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:
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.