Reality TV Paints A Picture Of The “Dysfunctional Black Woman”
Remember the ”real” housewife named Sheree? Whose only claim to fame is that she was once married to a professional football player? Remember how she yanked housewife Kim’s blond wig and called her white trash outside of a fashionable Atlanta restaurant? (Kim, the sole Caucasian Atlanta ”housewife” whose married lover’s checks allows her to pay $3,000 on a regular basis to get the fat rolled from her thighs.)
Across the reality-television spectrum, there have always been women like Sheree and her ”friends” on Bravo TV’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta: catty, materialistic, self-absorbed. But are television executives really only interested in black women when we’re acting a fool? And more importantly, are we really only interested in seeing ourselves portrayed in this light?
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Apparently so: Last month, VH1 dominated the list of top 25 cable shows in black households for reality original programming, returning with the all new Basketball Wives ranked at No. 5. (Like Housewives and Tiny & Toya, the show features ex-girlfriends and wives trying to make names for themselves on the heels of relationships with famous men.) What Chili Wants followed in popularity at No. 7, and Brandy & Ray J came in at No. 11. Executives say that their channel has had a 9 percent increase in black women prime-time viewers ages 18-49 in this past year alone with the success of their reality shows.