While many stars deny that they turn up the drama to secure ratings for their shows, that would actually be a more comforting explanation than to believe that women, like the stars of “Basketball Wives,” would normally curse, argue and throw ‘bows even if the cameras weren’t there.
Regardless of whether the drama is real or staged, it’s true that today’s reality stars are using their fame as opportunities to brand themselves and move into acting, like “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star, NeNe Leakes (pictured left); writing, like “BBW” star and author, Royce Reed; or fashion, like “BBW: L.A.” jewelry maker, Malaysia Pargo.
While no one would begrudge today’s reality stars’ success in areas outside of the genre, some might argue that the apparent prerequisite—being an out-of-control, often angry Black woman—isn’t worth the reward.
So, where exactly did reality TV go wrong? Probably somewhere around the time when networks began making celebrities out of people whose bread and butter depended on showing their
However, like so many reality stars have stated, all the blame can’t be placed on them. Networks and producers have helped to feed the beast, as have viewers.
So, where did TV fans go wrong? There may not be one exact moment, but it was likely somewhere between excusing the behavior because isolated incidents—like one “Flavor of Love” contestant defecating on the floor—weren’t necessarily a reflection of us and realizing that failing to check any televised attack on the image of Black women leaves an even bigger mess to clean up.
Tracy L. Scott has worked with cast members of “College Hill,” “Baldwin Hills” and other reality series and formerly covered TV for The Washington Post. She currently works for Sister 2 Sister. The views expressed here are her own.