Tag: reality tv

January 29, 2013 / / Television

By Guest Contributor Tamura A. Lomax; originally published at Feminist Wire

SisterhoodThere’s been much talk about TLC’s new show The Sisterhood, a reality show about the lives and struggles of Ivy Couch, Domonique Scott, Christina Murray, DeLana Rutherford, and Tara Lewis, five pastor’s wives in the Atlanta area.  While some critics are threatening to boycott the show, and others are framing it as evidence of black [male] preachers losing their way (which I guess is synonymous with the Black Church losing its way, but that’s another issue), millions of others, myself included–a former “first lady” and black feminist scholar of religion, race and media–are flocking faithfully to the television screen on Tuesday nights with popcorn and bottled water in hand.

And let me be clear: like many, I’m “sick and tired of being sick and tired” of the operative mediation of the global racist and sexist imagination through black women’s corporeal realities.  I’m tired of mass-mediated notions of “black womanhood” being both the adjective and the noun that modifies and constricts space, time, and meanings. I’m tired of black women consistently serving as—through both overdetermination and consent—televisual artifacts for establishing white, black, and other “normalcy.”  And yes, I’m sick and tired of black women functioning as cultural mediums for soothing primal fears, representational tropes for suckling the collective fascination with black female sexuality, and work-horses for demonstrating a mastery of unscrupulousness and otherness.  I’m tired.

And yet, I’m also admittedly drawn in to this show and others like it, week after week.  Like so many others before them, Ivy, Domonique, Christina, DeLana, Tara, and many other reality TV women, inspire all kinds of repulsions, attractions, and anxieties.  However, they also satiate [some of] our ratchet taste buds.  Can we have a moment of honesty?  The Sisterhood is a hit show.  And this isn’t because no one’s watching it.

So what’s the draw?  The Sisterhood creates a conflict between public politics, private realities, and personal taste.  However, this war between the emperor’s coat of high culture and the everydayness of his nakedness is nothing new.  This ongoing juxtaposition highlights the ever-increasing tensions between the “cultured” and the “ratchet”: the former drawing attention to so-called taste, tact, refinement, civilization, and genius, and the latter calling attention to the so-called vulgar.  While the former is purported to arise out of the Geist–the intellectual inclinations–of our times, the latter is purported to spring forth from the worst of black culture.  However, what better communicates the spirit of the time than the ratchet?  And no, I don’t mean the ways that ratchet gets deployed to project a collage of derogatory meanings onto black women’s bodies.  I’m referring to the ways that ratchetness often undergirds the ricocheting of raw emotions and missiles of unfiltered truths.

Read the Post A Black Feminist Comment On The Sisterhood, The Black Church, Ratchetness, And Geist

January 8, 2013 / / Entertainment
July 19, 2012 / / race

Request in the comments yesterday:

kdlmn • 14 hours ago
Could we have a reality show open thread and/or round table on racialicious sometime please? Just a suggestion. Reality shows seem to be together with crime shows the only area in which PoC are overrepresented–cause it gives the viewer yet another possibility to ridicule PoC (added bonus: women of color. women on reality shows in general are always catty and back stabbing, never help one another). There are so many offenders here that I don’t know where to start. The last ones I saw were “Hollywood Exes” (3 Black women, one Latina, one White woman) and “My Big Fat American Gipsy Wedding”, which is especially appalling as it comes just when the Hungarian and French government have in different ways declared that Roma are Open Game. In Hungary a right wing politician recently had a DNA test published to prove that he definitely had zero Roma ancestry. So gross.

Mickey • 7 hours ago
I agree about a round table discussion about these so-called reality shows. Whose reality are they showing? Most of this stuff is edited to make certain people fit into stereotypes the public automatically buys in to, especially regarding PoC. I watched a couple of episodes of “Hollywood Exes” and, although it is not too bad compared to other shows of its nature, the Black ex-wife of R. Kelly and the White ex-wife of Jose Canseco sort of get on my nerves.

Consider the thread open! A couple things I’ve noticed after the jump. Read the Post Open Thread: Reality TV And Race

July 17, 2012 / / asian
December 1, 2011 / / culture

By Guest Contributor Nicole Cunningham Zaghia, cross-posted from Muslimah Media Watch

One of the main criticisms of TLC’s All American Muslim was that the show’s characters were representative of only a small part of the American Muslim community.  If you felt that way, then a great antidote is Me, the Muslim Next Door, a web documentary produced for Radio Canada International.  Filmed in Montreal and Toronto in both English and French, Me the Muslim Next Door is over two hours of audio, video, and still photography, broken up into 4-6 minute segments, with each of the show’s participants having several segments.  These segments took place in the participants’ personal landscapes – at home, on the street, with their families.

Read the Post Me, The Muslim Next Door – What Muslim Reality Shows Should Be

August 1, 2011 / / celebrities
November 29, 2010 / / Quoted
August 30, 2010 / / black

By Guest Contributor quadmoniker, cross-posted from PostBourgie

Top Chef’s contributions to the reality show genre don’t come from exciting cliff-hangers or the evil machinations of those who would only win by cheating: the ingredients that make it work best are good chefs cooking food that looks pretty and makes you want to eat it. Occasionally, there’s a key rivalry or a chef you want to hate. The two chefs everyone hated are now gone: possible-pea thief Alex left last week, and Amanda, the overly-intense, scatterbrained former addict who never seemed to get anything right, was finally voted off last night. But before that, another source of drama this season ended prematurely when Kenny Gilbert, whose long-simmering rivalry with Angelo made him seem more talented than he probably was, was voted off after the Restaurant Wars episode. (Restaurant Wars is the show’s bread and butter: two groups of chefs start restaurants and compete to win.)

Kenny inspired a lot of inappropriately racist, pimpish nicknames, like chocolate bear and big daddy, and, when he was kicked off, an unfortunate number of outdated South Park  jokes (I think you know the one). But mostly he was a gregarious, lovable self-promoter; fans believed he was the big cheese because he said he was every week. In truth, his cooking skill seemed uneven. But whether you think he deserved to go or not, his absence highlights a longstanding problem with the show:  there hasn’t been enough diversity, and it is particularly problematic in the way it portrays its black chefs. Diversity on a reality TV show might not seem the most important topic, ever, but it evidences two things: one, the dearth of people of color at the top of many fields extends to reality contests that purport to propel novices to the top of those fields; and two, shows like this in which contestants are judged subjectively still often pick white male winners.

Read the Post In the Back of the Kitchen