Can you name your price? The price of money it will take you to throw away your self-respect? To throw away your self-dignity, your self-worth, your self-love? Could there be any price high enough for you?
I ask myself this every Sunday night when the infamous Basketball Wives new episode airs. For any of you that are not familiar with this show, allow me to give you a quick summary. Basketball Wives is literally what the name of the show is: wives of professional basketball players. It was initially supposed to be a show where all the cast members were wives of current or past basketball players, and was supposed to highlight the life of being married to a basketball player. I will assume for good reason that the intentions of the show are not what is being reflected, but even myself cannot believe that. Executive Producer, Shaunie O’Neal, ex-wife of Shaquille O’Neal, has often times been quoted saying that the primary purpose of this show is to give basketball wives a voice in broadcasting their own life.
So now, let me give you my opinion on this show. For starters, the first season and premier of Basketball Wives was being taped in Miami. It didn’t take long before people began to disagree with the content and image that the women on the show held. Every week there was a new argument between the women, as well as throwing alcohol, food, shoes, fists, and whatever else they could get their hands on. People began having a negative attitude towards the way our women, our Black women, were being perceived. Basketball Wives Miami was soon booted off the air, leaving Basketball Wives LA. The season airing now is currently the fifth season. In my opinion, Shaunie O’Neal has become very desperate when choosing the cast members. This season there are eight cast members and of those eight only two are actually married to basketball players, three are divorced, two are “baby mothers”, and one is
an ex-girlfriend. With the reputation the show itself has made, I could only imagine how hard it would be to actually convince basketball wives to join in and make a mockery of themselves, as well as their husband and family.
I began this blog by asking, What’s your price? But now let me take it a little deeper: What’s the price you would take in order to mislead, misguide and misrepresent your own race as a whole? It’s no longer just about self-love, self-worth, and self-respect, when generations of young black females are tuning in to watch these women make a parody of who we are every single week.
Young Black girls are not watching these episodes and thinking, “Oh my gosh, they look horrible!” like some young adult females and older women are. They are looking and paying attention to everything but the behavior. The long Indian hair attached and hanging from their heads is capturing their attention, as well as their beautifully made up faces, and their sparkling, blinding jewelry, and the hundreds of dollars spent on six inch heels and skin tight dresses showing every curve that “They mama gave them”. These young Black girls are beginning to idolize reality TV stars such as these women being featured in this particular show.
So once again, how much? How much would it take to demean and belittle yourself? As well as teach thousands of young girls that it’s okay? That acting behaving in such a degrading manner is okay?
Now as I sat back and thought about all the popular shows on TV that have a leading role played by an African American woman, I noticed that we are being sold short in literally every aspect. Take Scandal for example, Olivia Pope played by Kerry Washington, is a living super woman. She is described and perceived as a woman that holds so much power and as a woman that could get anything accomplished. It would be so empowering to show young Black girls a series wher
e the actress is not only Black, but a high power attorney. Right? I thought so also, until I took into account that the entire show itself revolves around Olivia Pope having an affair with the President of the United States.
Or we can take a look at the new popular series Empire. Cookie Lyon, played by Taraji P. Henson, is the co-founder of a multi-million dollar music company. She is also portrayed as a sassy, smart mouthed woman who could get any job accomplished. Perfect, right? Nothing wrong with this one? Oh wait, I forgot a detail—the company was started with thousands of dollars in drug money from when Cookie was a drug dealer. And one more detail: the show begins with the life of Cookie Lyon’s after being released from prison for twenty years.
Let’s look at the series Being Mary Jane. Mary Jane, played by Gabrielle Union, is a successful television news anchor. While juggling her demanding occupation, we also get a look at her living the single life, and might I add her bedroom is a very popular hot spot.
I am not asking you to make a decision because even I can’t. I understand the roles of being an actress and working to make an income, but I am asking you to think about this. I am asking you to acknowledge the imbalance and the message being taught to Black girls around the globe. The message that we Black women have nothing more to offer than our appearance and our bodies. That our brains and minds are not enough, even if we are attorneys, in the case of Olivia Pope or music producers, in the case of Cookie Lyon.
I named this blog #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS to relation to the 270+ girls that were kidnapped on April 14th in 2014 in Nigeria (approximately 230 are still missing). I decided to name this after such a serious and gruesome situation because I see this to be one in the same. Our young girls are our future, and as of now our young girls are becoming more and more lost in their purpose on this earth. And believe me when I say, it is definitely not to be seen throwing glasses on VH1 every Sunday night. The great Tupac Shakur once said, “You say there ain’t no hope for the youth, well the truth is, it ain’t no hope for the future.”
by DAMAYA WALLACE