“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” creator Mona Scott Young said her show will help young viewers make better choices and the cast members improve their lives.
“I think at its core this show is a cautionary tale. There are women across the United States of America sitting around in their spandex waiting for a rapper to roll through their town,” Mona told MTV’s Sway.
“I think if nothing else, you’re seeing that it’s not all rosy. All that glitters isn’t gold. I might have thought I wanted that life, but maybe not,” she said.
The series, along with other reality shows featuring Black and minority women, has been criticized for reinforcing negative stereotypes. Mona said she is conscious of the images she helps perpetuate, but reasoned that it is reality.
“At its core, this show is set in a very specific world and is dealing with the struggles that these women are experiencing. When I hear that the show is fake and I hear that the show is scripted, it almost negates their very lives because this is their life,” said Mona, who insists that the show is not scripted.
"This is what they’re dealing with. It was going on before our cameras started rolling. It went on during our cameras rolling, and will continue to go on even when we pack up and leave the city,” she said. “It’s not scripted.”
While some may argue that Mona and other reality show execs are being irresponsible, she said she’s dedicated to telling the true stories of the cast members.
“I feel a responsibility to share truthful stories. I feel a responsibility to stay true to what we set out to do which was to give a real depiction as told by these people,” she said.
“It’s almost like we feel if we sweep it under the rug then it doesn’t exist. We have the right to tell their stories. I think they’re valid stories. Judging by the numbers, there are stories that people want to see and hear about,” she reasoned.
She also pointed out that her show serves as a vehicle to help the cast members move to the next level of their careers.
“I had nothing to do with Joseline [Hernandez] being in a strip club, bless her heart, but I’d like to think that I sure as hell helped her get out of it,” Mona said of one of the show’s more controversial stars.
“If she has an opportunity now to do something different with her life because of the opportunities and the exposure the show has afforded her, then God bless,” Mona said.
Watch Mona and Stevie J with Sway below.
—Tracy L. Scott
Do you agree with Mona? Does "LHHATL" warn women about the dangers of the hip-hop lifestyle and help its stars come up? Leave your comments below.