Oxygen is gearing up to air All My Babies’ Mamas, a one hour special that chronicles rapper Shawty Lo and his 11 children by 10 mothers, plus his 19-year-old girlfriend, and people are outraged. There’s even a petition being circulated to stop the show from airing. The petition cites that the show is degrading and portrays negative stereotypes about African-Americans. However, pop culture writer Michael Arceneaux disagrees with the notion that the show shouldn’t air. Arceneaux feels that instead of sweeping taboo topics like this under the rug out of embarrassment, it’s time people stop judging and acknowledge the fact that there are people who actually live these lives and don’t fit the image of the traditional American family, which could then open up a broader discussion about the importance of safe sex and other critical issues affecting the African-American community. Arceneaux also calls for balance in TV programming.
By// Michael Arceneaux
How great of a threat is a Southern rapper to the state of the Black family, when his biggest contribution to pop culture thus far has been being part of a group that gave us a catchy dance song named after candy almost seven years ago?
According to Oxygen, “All My Babies’ Mamas (pictured),” which stars rapper Shawty Lo, his 11 children, and the 10 women he created them with, is a one-hour special chronicling ”every second of the drama-filled lives surrounding a unique ‘modern’ family unit, as they navigate their financially and emotionally connected lives.”
I imagine the fledgling network still excited with even half a million viewers has bigger plans than for this project than a one-off special, but there are a growing number of people hoping to stop “All My Babies’ Mamas” from even getting to that point.
Many who have watched the 10-minute clip that served as a pilot for the special are demanding its cancellation. The most popular petition was launched by Sabrina Lamb and has thus far amassed more than 4,500 signatures.
In an open letter directed at Oxygen development execs, Lamb writes:
By pushing these degrading images, your company seeks to profit from the humiliation of girls and women and the blatant stereotyping of African Americans. We think Oxygen and the show’s creators and producers have gone too far and if this show is aired, we will, without hesitation, boycott any and all companies that advertise during this minstrel show.
Although I wouldn’t want to be a branch on Shawty Lo’s family tree either, I find it a bit grating to see other Blacks be so quick to dismiss their own as a “minstrel show.” Even if dramatized for the sake of creating a narrative for a show, these are actual people leading relatively the same lives on and off camera.
They are not Stepin Fetchit, and it’s insulting to consistently immediately pass them, and other Black reality stars displaying less than pristine images on camera, as such. For anyone who professes to be that concerned about the children featured on the show, don’t dismiss their parents or their own existence so harshly.
Then again, that’s assuming this is actually about them and not merely another battle in the ongoing war among some Blacks as to who should be allowed to represent us onscreen.
I tend to be more concerned about balancing our imagery versus policing it, and in this instance, there are plenty out there to counter whatever Shawty Lo will offer.
Read the full story at News One.