Is Shaunie O’Neal going to change ‘BBW’?

    Will Shaunie O’Neal be changing what fans love most about “Basketball Wives”?

    The executive producer of VH1’s hit reality show, famous for its verbal and physical fights, cattiness and materialism, expressed to CNN in an open letter that she wants the show to become one that offers a more positive depiction of Black women.

    “My role as executive producer of the show does not negate my concern for how Black women are portrayed on reality TV, but I do believe that there are some shows attempting to strike a balance and have a positive message despite the drama,” Shaunie wrote, expressing that she wants “Basketball Wives” to become one of those kinds of shows.

    Shaunie listed BET’s “Toya” and “Monica: Still Standing” and WE tv’s “The Braxtons” as shows that offer a realistic view of what life is like for Black women without supporting negative stereotypes.

    “They all have the same core storyline — single, exes of high profile men, trying to raise their children and get their lives back on track. I believe that is positive and when handled properly can be very uplifting and empowering for women going through the same issues, no matter their race,” the letter read.

    While season 3 of “Basketball Wives” focuses a bit more on the women’s families and personal lives, it’s the constant tension between the cliques, those in Shaunie’s circle and those on the outside, that has drawn viewers.

    Although many complain about the portrayal of Black women, that hasn’t stopped the show from becoming one of the most popular reality TV series, suggesting that some do enjoy the drama.

    S2Smagazine.com user Wmadrid48 wrote, “LoL i like the show nothing like dramatic catty woman clawing at eachother to brighten MY DAY!” However, it’s entirely possible that the comment was meant to be sarcastic.

    Less controversial reality shows haven’t always found an audience. Bravo’s “Real Housewives of DC,” whose biggest storyline was arguably the one featuring the eccentric White House party-crashing couple, has not been renewed for a second season.

    Likewise, Bravo quickly “replaced” former Atlanta cast members DeShawn Snow and Lisa Wu Hartwell, who didn’t participate in many verbal or physical altercations while on the show.

    That begs the question of whether “Basketball Wives” fans will continue to tune in if Shaunie tones things down.

    “I believe that if you look closely and beyond the arguing and the fighting, you’ll see a group of women trying to get their lives back on track and figure out who they really are,” wrote Shaunie, who told Sister 2 Sister that she doesn’t condone the fighting on the show.

    Shaunie’s not the first Black TV executive to question the images she’s putting out into the universe.

    Comedian Dave Chappelle, the creative mind and star of Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show,” ended his show in 2006 when he was faced with a similar moral dilemma.

    Instead of revamping his hit comedy show, Chappelle simply ended it.

    "I want to make sure I’m dancing and not shuffling. Whatever decisions I make right now I’m going to have to live with. Your soul is priceless,” he said.

     

    Would you watch a revamped "Basketball Wives" that excludes the fighting? Should Shaunie leave well enough alone or should she follow Dave Chappelle’s lead and just end the show? Leave your comments below.

     

     

    —Tracy L. Scott

     

     

    Here’s more:

    Forum: Do Black celebs taint our image?
    Shaunie O’Neal irked by double standard
    Shaunie O’Neal hints at friction with new ‘Basketball Wives’ cast member

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