All "Reality TV" shows are a cheap, low-cost way for Corporate Television to make money off the backs of ordinary citizens and there is nothing ever "real" about them. "All My Babies' Mamas" is sold as a "Reality TV" show about a "unique, modern family" - but it depicts only another false, ugly stereotype of African Americans and nothing about the reality of Black people's lives in the United States. The US White Corporate Media have used Blacks for profit from the time their ancestors first arrived in Jamestown on slave ships in 1619 to the present. Throughout the last 400 years the white-owned media has portrayed Blacks as lazy, dangerous, ignorant, objects of humor and criminals, drug addicts, pushers and pimps, while robbing Black athletes, Black musicians, Black workers and rich Black Culture & Arts for corporate profit. The corporate media assiduously avoid promotion of their proud history of strong families, close-knit communities and social networks, their hard work, intelligence and culture - with dignity. In a nutshell, the White capitalists controlling the media are nothing less than an extension of the same racism that produced White wealth in the US tobacco and cotton fields in the 17th century.
LovelyTi (video) and Color of Change (article below) give us the scoop on how the capitalist media is exploiting and degrading black people for profit in this new TV series, "All My Babies' Mamas." In the minds of corporate media executives and their shareholders, it's all justified by NBC's "bottom line."
- Les Blough, Editor
Axis of Logic
Oxygen's upcoming All My Babies' Mamas exploits persistent racial stereotypes that marginalize Black Americans.
Watch the video. Then tell Oxygen and its advertisers to cancel this show at the link provided below.
Atlanta-based rapper Shawty Lo has 11 children by ten women, a girlfriend the same age as his oldest daughters, and — if Oxygen Media executives have their way — a provocative new reality show that they hope women of color will flock to this spring.
According to Oxygen's parent company NBC Universal, the show — tentatively titled All My Babies' Mamas — will chronicle Shawty Lo's attempts to "split his affection multiple ways while trying to create order" in navigating the "dysfunction" of his "drama-filled," "unique 'modern' family."1
Leaked online footage from the pilot showing Shawty Lo struggling to name his children — and one mother rebranding each woman with nicknames like "Fighter Baby Mama," "Shady Baby Mama," "Baby Mama from Hell" and "Wanna-Be-Bougie Baby Mama" — drew immediate criticism from Black people across the country.2 Despite the backlash, network executives remain intent on moving forward with the reality project.
Join us in calling on Oxygen Media and its advertisers to put an end to this dehumanizing reality show. Media corporations have built a profit model around pushing increasingly inflammatory images of Black folks, our families and communities.3 By taking action today, you can help us prevent All My Babies' Mamas from gaining traction before it even airs — and send a powerful message to the broader entertainment industry that we deserve better.
When Oprah Winfrey and former Nickelodeon executive Geraldine Laybourne launched the Oxygen cable network in 2000, "the company [aspired] to be a strong advocate for women."4 But since its purchase by NBC Universal in 2007, Oxygen has steadily increased its stable of cheaply-produced reality television programming that exploits women, children and now Shawty Lo's "unconventional" family.5,6
We already know that only a narrow range of Black characters or personalities ever makes it onto America's television screens. When combined with the overwhelmingly negative representations of Black Americans we see on the daily news, shows like All My Babies' Mamas reinforce ugly stereotypes about Black men and women — that we're hypersexual, combative and unfit to parent our children.7,8 In addition to reducing self-esteem, a number of studies confirm that these distorted portrayals can lead non-Black audiences to hold onto problematic perceptions of Black folks that have dangerous real-world consequences: Black people experience "less attention from doctors, harsher sentencing by judges, lower likelihood of being hired or admitted to school, lower odds of getting loans, and a higher likelihood of being shot by police."9
ColorOfChange has a long track record of holding corporations and media figures accountable for race-baiting speech and for trafficking in harmful racial stereotypes. Today it's critical that we begin a broader conversation about the demonstrated impact of dehumanizing media portrayals in our everyday lives. The creators of All My Babies' Mamas claim that their show is "daring." But Oxygen has shown that its decision to invest in and promote inaccurate and harmful perceptions of Black families is business as usual — and it has to stop.
Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Charlene, Kim, Fanna and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
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