Rickey Smiley took “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” producer Mona Scott-Young to task for the depictions of minority women that her hit show offers.
“I just can’t go on record and say I really support that show,” Rickey said on his radio morning show. “I have an issue, and a lot of people have an issue with seeing women on television fighting like dogs in an alley.”
Mona has said before and repeated to Rickey that she thinks “LHHATL” has helped the women featured on the show.
“These women come to realizations they may not have come to had they not had the opportunity to look at themselves objectively,” she said. “There’s nobody who can say that they didn’t see a tremendous amount of growth. When you talk about a woman like Joseline [Hernandez], who lived the majority of her life on the streets and in the strip club, when she got her very first check, this woman cried because she had never gotten a check. She’d only gotten dollar bills thrown at her in the strip club.”
While Rickey admitted he hasn’t watched every single episode, he challenged Mona’s assertion that the series does more good than harm.
“After the fighting, where’s the solution?” he asked before suggesting that the show’s high ratings and money made by the producers and stars doesn’t justify the series continuing in the direction it’s currently heading.
“I just have this thing where, all money ain’t good money,” he said, describing the show as “ratchet” and “gutter.”
Although Mona said the series has brought on counselors to help the show’s stars, Rickey pointed out that doesn’t occur on every episode, and week to week, viewers are left with somewhat stereotypical images of Black women.
Rickey, whose new TV One series premieres next month, also questioned why Mona doesn’t use her “Love & Hip Hop” platform to offer positive images of Black women and help the community.
“You got voter suppression out here. You got domestic violence out here. You got cancer. You got hypertension. You got all of these issues out here in the Black community, that you have an opportunity to address, and they’re not getting addressed,” he said.
Mona reiterated that her series is primarily a source of entertainment, but she did admit that she’s not always a fan of the way the show’s stars behave.
“I don’t necessary subscribe to the way they handle things all the time, but there’s also a constant behind-the-scenes dialogue I have with these women,” she said.
Rickey argued that each member of the community has a responsibility to protect the images of Black Americans, and he’s not too keen on White companies profiting on shows that reinforce negative stereotypes.
“At some point where do we draw the line in the sand and say enough is enough? You have to take a stand for what’s right. I’m not put on this earth to be liked by everybody. You don’t have to agree with me, but we all have a responsibility to make a stand. Don’t let White folks exploit you,” he said.
Get more on Rickey’s new TV One sitcom in the September 2012 issue of Sister 2 Sister.
Hear more of Mona and Rickey’s interview below.
Watch a promo for Rickey’s new show below.
Rickey, NeNe Leakes, Star Jones and more comment on “Basketball Wives.”
—Tracy L. Scott
Do you agree with Rickey? Do you agree with Mona? Will you watch Rickey’s new TV One sitcom? Leave your comments below.