On the Rox: Hip-hop reality TVWritten by Martini Rox | | email@example.com
Definition: Urban vernacular for the word wretched. This word is often used to describe the behavior of some of life’s guiltiest pleasures such as hip-hop-based reality TV.
To watch? Or not to watch? Those are the questions and social media is filled with opinions about the answer. I admit, like millions of other viewers, I get sucked into the drama from time to time for the sake of pure entertainment. I’m not justifying my participation nor am I ignoring the young generation watching this erratic and unacceptable behavior.
Unfortunately, women have thrown their hats in to the “ratchet” reality show arena by producing their own shows. Shaunie O’Neal’s (Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife) “Basketball Wives” franchises and Mona Scott-Young, the CEO of Monami Entertainment, produces VH1′s successful “Love & Hip Hop” franchise. The latter features back-to-back seasons of “Love & Hip-Hop” New York, Atlanta and now Hollywood. These shows and their spinoffs have made VH1 the No. 1 watched network among adults and specifically the female 18-34 and 18-49 demographic.
If you have never watched, don’t bother. These shows are the equivalent of what it would be like if Jerry Springer or Maury guests were reality show stars. Casts consists of characters that were once famous and desire to restart their careers or celebrity wanna-bes. False friendships are formed for storylines, real friendships are tested and already rocky relationships further fuel the conflict and outbursts. There is no telling what the cast members will do to ensure they receive a check and are recast the following season.
The reunion shows are overly promoted for their climatic endings, with altercations making the news and viewed by millions. The producers of these shows are quick to respond with the “We do not condone violence of any kind” statement, but the ratings say it all. America — more specifically American women — are watching by the millions and unless we stop, it will continue to flourish on our screens. The real problem with this entertainment is that it portrays urban (ethnic, black, hispanic) men and women in the most negative light. To those of us that know better, this is just ridiculous programming that feels more comedic or satirical than “real.”
But what about the new generation? The kids who have been raised never knowing that programming like “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” or “Family Matters” ever existed? They deserve options and shows with a moral or lesson after each episode, not a tutorial on how to disrespect everyone including themselves. Fight videos are popular among the youth and we now have national campaigns to prevent bullying.
This is their urban programing and I cringe at the thought that it could be syndicated in the future.
Gender and racial conflict has been a tried and true formula since the first reality show, “The Real World.” Angry women of all ethnicities have created a new “must-see TV” genre, from the popular “Real Housewives,” “Mob Wives,” “Black Ink,” “Bad Girls Club” and “Sisterhood of Hip-Hop.” These shows have one thing in common; they are geared specifically towards women in the hip-hop generation.
At some point we will have to take into account that we helped the success of these “ratchet” shows. I believe in and advocate artistic balance in all entertainment mediums throughout hip-hop for the sake of ourselves and the generations that follow. So, again I ask you, to watch? Or not to watch?
As we continue on…
Tags: A Different World, Atlanta, Bad Girls Club, Basketball Wives, Black Ink, Family Matters, he Cosby Show, Hip-Hop, Hollywood, Housewives, Jerry Springer, Love and Hip, Martini Rox, Maury, Mob Wives, Mona Scott-Young, Monami Entertainment, New York, On the Rox, ratchet, reality TV, Shaunie O'Neal, Sisterhood of Hip-Hop, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Real World, urban programming, VH1