation.

To take it even further, why in the heck is Mikki Taylor from ESSENCE on the show? Wow, way to empower black women, Mikki.

Gerard said...

dj black adam:

I'm telling you, seeing that shirt literally stopped us in our tracks.
I still can't get over it.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hello there, ANALI.
I agree completely. This stuff isn't just harmless stupidity for those of us that know its stupidity. You're right - these broadcasters are exporting this crap.

Hey LAVATORY LADY! Thanks for the love. Let me know how your list turns out. Actually, I already know how the checks are gonna' look.

Hi there ONEFROMPHILLY. I hope that that comment was wrong. I've been trying to find the truth - when I do, I'm going to put it on my blog here.

What's up GERARD? Thanks for the luv Brother! I can't blame ya'll for wanting to pull up that @sshole with the T. Sometimes it feels good to call a fool out - but you know what, by you all just letting him continue to wear that shirt - you all allowed him to show EVEN MORE people just how ignorant he was. I guess he thought it was funny, but all he did was show how poorly his parents raised him.

My Sista' MIZREPRESENT! Thanks for the public service announcement. It was beautiful and I hope folks take it to heart.

Hi there TIGGER500. Great point! We Blacks are wedged squarely into this strange corner. What keeps us there is racism from without and racism from within. We do need to open our eyes and in many instances STOP being our own worst enemies. Thanks for your comment.

Hey MARK - Thanks Brother!

What's up DJBLACKADAM? Yeah, that would have been sweet. Actually I was hoping a few Brothers from the Rutgers football team happened to catch him near an alley later that night. I'm sure GERALD would have liked to put fist to jaw on the fool - but we can't have him out in the streets brawlin' in front of the ladies in his family. Old Dude in the Tee will get his down the road somewhere.

BTW DJ... That "C" info you posted on my previous post had me shamed AND laughing! I took 2 years of LATIN - I should have know that part about CAESAR!!! Man! How easily we forget! : )

Hey LIZ! My wife knew who Mikki Taylor was, me... I don't know anything about ESSENCE - but, I'm with you. YAY for the empowerment? Oh yeah, is it just me or does Mikki Alexander look like the twin sister of the dude on America's Next Top Model? The uh, guy that calls himself Miss Jay.

GERARD, the fact that you still can't get over it means you have a conscience and you were raised right! We feel you, man.

Nuvision for a Nuday said...

TTBM: Excellent post... I certainly agree with you about Charm School.


Tasha said...

Great post, TBM. It's amazing to me how many people complain (loudly) about the state of our race and our women as well as "others'" perception of blackwomen, but happily watch these shows and write them off as mindless entertainment. They believe that entertainment can't possibly affect our race and the outside perception thereof, but that's the one thing that transcends race/class/gender. People, regardless of race, etc, pay attention to "our mindless" entertainment and all too often, judge us based upon those unfortunate images.

B. Good said...

I don't know if this was stated already, but what about keeping these ladies from going on the show in the first place? There is no show without participants.

Like most everything else, it starts at home.

Not a ho said...

Thinking Man -

You think too much!

American television in general is geared towards the LCDB, lowest common denominator brain.

I never owned a TV in my life, but when I'm around one, it's Discovery or History channels for me.

I have a close friend who is a fierce defender of hip hop "culture". He says it's all about the plight, struggles and growth of black Americans. He also says that when rappers call women "hos" and "bitches" in their songs, well the women they are talking about are really "hos" and "bitches" in real life.

With all due respect to all sentient beings, do you really think the women in hip hop videos are anything but paid whores? I've read some hip hop expose books written by video vixens and it's quite clear that these women hook up with rappers for the name, fame and money. So yeah, stripping and dancing erotically and having sex with men in exchange for material gain makes you a what? A ho. Thankyou!

This does not exonerate the men. In fact it makes them the bigger sluts, because no matter how many men these women sleep with, you know the men are sleeping with even more women! I just can't imagine what level of STDs are being spread in this hip hop video world or "culture" as my friend puts it.

Anyway, as much as we can hold men responsible for dragging women down, they only get away with what women allow them to.

We teach people how to treat us.

Worldly Wise said...

One commenter wrote;

"When these programs are shown all over the world, for some, this is their first impression of black women. When we travel, we may be treated accordingly. That is not what I want."

This is so true, and I speak from experience.

People who are not widely read or travelled, to tend to equate portrayals on television with real life. That was my experience in India, often times not a good one, because of the way American women are portrayed on TV, and because of the vast cultural differences between a very sexually conservative (read denial) India, and a more forward West.

Militant Black Feminist said...

I think the nappy headed ho T shirt is a GREAT idea. Why? I think it will cause black men who either lead or follow hip hop to rethink their responsibilities towards their own community, towards their own women.

Now, if a black man were to wear that shirt, yeah, he'd get some flack, maybe, but not nearly as much as a white guy.

And that is why I hope more white men wear that shirt - as a public service to our black men to show them how stupid and degrading their lingo has become towards their own kind.

It it takes a white man to wake up our men, well, I say we work it, coz our men are not waking up on their own.

thinking black woman said...

I have to agree with what "not a ho" said. The women these men are singing about in their songs ARE hos. Come on! We know the kinds of backgrounds these rappers are from and what kind of women and men they grew up around - hos. They are singing about what they know - hos.

It's highly unlikely that cultured and refined women of high moral fiber were present in their lives in overwhelming numbers. And if they are rollin with the Hollywood crew now, there is little chance of that.

You can't describe a saint if you never met one.

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